LORAIN — The finals got started with a bang Saturday night when Lorain sophomore Devione Edwards used a late takedown to score an upset win over St. Edward’s Alan Hart for the 106-pound Division I sectional championship.
Edwards’ brother, Xaevier, provided the encore with a thrilling one-point victory over Elyria’s Brendan Price in the 126-pound final.
“They both work hard, they were both hurt at one point in the year,” Titans coach Mark Moos said. “Xaevier, it’s his second time competing since Dec. 15, so it’s nice for him to come back and pick up right where he left off.”
The Edwards brothers were two of 12 area champions at the event. Elyria and Olmsted Falls tied for the area lead with three champions each.
The Pioneers’ champions were senior Armando Torres at 120 pounds, sophomore Ben Darmstadt at 152 and freshman Kevin Vough at 285.
“My coach always tells me that just because it’s a finals match doesn’t mean it has to be close,” said Torres, who pinned his way through the bracket. “So I just tried to dominate my way through this tournament, and get ready for districts next weekend.
“It’s kind of the same situation as last year at state. I lost in the districts and I had to work my way through two state placers to get myself into the finals. It’s definitely good setting myself up for a good draw. I’m excited.”
The Pioneers battled St. Edward for the team championship, and trailed the Eagles by fewer than 10 points after the championship semifinals.
But St. Edward rallied through the consolation semifinals, third-place matches and finished with an event-high four champions — L.J. Bentley at 113, Hunter Ladnier at 132, Gabe Dzuro at 182 and Parker Knapp at 220. Dzuro hails from North Olmsted, while Knapp is an Olmsted Falls resident. Elyria finished second.
Olmsted Falls’ champions were senior Adam Salti at 138, sophomore Brice Locklear at 145 and senior Mike Hansinger at 170.
Salti earned his title with a dominating 12-7 win over Lakewood’s Yassir Abdel-Salam, who is ranked No. 14 in the state by Intermat.com’s Josh Lowe.
“Ever since last year when I was a state alternate, I didn’t want to come up short again,” said Salti, who finished second at last year’s sectional. “So I worked hard in the room every day and came up with a sectional title. That’s very important because it’s going to help me in the next round. But I still have to wrestle strong, I still have to wrestle smart. I just knew I didn’t want to have any regrets.
“I have already wrestled most of the kids at districts, so I think I have a good chance to make it to states.”
Amherst will send five wrestlers to the Cleveland State district next weekend, but only senior Mike Wearsch was able to come away with a sectional championship. He defeated Elyria senior Taylor Workman 9-5 in the final.
“That was pretty good for me considering I woke up tired this morning after vomiting all last night — I’ve been sick,” Wearsch said. “(Workman) beat me (at the Brecksville Holiday tournament), but I felt better today. Brecksville was kind of a flop this season for me. I came in here today with a better mindset.”
The area’s other sectional champion was Westlake senior Yousef Mustafa, who said Friday night he felt disrespected after being seeded third despite winning the same event last season. Mustafa beat No. 2 seed Dennis Breeding of Amherst in the semifinals Saturday morning, then downed top-seeded Adam Kuchta of Lorain 10-6 in the final.
“Seeds don’t matter,” Mustafa said. “It’s just a bunch of guys in a meeting that put a number by my name … I don’t care. I just went out and did what I thought I could do. I knew (Kuchta) had some big moves in him. So I was being conservative, staying cautious, staying safe … because I wanted to secure this win.”
As far as quality goes, not many matches lived up to the finals opener. Devione Edwards and Hart battled in a back-and-forth match before Edwards scored the go-ahead takedown with 15 seconds left and rode out the St. Edward freshman to secure the victory.
“I think Hart is ranked second (in Ohio) and Devione is ranked fifth,” Moos said. “Devione went out and attacked. He had one little mess-up where he let up for a second and got taken down. But he controlled the match for the most part … it wasn’t as close as the score.
“I thought he wrestled really, really well.”
TEAM STANDINGS: St. Edward 253, Elyria 205, Olmsted Falls 183.5, Lorain 164.5, Amherst 146.5, Avon 105.5, North Ridgeville 82.5, Avon Lake 80.5, North Olmsted 69.5, Lakewood 60, Westlake 60, John Marshall 15.
106 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Devione Edwards (Lorain) dec. Alan Hart (St. Edward), 6-5. THIRD-PLACE: Alex Reyes (Amherst) pinned Kolin Carney (Avon), 2:37. FIFTH-PLACE: Alex Kho (Olmsted Falls) dec. Zeyad Nooman (North Olmsted), 5-3 (OT).
