Woodridge wrestling earns first dual meet win over Southeast

By Michael Leonard | Sports Editor Published:

Woodridge wrestling coach Mike Massey had himself a wild day Dec. 13.

With the Bulldogs having lost their opening Portage Trail Conference County Division match to Rootstown, beating defending champ Southeast was almost a necessity.

There was just one small problem.

"We've never beaten Southeast -- ever," Massey said. "You can go back to the [Portage County League] days. We wrestled Southeast every year and we never beaten them."

History might have been against the Bulldogs, but Massey had to endure a scare before the high school match started. Massey's son, David Massey, who wrestles on the Woodridge Middle School team, suffered a neck injury during the middle school match. The injury forced father and son to the hospital for precautionary reasons.

The younger Massey turned out to be OK, but coach Massey missed nearly the entire match.

"I was getting text updates all night," Massey said. "Once I knew David was OK, I didn't want to rush back."

In fact, Massey pulled into the parking lot at Woodridge High School just as the final match was beginning.

With the Bulldogs leading 38-33, Massey chose to stay in his car, so as not to break the karma of what was going on in the gym.

"There was no way I was going to walk in that gym," Massey said.

The move worked as Woodridge's 145-pounder Hunter Mercer ended up with a 7-2 win over Southeast's Sonny Canfield.

Massey got into the gym just in time to celebrate the school's first-ever win over the Pirates by a 41-33 count.

"It was just a huge win for our program," Massey said. "I told the guys after the Rootstown match, 'We're not out of it. We have to beat Southeast.' We did it without a 126-pounder and without our starting 170. We're in this thing."

Massey said the Bulldogs won the match because of its early win.

The match started at 152 pounds and Woodridge's Trevon Burgins opened with a 16-5 win over Hunter McPeak.

With 170-pound starter Christian Reese out due to illness, Massey shuffled his lineup, putting Eric Bissonnette at 160 and Demetrious Tabler at 170.

The move worked to perfection, as Tabler pinned Dan Herr in 4:44 and Bissonnette pinned Steve Schmidt in 4:47.

Massey said he knew Southeast All-Ohio 182-pounder Brandon James would be a mismatch for senior Doug McIe. He noted McIe wrestled well before getting caught and pinned in 3:46.

After that, however, Woodridge 195-pounder Cody Jenkins pinned Chris Gadd in 46 seconds, despite being taken down twice early.

Bulldogs' 220-pounder Mason Hilling then did his job, pinning Santana Barerra in 3:28.

Woodridge nearly made it three straight pins from the big boys, as heavyweight David Akers had Southeast's David Krauss on his back twice. However, Krauss rolled Akers onto his back and scored the pin in 3:12.

As the match moved to the lightweights, Woodridge got a forfeit win at 106 pounds from freshman Shawn Cox, which proved to be huge.

With the Bulldogs up 34-12, Southeast would rally with 21 straight points.

Southeast's Ben Meluch pinned Jacob Morehouse in 3:04, despite Morehouse making some good moves.

Pirates' 120-pounder Corey Pastva then pinned Brian Cooper in 3:04, followed by a forfeit win by Southeast 126-pounder Chad Munger.

Massey had hoped 132-pounder John Vineyard would stop the bleeding, but Vineyard dropped a 16-9 decision to Southeast's Dalton Todd, trimming the lead to 34-33.

Senior captain Pat Dickinson dominated Southeast's Dan Eicher 13-2 to give Woodridge a five-point lead. However, Massey said he was looking for a pin from Dickinson to slam the door.

However, Mercer left no doubt, as he wrestled aggressively to win 7-2 and claim the win.

"He wrestled to win obviously, which is just what he needed to do," Massey said. "Hunter did a nice job. We keep forgetting Hunter is a sophomore. We've got such big expectations."

Woodridge was set to participate in an eight-team, one-day pool tournament in Loudonville Dec. 22, but results were not available at press time.

Woodridge will not return to action until 2013, when it hosts the Janet Stammen Invitational Jan. 5.

E-mail:mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone:330-541-9442

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