YORK TWP. — Winning matches wasn’t a major issue for the Buckeye wrestling team. Filling weight classes was.
The sixth-seeded Bucks had to forfeit five matches Wednesday night against No. 2 Bay in the second round of the Division II state team tournament, and that was too much to overcome in a 51-28 loss.
“We knew the only way we could come out with a win was to go out and pin,” said senior Anthony Kisiday, who needed just 2:42 to do exactly that in his 145-pound match with Max Langer. “Winning matches isn’t enough. You have to go all out to pin your guy.
“We train for that because we’re a small team. We’ve been wrestling that way all year. The scoreboard definitely doesn’t show how hard we wrestled.”
Of the eight matches actually wrestled — Buckeye’s Alex Wilk won by forfeit at 170 — the Bucks won four. Three were by pin and one was by major decision, meaning Buckeye outscored the Rockets 22-21 on the mat.
Giving up 30 points via forfeit, however, proved to be way too big an obstacle.
“I don’t have any qualms with how we wrestled,” Bucks coach Tim Maxworthy said. “Are there things we can improve on? There always are. But there’s only so much you can ask.”
After losing by pin at 106 and forfeiting at 113 and 120, Buckeye was already down 18-0 when Stefon Inman stepped on the mat for his 126-pound match. That didn’t stop the long-limbed senior from pinning Bay freshman Connor Kloepfer with 2 seconds left in the second period.
“It gave me the mentality to go hard and change the score up there (on the scoreboard),” Inman said. “I got a pin for us, and that’s what Coach told me to do. It feels pretty good.”
Buckeye also won the next three matches — sophomore Kyle Fowler recorded a major decision at 132 and freshman Jaret Yoman (138) and Kisiday notched second-period pins — to take a brief 22-18 lead, but that was as good as it got for the Bucks.
Buckeye lost five of the last six matches — the Bucks forfeited at 182, 195 and 220 — while being outscored 33-6.
In at least two of the matches where they had competitors — junior Mike Keith at 152 and freshman Artie Clark at 160 — the Bucks were bumping wrestlers up a weight class or two.
“We tried to do everything we could with our lineup,” Kisiday said. “We were just giving up too many points (via forfeit).”
Though he will have graduated, Inman hopes Buckeye’s initial experience in the state duals might inspire more students to come out for the team, which has been forfeiting weight classes for several seasons.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Inman said of the team format. “It was fun. I wish we had more people so we could have gone a lot farther.”
Maxworthy expressed a similar sentiment when asked about the future.
“It could go a long way in promoting the popularity of the sport,” he said of the state team tournament, which drew several hundred fans to Buckeye. “This is the most people we’ve had in this gym for wrestling in a real long time.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.