Medina County wrestlers Joey Baughman and Brady Chrisman are no strangers to national tournaments, but the duo walked away from the AAU Middle School National Duals with some serious hardware.
Baughman and Chrisman earned All-America honors last weekend after posting 8-0 records at the two-day event in Des Moines, Iowa, along with helping their teams make runs to the title match in their respective brackets.
“I just hope for the best,” said Chrisman, who has more than 60 wins this season. “It’s always a goal (to win), but it was in the back of my mind that it was nationals. The whole environment and the level … I just wanted to pick it up more and match up.”
Baughman, a Wadsworth eighth-grader, went undefeated at 135 pounds to help the Ohio Grapplers Scarlet team to a pool championship, while Medina resident Chrisman posted an unblemished record at 125 as the Ohio Grapplers Grey team finished second.
“It felt good, but it feels really good knowing that we had the best team, especially at the national level,” said Baughman, a junior high state runner-up last month at 132. “It gives us a lot more confidence in the state.”
Baughman, who was 5-3 at the National Duals last year, opened the event with five straight pins — the fastest came in 46 seconds — before winning his closest match of the weekend, a 7-3 decision over Austin Andres of Kansas Captain America, in the quarterfinals of the Gold Bracket.
Baughman followed with another decision before posting a 17-1 technical fall against Cayd Lara as the Ohio Grapplers Scarlet team defeated Iowa Black 66-18 for the championship.
“I just wrestle really good in those tournaments where I n’t know the kids,” said Baughman, who is no relation to Wadsworth High state champion Noah Baughman. “My move that worked the best was the high crotch, and my arm bar worked well when I was on top.
“My stuff usually works, but against kids from Ohio, they know me so, they know it’s coming.”
Chrisman was equally dominant for the Ohio Grapplers Grey. None of his first four matches went into the second period, as he pinned each of his first-day opponents. Like Baughman, he finished with five victories by pin, but proved his mettle in his final two bouts of the Silver Bracket.
Chrisman won a 7-6 battle with Carter Lohr of South Dakota Platinum in the Grey team’s semifinal win and followed by holding off the Montana Grizzlies’ Brent Tezak 2-0. The win, however, wasn’t enough, as the squad fell 45-40 in the dual.
“Everything was working,” Chrisman said. “I’m open to hitting every move and I just kept attacking. It was a good experience.”
Two other locals competed against a field that included teams from 13 states. Baughman’s younger brother, Luke, and Highland’s Kevon Freeman walked away with a handful of victories.
Luke Baughman, a seventh-grader at Wadsworth, competed for Team ECCW and went 6-1 at 105 pounds. A placer at the state junior high meet, Baughman had a pair of pins and two wins by major decision.
Freeman had three pins en route to a 5-3 showing for the Lake Catholic Green team that was seventh in the Gold Bracket. The 125-pound state qualifier also showed off some defense, holding a pair of opponents scoreless in wins by decision.
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