The St. Paul wrestling team had two individual champions at Saturday’s Firelands Conference championships at Mapleton High School.
But nine other wrestlers placed and picked up important points, and the Flyers had 145.5 points, which easily outdistanced Plymouth (117) to win the FC team title as well.
Crestview was third (117), followed by Mapleton (107), Western Reserve (80), Monroeville (58), New London (58) and South Central (24).
It’s the seventh FC championship for St. Paul (1985, 1989, 2003, 2005, 2012, 2014), and the first in five seasons.
“This feels great, but because of the team part,” said St. Paul senior Sam Meyer, who improved to 31-8 after he won the 170-pound weight class. “That part is just incredible. We worked hard for that, and it’s an experience we’ll always remember.”
Meyer is one of just two seniors on the team, along with Eric Crabbs, who took second at 138. In their only home meet of the season last weekend, Meyer picked up his 100th career win — and a week later helped the Flyers to a conference championship.
“But we won it with our underclassmen,” Meyer said. “They were getting a lot of pins, and the guys who didn’t win weren’t getting pinned. We feel like we’ve improved a lot over the course of the year, and we just have to keep practicing and keep getting better.
Meyer needed 38 seconds to pin Mapleton’s Grady Kine, then in the final against Plymouth’s Peyton Young, he loaded up on near-fall points on his way to a 19-4 technical fall victory.
Cam Caizzo pinned Plymouth’s Jason Swank in 57 seconds in the 182 semis. Facing Monroeville’s Caleb Cardman in the final, the St. Paul junior needed less than two minutes (1:53) to pin Cardman — the latter who won a 10-5 decision over Crestview’s Garrett Hunt to reach the final.
“It was exciting to win my first conference title, but also to help win it for my teammates,” Caizzo said after improving to 32-7. “You could see the improvement in our practices the last few weeks, and that’s where it all starts.”
Also placing second for the Flyers along with Crabbs (26-11) included Aiden Naseman (113), Jacob Baca (195) and Brody Service (220).
Harley Stoll (1-6), Ryan Gross (132) and Will Stieber (145) placed third, while Aiden Kusser (126) and Myron Stoll (152) each took fourth.
“Those guys didn’t win, but they all got pins to key points,” St. Paul coach Casey Harrington said. “As a team, everyone did their part. It was definitely a team effort. We’re getting there and feel like we’re peaking at the right time.”
Harrington said he was most pleased with the body language from his kids who didn’t place first.
“No one was hanging their heads because they got second or third, and everyone but one kid got hardware,” he said. “And again, those points added up for us. I’m extremely proud of them.”
Another key factor for the Flyers according to Harrington was his assistant coaches, Jesse Gross and Don Shantz. Gross was a state qualifier at St. Paul and wrestled at Mount Union.
“The weeks leading up to now have been increasing in intensity, but backing it down in time,” Harrington said. “Jesse Gross has been doing a fantastic job, and Donnie is the brains of the operation.
“Jesse has college experience, and that knowledge has been big for these kids,” he added. “Those techniques and extra little tidbits those two bring have been invaluable for these kids.”
At 106, South Central standout Jayden Strickland had no trouble staying unbeaten. The sophomore opened with a pin in 3:10 over Monroeville’s Mickolas Takacs, then needed just 30 seconds to pin Mapleton’s Bryce Case in the semifinals.
Strickland (29-0) won by default in the final as Plymouth’s Nick Roberts sustained an injury. Roberts had edged St. Paul’s Harley Stoll, 5-4, to advance to the final.
At 113, St. Paul’s Naseman and Mapleton’s Andrew Sas were the only two wrestlers in the weight class. It was Sas scoring the 5-3 win in overtime in the final.
At 126, Plymouth’s Keith Tuttle opened with a pin in 47 seconds over St. Paul’s Kusser. Against Crestview’s Connor Morse in the finals, Tuttle (25-9) claimed a hard-fought 10-8 decision to win the weight.
At 138, St. Paul’s Crabbs pinned Mapleton’s Camden Kline in 3:17, then scored an 11-3 major decision over Crestview’s Klay Patton to reach the final. On the other half of the bracket, Western Reserve’s Jacob Martz pinned Monroeville’s Zander Takacs in 52 seconds, then needed 3:11 to pin New London’s Robbie Youngless in the semifinals.