113 — CHAMPIONSHIP: L.J. Bentley (St. Edward) dec. Nick Mayer (Avon Lake), 6-2. THIRD-PLACE: Brandon Bartlome (Lorain) pinned Brandan Jones (Olmsted Falls), 2:56. FIFTH-PLACE: Kevin Kelly (North Olmsted) maj. dec. Nick Spataro (Amherst), 11-0.
120 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Armando Torres (Elyria) pinned Zack Klima (Avon Lake), 3:55. THIRD-PLACE: Evan Collier (North Ridgeville) pinned Mason Daugherty (St. Edward), 3:56. FIFTH-PLACE: Christian Lough (Amherst) beat David Brunner (North Olmsted) by default.
126 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Xaevier Edwards (Lorain) dec. Brendan Price (Elyria), 5-4. THIRD-PLACE: Isaac Collier (St. Edward) dec. Seth Orcutt (Amherst), 4-0. FIFTH-PLACE: Luke Chokan (North Olmsted) dec. Austin Matsko (Avon), 6-2.
132 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Hunter Ladnier (St. Edward) dec. Joey Bernosky (Avon Lake), 7-4. THIRD-PLACE: Max Kuchenrither (Avon) dec. Clarence Norris (Lakewood), 14-7. FIFTH-PLACE: Tyler Biggs (North Olmsted) maj. dec. Danny Cueller (Olmsted Falls), 9-0.
138 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Adam Salti (Olmsted Falls) dec. Yassir Abdel-Salam (Lakewood), 12-7. THIRD-PLACE: Mikah Price (Elyria) maj. dec. Jack Conway (St. Edward), 14-3. FIFTH-PLACE: Bryce Williams (Amherst) pinned George Colvin (Lorain), 4:13.
145 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Brice Locklear (Olmsted Falls) maj. dec. Darrion Overall (Elyria), 10-0. THIRD-PLACE: Ray Barr (St. Edward) dec. Austin Williams (Amherst), 4-3. FIFTH-PLACE: Mark Campo (Avon) dec. Chris White (Westlake), 5-4.
152 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Ben Darmstadt (Elyria) pinned Jake Paul (Westlake), 2:40. THIRD-PLACE: Colin Riley (North Ridgeville) maj. dec. D.J. Williamson (St. Edward), 11-3. FIFTH-PLACE: Austin Balnius (Olmsted Falls) pinned James Shawley (Lakewood), :29.
160 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Mike Wearsch (Amherst) dec. Taylor Workman (Elyria), 9-5. THIRD-PLACE: Tony Caraffi (Olmsted Falls) dec. Travis Leopold (Avon), 4-2 (OT). FIFTH-PLACE: Aaron Huff (Lorain) pinned Adam Wukie (St. Edward), :22.
170 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Mike Hansinger (Olmsted Falls) dec. J.T. Brown (Elyria), 6-5. THIRD-PLACE: Kevin Khoma (St. Edward) dec. Ricky Godri (North Ridgeville), 10-4. FIFTH-PLACE: Derek Eibon (Amherst) pinned Airren Robinson (Lakewood), 2:01.
182 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Gabe Dzuro (St. Edward) dec. Austin Kuchta (Lorain), 3-1. THIRD-PLACE: Talon Dorton (North Ridgeville) dec. Ryan Steinmetz (Avon), 4-0. FIFTH-PLACE: Cameron King (Elyria) pinned Mike Iler (Olmsted Falls), 2:32.
195 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Yousef Mustafa (Westlake) dec. Adam Kuchta (Lorain), 10-6. THIRD-PLACE: Jared Campbell (St. Edward) dec. Dennis Breeding (Amherst), 8-2. FIFTH-PLACE: Spencer Linville (Olmsted Falls) beat Jazelle Jackson (John Marshall) by default.
220 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Parker Knapp (St. Edward) pinned Andre Torres (Lorain), 2:45. THIRD-PLACE: Noel Caraballo (Olmsted Falls) beat Connor Kamczyc (Elyria) by default. FIFTH-PLACE: Todd Hastings (Amherst) dec. Joe Travagliante (Avon), 5-2 (OT).
285 — CHAMPIONSHIP: Kevin Vough (Elyria) dec. Jordan Lee (Olmsted Falls), 7-0. THIRD-PLACE: Ralph Nichols (St. Edward) dec. Ahmad Mustafa (Westlake), 7-2. FIFTH-PLACE: Nick Bailey (North Ridgeville) pinned Sadi Santana (Lorain), 3:49.