PTC Wrestling Report: On to the second season

By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co. Published:

I know better than to say never, but it would be nigh-on impossible for the Portage Trail Conference wrestling community to put on a more exciting tournament than it did last weekend.

Very often, the team title in large tournaments is decided before the Saturday night placement matches begin.

The PTC kept things interesting until the very last match.

Crestwood's third-straight Metro Division title wasn't assured until Ravenna's Cody Hawkins scored the pin on Field's Nate Smith in the heavyweight title match.

Crestwood needed that win, as a victory by Smith would have vaulted Field into a one-point victory.

As it was Crestwood scored a win with 190.5 points, earning themselves a one-point with over Coventry. Field was third with 187.5.

What's one point in a wrestling tournament? The difference between getting a pin and a major decision -- in one match.

It was that close, folks.

If you like the sport, you had to love what you saw in Rootstown last weekend.

Along with the tight Metro Division race, there were a plethora of storylines to come out of Rootstown. Among the best:

• Crestwood's Dylan Kager won the 138-pound title, becoming only the second four-time PTC Champion in conference history. He joins 2010 Coventry graduate Randy Henline in that exclusive club.

• Kager's teammate, junior Connor Nemec, won his third PTC title at 120 pounds. He should be favored to join the four-time champions club this season.

• While Crestwood's lightweights get most of the attention, it was 182-pounder Kenny Jackson's title win that clinched the team title for the Red Devils. Jackson should make some noise with his teammates in the postseason.

• Woodridge won the County Division in true team fashion. Despite not advancing any wrestlers to the title matches Saturday ­-- and an almost comical list of reasons for wrestler absences -- the Bulldogs earned a share of the title with Rootstown. It's Woodridge's first division title since 2008.

• Rootstown had a tough day Saturday as a team -- but it's two big guns looked dominant. Travis Linton won his second straight title at 170 and looks ready to emulate his big brother this postseason. Garrett Linton, now at Notre Dame College, won the Rovers first state title last March.

• Rootstown's other state title threat had a much bigger challenge in the final. While Linton pinned Norton's Mike Dyer with relative ease, 220-pounder Jake Moore had to face Norton All-Ohioan Sean Rutherford in the final. The match wasn't a blowout, but Moore was the only one getting takedowns in a 7-3 win. He looks ready for a state title run as well.

• My match of the night from Saturday: The 145-pound title bout between Waterloo's JJ Diven and Field's Zach Ladich. Both wrestlers looked very solid, though Diven pulled out the 3-2 win. Diven will be the only PTC wrestler to enter the postseason undefeated at 39-0.

• As for Ladich, don't sleep on him this postseason. Or Cory Simpson. Or Jimmy Kubitza. Or Vinny Dejulius. Last weekend's display by Field was the first time the Falcons looked full strength all season and the results speak for themselves. After year's of TJ Fox begin a one-man show for Field at states, the Falcons could be in for a big postseason.

• Apply the same statement to advice to Ravenna's Logan Reaser, Brendon Winning and Hawkins. The Ravens' trio could be in for postseason glory too.

Red Devils ready for regionals

For the majority of PTC teams, the regular season is over.

There are a few exceptions as Southeast hosts Ravenna for their traditional year end dual meet Feb. 7. Meanwhile, Field will host a tri-meet with Massillon and Revere Feb. 8.

However, the biggest event on the PTC schedule this week involves the newly crowned Metro Division champs.

Crestwood will be the lone PTC team wrestling in the state team wrestling tournament's regional finals Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The Red Devils will travel to Perry in Lake County. The winner will earn at trip to the state meet Feb. 9 at St. John's Arena in Columbus.

Crestwood earned a trip to the regional finals by winning Division II, Region 11-B Jan. 30 at Warren Howland.

The Red Devils beat Howland 37-28 and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 39-30 to reach the regional.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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  • All the wrestlers did a great job. For the record, Ravenna's 152-pound wrestler is Brendon Winning, not Brandon.