INDEPENDENCE — Arguably the most anticipated championship match Saturday at the Independence Division III Sectional was the first one.
Black River senior Sebastian Vidika, ranked third in his weight class by Intermatwrestling.com’s Josh Lowe and trying for his third straight sectional crown, took on fifth-ranked Manchester sophomore Joey Bowen for the 106-pound championship.
Vidika easily handled Bowen 8-3 to advance to the Garfield Heights District and give Black River its only individual championship.
Neither Vidika nor coach Corey Kline were happy.
“I’m disappointed in myself, honestly,” Vidika said. “I know I won, which was my goal, but I’m really disappointed in my performance in that match. My cardio was really bad. I didn’t have any pressure on my tilts and I was slow on my feet. It’s things like this I’ve got to fix going into next week.”
Vidika had byes straight to the semifinals and did not wrestle during opening-round action Friday. He began his tournament with a seven-second pin of Wellington’s Abe Downs before taking on Bowen, but he didn’t feel the layoff was a factor.
“My cardio should still be up there, and I should still have the same mindset going,” Vidika said. “I just wasn’t on my game as I should have been, even though I won.
“I guess it’s good to win and beat a former state placer, but rankings don’t really matter. It wouldn’t have made a difference if he was ranked first, fifth or 12th and I beat him wrestling the same way that I did. My goal is to come in and dominate, and I didn’t do that.”
Vidika was one of four district qualifiers that helped the Pirates finish seventh out 13 schools with 85 points. Only Lutheran West (fifth, 103) and Wellington (sixth, 102) finished higher out of Patriot Athletic Conference schools.
Vidika was joined by freshman Ian Maund (126) in the sectional championship round. Maund lost 2-0 to defending sectional champ Tim Mecklenburg of Lutheran West.
Mecklenburg gained a measure of revenge on Maund in the process after Maund took the their the 126-pound PAC Tournament semifinal match three weeks ago. Maund wound up finishing PAC runner-up.
This time, Mecklenburg got a second-period takedown and was able to keep from getting turned over from the down position in the third period.
“It feels a little bit better because you’re coming as the defending champion and you know everyone’s gunning for you,” Mecklenburg said. “To keep a hold of that when everyone’s gunning for you feels pretty good.
“In the regular season, I beat him 14-2, but he brought it to me at the tournament and I wasn’t ready for him. I was also a little under the weather at the time. I knew he was coming at me today and I knew what to expect, so I definitely wrestled him better this time.”
Black River junior Ryan Slone (220) and sophomore Duncan Ramsey (195) also qualified for districts Slone lost to eventual runner-up Bryan Jones of Cuyahoga Heights 11-6 in the semifinals, but he came back to pin Mogadore’s Daniel Whetstone in 1:32 to punch his ticket to districts.
He took third by default when Warrensville Heights’ Donald Wade forfeited.
Ramsey overcame a Friday pin to Oberlin’s Morality Anderson with two win Saturday. He edged Mogadore’s Kyle Carowick 6-4 then pinned Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s Tyler Watson in 2:36 to clinch his first district berth.
Ramsey was pin by Akron Manchester’s John Beavers in 2:56 to finish fourth.
“We’ll definitely have a lot to work on this week,” Vidika said. “It’s nice having Ian and Ryan make it through, and it was even cooler that Duncan was able to get out as well. That’s great to have some friends and teammates join you at districts. Hopefully, we can all do well next weekend.”
Contact Dan Gilles at firstname.lastname@example.org.