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Hernandez wins thriller to remain unbeaten

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated Feb 18, 2018 at 3:18 AM

KANSAS — It didn’t come easy.

In fact, it took three overtimes — but Norwalk sophomore Ethan Hernandez is not only still unbeaten this season, he’s also also a two-time league champion.

Hernandez continued his stellar season when he took the 160-pound title at Saturday’s Sandusky Bay Conference championships at Lakota High School.

Tied at 1-1 with Bellevue’s Justin Mayes, Hernandez (38-0) scored a reversal in triple overtime to top the freshman, who fell to 38-5 — including two losses to Hernandez.

"There was a few shots where I could have gotten a few more takedowns," Hernandez said. "There was a few things that just did not go my way. I did not exactly see it going to triple overtime, but I just pushed to get it."

The Truckers placed fourth with 107.5 points in the highly-competitive Lake division. Perkins (146) won the division title, followed by Columbian (128.5) and Bellevue (124) ahead of Norwalk.

All 18 teams from the Lake, Bay and River were put into the same individual brackets, with team scoring divided up by divisions.

“It was a real strong tournament,” Norwalk coach Frank Staley said. “If you are good enough to place here, you are probably good enough to go onto Columbus somewhere.”

Norwalk placed two other sophomores in championship matches on Saturday, though both fell in competitive matches.

At 182, Gabe Phillips (30-4) gave up four takedowns and escape to Edison’s Sam Stoll (46-3) in a 9-4 loss.

At 195, Oak Harbor’s Jake Sage defeated Norwalk’s Alec Maloney (35-4).

Maloney (35-4) led, 2-0, after one period before a reversal and near-fall gave Sage (22-7) a 4-2 lead. Maloney registered a reversal to tie the match in the second period, but Sage responded with a reversal to win, 6-4.

Also for Norwalk, Ethan Phillips finished in sixth place at 152. He fell to Trevor Franks (Lakota) by a 7-1 decision in the fifth-place match.

Corbin Ott (106) and Darion Smith (170) placed seventh for the Truckers, while Gabe Mina-Vasquez (126) and Deyer Graffice (138) each took eighth.

“We took some lumps today, but we found out what it is all about,” Staley said. “We performed about the way we should have.”

Norwalk will begin the Division II state tournament trail this week at sectional championships held at Sandusky High School.

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