After two years of struggles to even find a spot in the varsity lineup, the Chargers’ 182-pounder is becoming a consistent contributor to his team’s point total. And for the second straight year, he managed to go a perfect 9-0 in two days of competition at St. Mary Central Catholic’s Division III Duals, helping the Chargers to a second-place finish Saturday in the 18-team field inside the Kinzel Center.
Edison, 8-0 after pool play, jumped out to an early 22-9 lead on state-ranked Genoa in the finals match before the Comets’ load lineup of lightweights, including defending 106-pound state champion Dylan D’Emilio — now wrestling at 120 — earned four consecutive pins to close out the match from the 120-pound class to 138 in a 38-28 win.
The host Panthers were 6-3 overall to finish sixth, St. Paul was 4-5 to take eighth, while Monroeville and Western Reserve each went 2-7.
In his finals match against Genoa’s Gabe Scott, Kasper earned a 9-5 decision win to give his team the early 13-point edge.
“The last two days have been pretty hard paced, but the coaches prepare us for that and facing the good teams we did,” Kasper said. “In duals, some of these matches come down to bonus points and I was able to get a pin against (Shawn Jeffers) Rootstown, which was big in that one.
“But overall, it was a good weekend for myself and a lot of our guys,” he added.
Kasper’s biggest wins came against Crestview’s Colton Campbell (TB 3-1) and Damon Beatty of Troy Christian (SV-1, 4-2), two wrestlers ranked ahead of him. He had four total wins by pinfall.
“I lost to Campbell once or twice last year,” said Kasper, now 36-4 on the year and closing in on win No. 100 for his career. “My goal coming into the year was to make it to state, so I put in a bunch of work in the offseason and match wins like that are big for my confidence.
“I came two matches away from going to state last year at districts … got a gym membership and this past July I took one day off from getting up early and lifting for three or four hours, which was probably my proudest moment of all the work I put in,” he added.
Others going 9-0 for Edison, included Alex Neuberger (145/152), Brady Barnett (138/145), Dalton Burns (160-170) and Sam Stoll (195). Barnett had five pins and a major decision win in the six contested matches he took part in. Stoll had five pins, while Burns had four and Neuberger finished with three.
“Joey has become a good wrestler for us and Dalton wrestled three or four kids that were really, really good, and rarely got scored on either day,” Chargers coach Davy Hermes said. “Alex looked sluggish in a few matches, but overall, he beat a few good kids, then Brady and Sam took care of business as usual.”
The Chargers went 4-0 on Day 1, beating Sandy Valley 68-9, Beachwood 68-3, Monroeville 63-15 and Montpelier 63-6. On Saturday, they beat Crestview 66-9, Tinora 67-12, Troy Christian 49-23 and Rootstown, 36-32.
“Not bad at all,” said Hermes, asked of how he assessed his team’s performance over the two days. “We knew Rootstown was the big one. If things go well Wednesday (Division III Region 19 state team dual finals in Milan), I think ourselves, the winner of Oak Harbor-Genoa and Rootstown are the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds at the state duals if everyone advances there. So beating Rootstown was huge, and hopefully the state will look at that.
“We had kids step up this weekend,” he added. “Genoa has some tough lightweights that just pinned us. In that Rootstown match, we got bonus points when we needed them. But in the Genoa match, we couldn’t get those bonus points.”
Ray Adams was 7-1 for Edison at 106 pounds, Gabe Mina-Vazquez and Dylan Burns were 6-3 at 113 and 120, Trenton Werner went 6-3 at 126, Collin Mancuso 5-4 at 152 and John-Mason Neer was 6-3 at 170.
For SMCC, junior Chris Kuhn earned first-team All-tournament honors with a 9-0 at 220.
“I think I had good matches all around,” Kuhn said. “There’s definitely things that I need to improve, but I kind of got in a rhythm with what I’m doing on top, which should help me out in the coming weeks.”
Kuhn, now 27-4, won two matches at districts a year ago as a sophomore.
“Goal is definitely to get out districts this year,” he said. “I think we have a nice group of guys on our squad who are working hard. I don’t see any reason why we can’t take three or more to state again.”
Dominic Rosin, who picked up his 100th career win earlier in the year, went 8-1 for the Panthers at 126, as did Jacob Near at 152. Will Roth (113), Jacob Weilnau (160) and CJ McCrimmon (285) were all 7-2, while Will Blevins (106) and Carlos Torres (120) were each 6-3.
“We had some guys really battle this weekend,” SMCC coach Jared Opfer said. “McCrimmon and Weilnau won some big matches, some tight matches that put us in position for the fifth-place match. But there were five of the top 10 teams in the state here with Edison, Genoa, Rootstown, Troy Christian and Norwayne, so it was a tough road.
“For us at St. Mary, we have some things to work, but we fought hard,” he added.
Other area wrestlers that finished 9-0 included Western’s Gage Griffith (106) and St. Paul’s Derek Gross (145).
Also for the Flyers, Eric Crabs (113) was 5-4, as was Sam Meyer (145), Camden Calzzo (160), Max Honigford (170) and Brody Service (195). Western’s Tyler Romage was 6-3 at 126, Jacob Martz was 5-4 at 132 and Trent Staley was 5-4 at 145.
For Monroeville, Trey Leroux (285) and Colten Millis (152) were 8-1, Montgomery Walls was 7-2 at 220, while Rhett Roeder and Tche Leroux were 5-4 at 160 and 182, respectively.