LAKEWOOD — Win or lose, the Division I, Region 2 State Duals can be used as a measuring stick. Especially when it comes to the final two matches before the state quarterfinals.
Wadsworth’s wrestling team found a little bit of what it liked in a 68-7 victory over Brunswick, but found quite a bit it can work on after losing 43-12 to defending duals state champion St. Edward.
The Grizzlies (14-2) did everything they wanted in the victory over the Blue Devils (13-1), winning 12 bouts — all coming with bonus points.
Against the Eagles (12-6), Wadsworth never got on track, falling behind 19-0 right out of the gate.
“We better grab that film and make corrections fast,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “But I saw some good things, too.
“You can’t wrestle from behind, especially in their home gym. They know how to wrestle with the lead. They’re just a tough team and they’re starting to put it together.”
Noah Baughman (106 pounds), Jordan Schleigh (138), Alex Jones (160) and Shane Mast (170) were able to come out on top against the reigning state champs.
The problem for the Grizzlies, who finished as regional runner-up for the second year in a row, wasn’t so much that there weren’t exciting matches against St. Edward, as the crowd exploded in just about every bout.
Where things didn’t go the way of the bear came almost immediately, as Wadsworth scored the first point in only three of the 14 matches.
That not only put the Grizzlies in an early hole, it made Wadsworth wrestlers fight from behind most of the night.
“Especially in a big dual like this, momentum is a huge factor,” Baughman said. “We lost a lot of close matches. It stinks losing those matches, especially in a dual where a tough loss continues to roll. You get down and start wrestling down. It definitely affected our team today.”
In a situation eerily similar to Wadsworth’s first meeting with St. Edward — a 39-15 defeat where the Grizzlies dropped six matches by three points or less — Gramuglia’s team once again lost the close ones.
This time, the Grizzlies lost three matches by two points or less.
The feature match of the night came at 182, where Wadsworth state qualifier Tim Knipl faced St. Edward state qualifier Gave Dzuro.
The two took a 1-1 tie into overtime, where Knipl fought multiple takedown attempts. That sent things into criteria overtime. Dzuro rode Knipl out in the first session and then was kicked out in the second to win 2-1.
With the Suburban League Tournament coming up this weekend, the Grizzlies head to Nordonia ready to win their 22nd league crown in a row. They also go into Knights territory with plenty to learn from after the loss.
“We definitely saw some positive things we can build off and a lot of negative things that we can work on,” Baughman said. “You never want to get your butt beat, but you continue to grow and get better. By the time sectionals, districts and state comes, when you have those same opponents, we’ll know what to do and how to step up to the next level.”
In the opener, Brunswick’s only wins against Wadsworth came from Nate Taylor (132), who won by decision, and Mitch Slyman (195), who won by major decision.
St. Edward moves on to the state quarterfinals to face an opponent that will be determined this afternoon.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.