June 25, 2016

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Wrestling: Devils’ Tyler Hughes falls short in state title bid

COLUMBUS — When it comes to scramble situations, Brunswick wrestler Tyler Hughes is one of the best.

In the Division I 170-pound final Saturday night, however, Beavercreek’s Nick Corba beat the senior at his own game with a takedown in the final minute of sudden-victory overtime in front of 13,820 fans at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

Brunswick senior Tyler Hughes works against Beavercreek’s Nick Corba in the 170-pound championship of the Division I state tournament. Below, Hughes reacts after losing to Corba 3-1. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

“You can do all the right things in a match and still come up short,” Hughes said of the 3-1 loss. “I think that’s exactly what happened.”

After taking two shots at the end of regulation without any points to show for it, Hughes continued to take the action to Corba.

With a minute left in OT, Hughes made one last attempt at the fellow 12th-grader that caused a scramble — a scenario Hughes has practiced all season long. Corba responded with a takedown and eventually turned Hughes to get back points with 49 seconds left and hand Hughes his first OT loss of the

“I tried to hold on for those last 10 seconds, and he just popped his head and got me,” Hughes said. “I took the shot at the right time — couldn’t have been a better shot. I was almost under and past him and in real deep, but at the end of the day, he got me.

“I took a real hard shot and I was surprised at how far I went, so I was trying to come back around. I think because I went so far and got so deep, it created space for him to grab my leg and roll under me.”

One move decided a match that was a defensive struggle throughout. Corba led 1-0 after two periods before Hughes registered an escape in opening seconds of the third to eventually force the extra session.

“It was a scramble situation, and usually he finishes on top of most scrambles,” Brunswick coach Mike Koshar said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t finish on top of this one.

“He was in two times on the kid (in regulation) and we couldn’t finish either one of them, and then in overtime he did execute our game plan, but I’ll give credit to (Corba). He countered us a little bit better than we thought he was going to or we were aware of.”

Despite just his third loss of the season, Hughes was able to put it all in perspective.

A state runner-up finish and Northeast Ohio Conference, Medina D-I Sectional and Cleveland D-I District titles are accomplishments he will always remember more than the bitter taste of a loss.

“I told (my coaches) that if this is how it has to end, than it’s good for me because not everyone gets to experience a championship match like that,” Hughes said. “To take your championship match into overtime and almost get it, it ends on a good note.

“Would I have like to have won? Yeah. But it’s been a great season.”

Brunswick’s Josh Heil and Highland’s Adam Kluk bounced back from tough semifinal losses Friday with a pair of wins Saturday to place third in their respective weight classes.

The 106-pound Heil followed an emotionally-charged 9-7 decision over Mario Guillen of Perrysburg by beating Groveport-Madison’s Shakur Laney 4-2.

“It felt good, but it also hurt that I wasn’t wrestling in the finals,” the freshman said. “But it was great to get those two good victories against two good kids.

“I mean, in the first match it was tougher (to refocus), but after I got out of that one, I got it out of my head.”

Heil built a 3-0 lead against Laney before holding to end his rookie season with 40 wins.

It was a good starting point, but the he has bigger goals in mind.

“It’s the state tournament, so it feels great (to place) and it’s in one of the tougher weight classes so it feels even better, but I like to get that first next season,” he said. “I expected to be here, but I really expected to be on top. Other people didn’t expect me, but I know my skill level and I think I could’ve done better.”

For Kluk, the senior took all of his aggression out in both of his matches Saturday after a tough loss in the semis to eventual state runner-up Kyle Conel of Lakeside.

The 195-pounder opened by beating Brecksville’s Josh Murphy for the third straight week in the consolation semifinals and followed with a 10-3 drubbing of Barberton’s Aaron Tschantz in the third-place match.

“Obviously I didn’t make it into the finals, but I lost to a tough kid,” Kluk said. “I knew I had to come out today, finish it up and leave on a good note.

“It’s really tough because you have your mind set for the finals — all the buildup — and when you lose, you want to win more. It’s rough, but I knew I had to do it.”

With the win, Kluk became a three-time state placer after finishes of fifth as a junior and seventh as a freshman. He was hampered his sophomore season with an ACL injury.

“It means a lot,” he said. “At Highland we have a lot of tradition, and it felt good to get on the podium.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.