WADSWORTH — And the streak continues.
With talk that this might be the year the Wadsworth wrestling team’s Suburban League dual meet winning streak might come to an end, the Grizzlies silenced the critics Thursday with a 34-21 win over Nordonia.
The Grizzlies have now won 55 in a row and moved a step closer to a 22nd straight conference championship.
“It means a whole lot to the team, really,” Wadsworth junior Tim Knipl said. “The pressure of it kind of helps us get our energy going on the mat, but it means a lot to be a part of the program and keep the tradition going.”
With the pressure on midway through the match after the Knights (10-2, 6-1) chalked up victories by Nick Collica (132 pounds), Jake Urich (138) and Mike DeCesare (145), the Grizzlies (10-2, 7-0) did what they have done since Dec. 14, 2006: They took care of business.
“It’s huge,” said Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia, whose team is assured another SL crown with a finish of second or better at next month’s SL Tournament. “They read all the articles about 54 in a row and all of a sudden they realize, ‘Oh, wow, 54 in a row, that’s a big streak’ and they don’t want to be a part of the team that breaks it.”
The Grizzlies won four of the last seven bouts, with 152-pounder Robbie Bosley starting things off. The senior stormed out to a 4-1 lead and was able to hold on for an 8-4 decision over fellow district qualifier Heath Phillibert.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” said Bosley, who improved to 23-5. “I wanted to get bonus points out of the match, but I knew I just had to win.
“It was important for the team. We didn’t want to be the team to lose. It was definitely motivation.”
Tim Knipl (182 pounds) won by disqualification over Johnny Lannetta, who was DQ’d for stalling points, and the team victory was sealed by Wadsworth’s upper weights, highlighted by a pin from 285-pounder Jeremy Randolph that put an exclamation point on another perfect SL season.
Brandon Randolph (106), Noah Baughman (113), Connor Gray (120) and Darrin Gilkerson (126) posted victories for the Grizzlies to start the match.
After Randolph won by forfeit, Baughman picked up a reversal in the third period to seal a 4-3 win over Andrew Coghill, who is ranked 15th in the state.
Then it was Gray registering a 17-2 technical fall over Matt Seleman and Gilkerson holding on for an 11-7 decision.
“All year it’s been debated who would win,” Knipl said. “I think us getting the dual meet out of the way is really going to give us a boost going into the Suburban League Tournament.”
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