By Michael Leonard | Record Pub.
One of the closest races in Portage Trail Conference history came to an appropriate end Saturday night at the PTC Wrestling Championships at Rootstown.
The team race in the Metro Division came down to the last match of the night.
Clinging to a three-point lead over Field, Crestwood had to root for Ravenna's Cody Hawkins to defeat Field's Nate Smith for the heavyweight title. Hawkins ended up scoring the pin in 4:27, setting off celebrations by the Red Devils.
Hawkins' win allowed Crestwood to win the overall tournament title with 190.5 points, one point better than Coventry.
The win gave Crestwood the overall Metro Division title as well, as the win broke a three-way title for first in the overall race with the Comets and Ravenna.
Field finished in third place with 187.5 points. Ravenna was fourth with 154 points.
In the County Division race, Woodridge finished sixth overall with 134.5 points to take the division tournament title.
With Woodridge finishing second in the dual meet race and Rootstown finishing second in the tournament race (126 points), the Bulldogs and Rovers shared the overall title.
The team race turned on the two matches at 182 pounds.
Field led by one point heading into 182, but Falcons 182-poundee Jake Lawhorn was pinned in 2:35 by Rootstown's Kyle Slaughter.
That meant Crestwood took the lead when junior Kenny Jackson defeated Kent Roosevelt's John Spurney 6-1 for the 182-pound title.
"That was our first lead all tournament in our last match," said Crestwood coach Dave Wrobel.
"The guys wanted to know if we had a chance coming into tonight," added Wrobel. "I told them 'Yes, but we need to wrestle our butts off.' We did that and they put us in a great position."
Crestwood's three lightweight stars all took care of business.
Senior 138-pounder Dylan Kager became only the second four-time champion in the history of the conference, as he defeated Coventry's Zack Lake 12-4 in the final.
Crestwood also had 120-pounder Connor Nemec win his third PTC title by pinning Southeast's Corey Pastva in 2:23 and 113-pounder Jake Zemaitis win his second straight by beating Field's Vince Dejulius 14-5.
Field looked like they might have taken the advantage at 132 pounds.
Crestwood's Josh Hillier had a lead in the third period of the title mathc until Field's Jimmy Kubitza put him on his back. Kubitza scored an 8-3 win to take the title.
Field was involved in another huge match as Zach Ladich wrested the final at 145 pounds against Waterloo's JJ Diven.
Diven pulled out a tight 3-2 win to remain undefeated on the season at 39-0.
Field freshman Cory Simpson won the 106-pound title when he pinned Streetsboro's Sean Kuklisin in 1:38.
"It's a roller coaster ride in tournaments this tough," said Field coach Joe Retherford. "I only brought 11 wrestlers to a 14-man tournament. I am disappointed to not win the title, but I could not be prouder of the job my kids did."
Coventry's title hopes took a hit in the semifinal round, thanks to the biggest upset of the tournament. Top-seeded Comet heavyweight Travis Gosnell threw Smith onto his back, only to have Smith roll through and pin Gosnell in 33 seconds.
Coventry got individual titles from sophomore 120-pounder Josh Gunter and freshman 195-pounder Jerek Cropper, but came up just short.
Comets coach Keith Shinn said his team gave a great show, especially for not having two weight classes.
"I can't say enough about my kids effort this weekend," Shinn said. "It was up to expectations. I take this as a nice stepping stone to sectionals, when the real season begins. A one-point loss in a tournament to lose a division title is disappointing, but I'm not disappointed in my kids."
While Ravenna ended up out of the team title picture, the Ravens picked up three individual titles.
At 152 pounds, the Ravens' Brandon Winning lived up to his name, beating Waterloo's Josh Horning 5-4 in the final.
Ravens 160-pound Logan Reaser scored an 10-2 win over Coventry's Brandon Pavlich to take the title.
Reaser had picked up his 100th win earlier in the day, pinning Crestwood's Ricky Kollman in the semifinal.
"We went 5-0 in the finals tonight, so all off our guys did well," said Ravenna coach Mike Whitmore. "Logan's doing a fabulous job this year."
Meanwhile, Woodridge's title was remarkable because the Bulldogs did not have any wrestlers in title matches.
"It was that consolation semifinals that did it for us," said Bulldogs coach Mike Massey. "We got six guys into the third-place matches. That's our team. We don't have any hammers; we're just pretty good across the board. That's what got it done."
Woodridge ended up with third-place finishes from 138-pounder Pat Dickinson and 220-pounder Mason Hilling.
Rootstown would have needed a perfect night Saturday to catch Woodridge. Instead, the Rovers had to settle for their second straight shared County Division title.
Rootstown 170-pounder Travis Linton dominated his weight class, pinning Norton's Mike Dyer in 1:32 in the final.
The most anticipated match of the night pitted 220-pound All-Ohioans Sean Rurtherford of Norton and Jake Moore of Rootstown against each other.
However, Moore got the only takedowns in the match and scored 7-3 win to take the title.
"He was a tough kid and it was a good match," Moore said. "I just wanted to wrestle smart and treat it like any other match. I can't wait for sectionals."
Southeast freshman Brett Bailey's unlikely run ended in the 126-pound final, where he took a lead into the third period, but was pinned by Gunter at the 5-minute mark.
The Pirates' lost their best man Saturday when 170-pounder Brandon James withdrew from the tournament with a knee injury.