In the title match, Martz improved to 27-6 with a 5-4 decision over Crabbs.
Western’s Aidan Fry-Silva scored a 16-6 major decision over St. Paul’s Stieber in the 145 semifinals, then fell against Mapleton’s Jeremy Tracy by a 10-4 decision in the final.
Monroeville’s Daniel Smith and Western Reserve’s Tyler Ramage had their expected showdown at 160, and it didn’t disappoint. Smith (38-7) opened with a pin in 3:22 over New London’s Owen Lee, then needed 2:35 to pin Plymouth’s Camden Welch.
In the finals, Ramage outscored Smith in a 10-9 decision for the title while improving to 32-4. He pinned St. Paul’s Ben Meyer (3:37) and Mapleton’s Sean Gast (:36) to reach the final.
Top-seeded Mitchell Phillips won the 195 weigh class for New London. With just three kids at the weight, Phillips (23-5) pinned St. Paul’s Baca in 2:48. Baca pinned Plymouth’s Adler Horne in 5:04 in the other semifinal.
At 220, No. 1 seed Dylan Van Fleet pinned Crestview’s Logan Burkhart in 1:38 for the Big Red. Against St. Paul’s Service in the finals, Van Fleet (30-7) needed just 1:17 to score the pin. Service pinned Western’s Devin Good in 2:43 to advance.
Monroeville heavyweight Montgomery Walls pinned Mapleton’s Joe Shoup in 51 seconds. In the finals against Crestview’s Caden Hill, Walls (42-4) was edged out by Hill (38-5) in a 6-3 decision.
Firelands Conference wrestling championships
Team standings: 1. St. Paul 145.5; 2. Plymouth 117; 3. Crestview 116; 4. Mapleton 107; 5. W. Reserve 80; 6. Monroeville 58; 6. New London 58; 8. South Central 24.
106: Jayden Strickland (SC) def. Nick Roberts (PLY)
113: Andrew Sas (MAP) dec. Aiden Naseman (STP), 5-3 SV
120: Brent Eicher (CVW) dec. Hunter Frederick (MAP, 3-1 TB
126: Keith Tuttle (PLY) dec. Connor Morse (CVW), 10-8
132: Dakota Blanton (CVW) pin Blake Rising (MAP), 3:03
138: Jacob Martz (WR) dec. Eric Crabbs (STP), 5-4
145: Jeremy Tracy (MAP) dec. Aidan Fry-Silva (WR), 10-4
152: Beau Lefever (MAP) dec. Levi Kibler (CVW), 7-1
160: Tyler Ramage (WR) dec. Daniel Smith (MON), 10-9
170: Sam Meyer (STP) tech. fall Peyton Young (PLY), 19-4
182: Camden Caizzo (STP) pin Caleb Cardman (MON), 1:53
195: Mitchell Philipps (NL) pin Jacob Baca (STP), 2:48
220: Dylan Van Fleet (PLY) pin Brody Service (STP), 1:17
285: Caden Hill (CVW) dec. Montgomery Walls (MON), 6-3
106: Harely Stoll (STP) maj. dec. Bryce Case (MAP), 10-2
120: Thomas Sietz (MON), Bye
126: Eli Webb (WR) pin Aidan Kusser (STP), 4:02
132: Ryan Gross (STP) def. Noah Trimmer (PLY)
138: Klay Patton (CVW) pin Robbie Youngless (NL), :36
145: Will Stieber (STP) pin Jacob Robinson (PLY), 2:08
152: Norbert Sword (NL) pin Myron Stoll (STP), 4:15
160: Camden Welch (PLY) pin Sean Gast (MAP), 1:38
170: Grady Kline (MAP) dec. Chandler Harmon (CVW), 4-2 SV
182: Jason Swank (PLY) pin Garrett Hunt (CVW), 2:45
195: Adler Horne (PLY), Bye
220: Devin Good (WR) pin Logan Burkhart (CVW), 3:32
285: Josh Logan (NL) pin Joe Shoup (MAP), 3:27