COLUMBIA STATION — Buckeye didn’t have the greatest dual meet season in the Patriot Athletic Conference, going 3-2 in the Stars Division.
However, the Bucks turned that into ancient history Saturday at the PAC Wrestling Tournament.
Bolstered by a 7-0 performance in the championship round, including 3-for-3 in first-place matches, Buckeye rallied from a 1.5-point deficit to eclipse Stars Division dual meet champion Keystone and win the tournament 140-127.5.
“In the finals, they finally came around,” said first-year Bucks coach Tim Maxworthy, who also took the PAC Coach of the Year Award. “They knew the team championship was out there, and we needed to give everything we had to grab it. That’s exactly what they did.
“I told them, ‘The team championship’s right there. Go get it.’ They took care of business and got it.”
The Wildcats, who went 10-0 during the regular season, were bolstered by the Spangler twins becoming just the third and fourth four-time individual champions in the PAC’s seven-year history, joining Clearview’s Jon Bill and Wellington’s Justin Bockmore. However, it wasn’t enough for them to earn the clean sweep of PAC team titles.
Buckeye won its third PAC Tournament championship, adding this year’s trophy to the ones won in 2009 and 2010. The Bucks and Black River (4 titles) are the only schools to claim team trophies.
Alex Sherman (160), Jake Thayer (170) and Tyler Carrow (220) all claimed individual championships, tying Keystone for most champions with three.
They were joined by David Stepp (113), Stefon Inman (120), Anthony Kisiday (138) and Danny Inman (145) as placers. The latter four all won their respective matches for third place.
Of the seven wins in the final round, three were by pin and two were by major decision.
“The seniors on this team came in and did what they were supposed to do,” Maxworthy said. “The Inman brothers have really stepped it up in the last couple of weeks. They really started to put together some good seasons for us.
“It’s really nice, but especially for the kids. For the kids to bring home the conference title, especially after not performing as well as they would have liked last year, I think it really speaks volumes in their character and how far they’ve come from the beginning of the season to the end.”
The key win of the three individual championships was Thayer’s at 170. The senior pinned Keystone freshman Jacob Worthington in 1:05 to thwart any chance of a Wildcats’ championship.
“I knew I had to go, I had to get bonus points there,” Thayer said. “I had to get a major, a tech, a pin, that’s the best you can do. You can’t celebrate the (big) win unless you go out there and win it.”
Sherman got the ball rolling in the championship parade, scoring a 10-1 major decision victory over Columbia’s Roman Waked.
“I think it went pretty well,” Sherman said. “My last match could have went a little bit better, but it ended with me winning, so it was good. I’m pretty proud of what I did.
“The finals went as well as you could hope. Nobody lost. We weren’t mentioned in the papers or anything as a favorite to win, so to come in as an underdog and win this tournament is a big thing.”
Carrow put the exclamation point on Buckeye’s dominating round with a pin of Black River’s Terry Sas in 1:17.
Black River, which finished sixth with 99 points, had individual champions in Sebastian Vidika (106) and defending state placer Mike Hozan (113).
The Pirates had a chance for three champions in a row to start the event, but Spencer White, despite leading at the time, was pinned by Brooklyn’s Lewis Roginsky in 4:50 in the 120-pound final.
Vidika scored a 13-3 major decision over Fairview’s Matt Wallace, while Hozan pinned Lutheran West’s Bryce Deblock in 3:52 to become a two-time PAC champ.
Sas gave the Pirates four finalists. Dillon White (fourth, 126) made it five PAC placers for Black River.
Contact Dan Gilles at email@example.com.