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Norwalk trio wraps up banner season on the podium

By KEVIN SHIELDS • Updated Mar 10, 2019 at 4:01 AM

COLUMBUS — Not the one, three, three, three finish Norwalk was expecting. But one third, a fifth and a sixth ain’t bad either.

It’s still Trucker history. No team in program history has had four state placers, nor has one finished this high on the team board than this one did.

“This is awesome for Norwalk wrestling,” said junior Alec Maloney, who won twice Saturday morning to finish third at 220 pounds in Division II. “We’re No. 6 on the board right now and I’m pretty sure we’ve never been that high before. It’s amazing because I didn’t know we could do that. I knew we had the potential, but this is unbelievable.”

The Truckers finished in sixth place with 60 points, adding a fifth place from Gabe Phillips at 182 and a sixth from Tche Leroux at 285. Ethan Hernandez was second at 160 later in the evening on Saturday.

St. Paris Graham clinched its 19th straight team championship, getting to 115.5 points after the consolation finals.

Maloney got a last-second takedown to beat Uhrichsville Claymont’s Kole Aubiel 6-4 in their third-place matchup.

“I knew it was going to be a tough class and I was going to have to go with all my heart down here,” Maloney said. “(Friday) night I had a good match with [Canfield’s Tyler] Stein [an 8-5 semifinal loss]. I knew it was going to take all my energy, but it was a good match for me against a returning state champion. It proved I could battle with these guys down here.”

Phillips (43-7), a junior, lost 9-8 to David Tuttle of Steubenville, then earned fifth by injury default, his top state finish.

Leroux won 7-4 over Akron Archbishop Hoban’s Jacob Petit, then was pinned in the fifth-place match by Wapakoneta’s Brenan Knueve.


Brewer’s fourth leads Edison in consolations

Ask Edison’s Jacob Brewer prior to the season if he ever dreamed of finishing higher at state than his team’s returning state champion, he’d of blown you off.

But when the dust settled on the Division III consolation brackets Saturday morning, the junior 195-pounder claimed the highest placement among the four Chargers battling for podium spots 3-8. Only senior Ray Adams, a finalist at 120, can claim a higher finish.

“I think me and Ray came out and wrestled hard, trying to win,” he said. “It seemed like the others were just trying not to lose.

“But as a group, I think we still had a good tournament. We’re excited to see Ray try to win it all tonight.”

Having dropped his championship quarterfinal by a 5-2 decision to Martins Ferry’s Drake Dobson, Brewer (43-5), who battled back from a knee injury, which caused him to miss football and the early part of the season, bounced back with a pin in the evening session, then started Saturday with 12-9 win over Harrod Allen East’s Garrett Neth.

He dropped his third-place match by an 11-4 count to Columbiana’s Nathan Whitehead.

“Yesterday, I just felt out-muscled in my match,” Brewer said. “After that, I knew I had to keep fired up and go hard if I wanted to get as high as I could get.”

As for Casey Barnett (60-3), he battled back from his 12-6 setback to Max Shore in the championship semifinals to take fifth at 113. He opened his morning with a 5-1 loss to Rootstown’s Caleb Edwards — the projected state champion by some — then closed with a dominating 11-1 major decision over Nelsonville-York’s Collin Yinger.

Barnett’s win makes him the first-ever Edison wrestler to reach 60 wins in a campaign, one upping the single-season wins mark he shared with brother Brady Barnett and Evan Cheek.

Senior Jordan Keegan one-upped his sixth-place finish from 2018 with a fifth this time around. He lost 8-4 in the consolation semifinal, then pinned Troy Christian’s Austin Awan in 4:39.

At 106, freshman Alec Homan dropped a pair of matches to take sixth. Homan had qualified to state events in grade school through junior high, but only ever got as high as the blood round.

“It’s a big accomplishment, and I can’t be too mad being a freshman,” Homan said. “All it does is give me fire for next year.”


Caizzo eighth at 182

St. Paul junior Cam Caizzo was eighth at 182, falling 3-1 to Creston Norwayne’s Kaden Kidd in a rematch of the prelims match he won, 4-3, with a late escape on Thursday.

“It was a really amazing experience this weekend,” Caizzo said. “It took a lot of hard work and beating several high-quality opponents. It took everything I had to beat the guys that I did. I studied my opponents and just went out and wrestled my match.

Caizzo is the 23rd different state placer for the Flyers all-time.

“Hopefully I can get higher next year,” he added. “I’d say I learned a lot. It’s a big stage out there. If you go out there and wrestle my match, they are all winnable.”

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