One tough heartache was placed on Sandusky senior Leondre Cooley a year ago at the Division II district tournament. Opening with two wins at 113 pounds, he then saw all of his hopes for a return trip to state — was the lone Blue Streak qualifier in 2015 — go by the way side with two back-to-back shutout losses on Day 2, while he watched four of his teammates move on to all place at state a week later as the Blue Streaks earned a top 10 team finish.
Holt, however, was one of four runners-up for the Pirates, who had two champions — sophomore Logan Schoen (126 pounds) and Keysean Amison (170), and two others earn third-place finishes to qualify eight total wrestlers to next Friday’s districts at Mansfield Senior.
Perkins was sectional runner-up to the Arrows with 186.5 points, followed by Norwalk in third, which qualified seven total grapplers. Bellevue, seventh with 81 points, had four make it out, Vermilion, eighth at 80 points, had three, while Huron, ninth at 77, had four and Port Clinton, 11th with 36, had one move on.
Schoen (40-12) had two pinfalls, sandwiched around a 15-0 tech fall win in the semifinals on his way to his first sectional crown. In the finals, he built up a strong lead on Bellevue’s Jared Weider before earning a secod-period pinfall in 2:41.
Amison (44-4), eighth at state at 160 a year ago, got out to an 8-2 advantage on Norwalk’s Gabe Phillips, holding on for an 8-4 win in the 170-pound final.
Drew Crabtree (39-7), Lucas Salmon (36-13) and Andrew Lorcher (40-10) all added second-place efforts at 132, 152 and 220, respectively for Perkins. Jacob Maslyk was third at 138 and Nick Hiss took third at 195. Holt, Salmon and Maslyk are all district newbies.
Norwalk’s Abdullah Silmi (14-1) — a returning state qualifier — was the area’s only other sectional champion, topping Lorcher 8-2 in the 220 finals.
“Abdullah lost the sectional championship here last year with five seconds to go, then for him to turn around and win it this year, I was happy,” Truckers coach Jim Linder said. “And really, for Gabe Phillips to wrestle as well as he did against Keysean Amison, that’s a big step for him. He’s lost by 10 or 12 points to him before.”
Norwalk’s Ethan Hernandez (38-6), in a rematch with Shelby’s Brahm Ginter (37-5) from the NOLs — a match won by Hernandez 8-1 — nearly stood up and got a late escape point to send it to overtime, but Ginter held on for a 3-2 victory in the 160-pound final.
Carson Ott (12-9) was third for the Truckers at 120. Deyer Graffice (13-19, 132), Darion Smith (17-15, 152) and Alec Maloney (25-14, 182) were all fourth to earn qualifying spots.
“Today was a lot better than yesterday,” Linder said. “We didn’t start out so good yesterday for whatever reason. We met back in the locker room when we got back last night and just had a little heart-to-heart discussion, and they sure responded today. I’m really proud of them. The NOL (Northern Ohio League) champs (Sandusky) are a couple spots down the leaderboard from us, so we scored points like we should have scored last week.
“Finally, we won some matches where we were the underdog,” he added. “That was the bridge we needed to cross.”
In what may have been the match of the tournament, Shelby’s Devin Williams (43-1) slipped past Sandusky’s Jamez Young (30-5) by a 3-0 decision in the 285 final. Williams beat Young 3-1 in overtime at the NOL match after Young knocked Williams out of the postseason last year with an upset win in his home gym.
Young, fourth at state at 285 a year ago, was joined by Sam Hunter (34-9) at 170, Quay Brown (32-8) at 195 and Jerrell Wells at 220 as district qualifiers for the Streaks. Hunter was third, while Brown and Wells both took fourth.
Those moving from Bellevue as runners-up were Noah Alda (30-14) at 106 and Weider (16-17) at 120. Nick Smythe (40-6) was third at 145 and Brad Rine (28-12) was fourth at 285.
Vermilion’s Tyler Bath (40-7) was runner-up at 195 after losing by a 12-7 decision at 195 to Ashland’s Josh Bever. Trevor Boyd (39-10) was third for the Sailors at 160 and Brandon D’Egidio (31-16) was fourth at 106.
For Huron, Luke Larson (42-7) was regional runner-up at 145 after losing a 6-1 decision to Ashland’s Rickey Maffett in the 145 final. Devon Schafffer (26-10) also made it out with a third at 126, while Isaiah Gonzales (3-5) was fourth at 113 and Dakota Leeland (14-11) was fourth at 120.
Russell Demarco (35-6) was the lone district qualifier for Port Clinton, taking third at 220.