COLUMBUS — Lorain County has a lucky seven wrestlers still alive in the championship bracket after Day 1 action at the state wrestling meet at Value City Arena, and another four bounced back after first-round losses to stay alive for today’s action.
Leading the way was the Black River duo of Sebastian Vidika (106 pounds) and Mike Hozan (120), who breezed through opening victories. Joining them in this morning’s quarterfinals were Keystone sophomore Jacob Worthington (182), Elyria junior Armando Torres (113), Lorain senior Eli Garcia (138), St. Edward senior and Avon resident Sal Corrao (113) and St. Ignatius senior and North Ridgeville resident Tommy Zeigler (126).
“It was a little nerve-wracking walking into this big arena and seeing all those people because I really hadn’t experienced that yet,” Torres said. “It felt good coming out, but I wrestled a little shaky. I don’t know if that was my nerves or something. But overall, it’s a good experience so far.”
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Torres won a 7-2 decision over St. Ignatius’ Jimmy Ferritto in the opener, and he’ll face Mount Vernon’s Dakota Riley in this morning’s quarterfinal match.
It was also a quick decision for Garcia. He defeated Lancaster’s Tanner Miller 6-4 in his opener, and will face Madison’s Nick Montgomery in today’s quarterfinals.
“It’s good (to get a win) because it’s less wear on your body,” said Garcia, who went 0-2 as a sophomore in Columbus. “I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile. It felt good to get it out of the way.”
Both Keystone wrestlers stayed alive on Day 1. Worthington nabbed a 4-2 decision over West Jefferson’s Carter Harris thanks to a third-period takedown. Wildcats teammate Dylan Stiner was pinned in the second period against Carroll Bloom-Carroll’s Chandler Minnard in his opener, then bounced back to pin Mt. Blanchard Riverdale’s Mitchel Matheny in his consolation opener.
“It feels good being my first-ever state, but the job’s not done yet,” Worthington said. “I knew if I got the takedown with just 20 seconds left the kid’s going to just give up. So I knew if I got that takedown there was a good chance that I’d win the match.”
For Stiner, it was a case of not wanting to end his high school career on a bad note.
“I was pretty disappointed with that first match because I went up 2-0 in the first period,” he said. “So when I lost that I knew I had to come back and win my next one. That was my 100th career win, so it was pretty special.”
The other Lorain County wrestlers who stayed alive with consolation wins were Clearview’s Matt Hollingsworth, Amherst’s Bryan DeRuchie and Elyria freshman Ben Darmstadt.
Darmstadt took on defending state champion David Bavery of Massillon Perry in his opener, and was pinned in the first period. He rallied for a 19-7 major decision over Lakota East’s Austin Phillips in his 120-pound consolation opener.
“When you lose your first match, especially by pin, you tend to get down on yourself,” Darmstadt said. “But it’s been a great experience for me, I’m just trying to have some fun.”
Five county wrestlers were eliminated on Day 1. Hollingsworth’s twin brother, Mike, the Elyria Catholic twins Austin and Adam Kuchta and Amherst junior Mike Wearsch all went 0-2. North Ridgeville senior Drew Dickson saw his career come to an end before the first whistle when he failed a prematch skin test.
“I get skin infections all the time — I had four this year and I had four last year,” Dickson said. “I knew that it might be possible (to not be allowed to wrestle) but this really hurts.”