GARFIELD HTS. — It was a tough progression to watch.
Lorain County entered the Division III district wrestling tournament at Garfield Heights High with 35 wrestlers Friday night. A dozen managed to win their opening round, five were able to advance to the semifinals and 12 more were eliminated after 0-2 performances.
The five semifinalists are a win away from advancing to the state tournament, while 18 others hope to battle their way through the consolation bracket for a spot.
The five semifinalists were Black River junior Sebastian Vidika at 106 pounds, Clearview senior Mike Holllingsworth at 126 and his twin brother Matt at 132, Keystone sophomore Jacob Worthington at 182 and Elyria Catholic junior Austin Kuchta at 195.
Vidika, the defending district champion, started with a 15-0 technical fall over Berkshire’s Nate Walker and followed with a 57-second pin of Wellington’s Jacob Downs in the quarterfinals.
“I just went out there and got the match over as quickly as I could,” Vidika said. “I pinned Downs and then teched him this year. I was just looking for an opening as quickly as I could. You don’t want to waste any time here and leave yourself open to anything.
“It feels good to be one match away (from state). I can’t wait to get there again and get it done.”
Vidika will meet Jackson-Milton’s Mitch Tikkanen in today’s semifinals.
“Sebastian had a real good day,” Black River coach Corey Kline said. “He did probably what we thought he would do. There was a surprising upset in the bottom half of his bracket (with Cuyahoga Heights’ Nick Orr losing in the quarterfinals), so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
Mike Hollingsworth defeated Wellsville’s Phillip Thrasher 9-3 and followed with a tough 3-1 decision over Loudonville’s Josh Weber. Hollingsworth will meet Kirtland’s Evan Francis in the semis.
“It feels good, but I still got to go out and wrestle tomorrow,” he said. “Anything can happen tomorrow, so I’ve just got to stay focused and be ready. My first match I just got out the way, and my second match, I had to tighten up some stuff. I was able to stay solid during my match.”
Matt Hollingsworth — making his postseason debut — improved his career postseason record to 5-0 with a 3:10 pin over Hillsdale’s Tristan Stiltner and an 11-8 decision over Pymatuning Valley’s Zachary Campbell. He’ll meet Tuslaw’s Dylan Marthey in the semis.
“Honestly, it just feels like another tournament,” he said. “I don’t really feel any different. Michael had a tough match that wasn’t fun to watch, and I went out and was pretty sluggish myself. Fortunately, we both got the job done and are in the semifinals.
“My plan is just to wrestle how I can. Our coaches say all the time that if we wrestle how we wrestle, no one can beat us.”
Clearview coach Jason Steadman was proud of how the twins fared.
“That Loudonville kid beat Mike twice last year, including here at the districts,” he said. “They were all the same kind of matches, and we got beat on the exact same takedown that Mike hit to win. That’s what cost us last year, and Mike got past his stopper. I love our matchups going forward. Hopefully, we can get the job done.”
Worthington, who was a state alternate last year, is one win away from becoming a state qualifier. He defeated Tuslaw’s Scott Wohlheter 7-0 and pinned Kirtland’s Cameron Sullivan in 3:21 to reach the semis.
“It feels good, but I still need to win one more to get where I want to be,” said Worthington, who will meet Norwayne’s Heath Rohrbaugh this morning. “I don’t want to feel like how I did last year. I’m definitely going to try not letting that happen again. I’m going to go in really pumped and try to win this next match and go from there.”
Kuchta, who had to sit out last season due to transfer rules, improved to 5-0 in his Ohio postseason debut with a pair of victories Friday. He pinned Berkshire’s Ryan Miller in 2:44 and edged Chippewa’s Phil Eiesenhauer 2-1.
Kuchta will meet projected state champion Evan Brettrager of Kirtland in the semifinals.
“All I’ve got to do is keep working hard,” he said. “If I work hard in my next match, I could go to state. I’m in a good spot right now. That second match was closer than I wanted. I wanted to take shots, but I wasn’t able to. I was a little nervous. But I gain some stamina and I was able to burn off more weight with a long match like that, so it helps.”
Keystone, which went 2-6 in the first round, leads area schools with seven wrestlers still alive. Wellington, which led the area with nine district qualifiers, only has four still alive after Friday’s three rounds. Downs, a junior, and 126-pound freshman Jon Eschedor were the only Dukes who won their first-round matches.
All four Black River wrestlers are still alive after the Pirates went 3-1 in the first round. State placer Mike Hozan was sent to the consolation bracket with a 12-3 major decision loss to defending state champion Sammy Gross of Beachwood.
Clearview, which went 4-2 in the first round, still has five of its six wrestlers alive, while EC’s Adam Kuchta (220) and Columbia’s Brandon Medina (152) are also in the consolation bracket after going 1-1 Friday.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
TEAM STANDINGS: Waynedale 66, Tuslaw 44.5, Loudonville 43, Cardinal 40, Northwestern 40, Kirtland 37.5, Norwayne 37, Mapleton 35.5, Beachwood 34.5, Rootstown 33, Manchester 32, Independence 27, Keystone 26, Clearview 25, Waterloo 23, Black River 19.5, Girard 19, Cuyahoga Heights 18, Jackson-Milton 17, Chippewa 16, Brooklyn 15.5, Lutheran West 15, Pymatuning Valley 15, Elyria Catholic 13, Grand Valley 13, Hawken 13, Garfield 13, Liberty 13, Hillsdale 12, Crestview 12, Wellington 10, Orrville 10, Berkshire 9, United 9, Wellsville 9, Mogadore 8, VASJ 7, Brookfield 5, Dalton 3, Wickliffe 2.5, Chanel 2, Columbia 1, South Range 1, Oberlin 0, Cleveland Central Catholic 0, Trinity 0.
106 — Sebastian Vidika (Black River) vs. Mitch Tikkanen (Jackson-Milton); Shane Johnston (Tuslaw) vs. Joey Bowen (Akron Manchester)
113 — Jett Heldenbrand (Hillsdale) vs. Bobby Bowen (Manchester); Zack Durbin (Mapleton) vs. Ian Mast (Cardinal)
120 — Zane Chase (Girard) vs. Sammy Gross (Beachwood); Dion Perez (Tuslaw) vs. Tim Mecklenburg (Lutheran West)
126 — Zack Nelson (Waynedale) vs. Lewis Roginsky (Brooklyn); Mike Hollingsworth (Clearview) vs. Evan Francis (Kirtland)
132 — Matt Hollingsworth (Clearview) vs. Dylan Marthey (Tuslaw); Casey Johns (Cardinal) vs. Justin Chew (Mogadore)
138 — Chance Marthey (Tuslaw) vs. Graham Montague (Independence); J.J. Diven (Waterloo) vs. Zane Nelson (Waynedale)
145 — Reid Stanley (Waynedale) vs. Tucker Bender (Loudonville); Alex Angersola (Beachwood) vs. Brett Naymik (Mapleton)
152 — Sean Szitas (Grand Valley) vs. Brad Potter (Orrville); Kollin Moore (Norwayne) vs. Seth King (Hawken)
160 — Kurt Moore (Norwayne) vs. Tanner Topp (Northwestern); Ryan Harris (Beachwood) vs. Dakota Stanley (Waynedale)
170 — Travis Linton (Rootstown) vs. Joey Meek (Northwestern); Brenden Stanley (Waynedale) vs. Matt Hardenbrook (Crestview)
182 — Kile Schaefer (Northwestern) vs. Kevin Stock (Garfield); Heath Rohrbaugh (Norwayne) vs. Jacob Worthington (Keystone)
195 — Brandon Brenes (Waterloo) vs. Ryan Weber (Loudonville); Evan Brettrager (Kirtland) vs. Austin Kuchta (Elyria Catholic)
220 — Jake Moore (Rootstown) vs. Tyler Shank (Mapleton); Alex Scotten (Independence) vs. Caleb Fry (Cardinal)
285 — Zack Srock (Chippewa) vs. Jacob Hanzel (Manchester); Charlie Smith (United) vs. Austin Cary (Loudonville)