Four Vikings advance

By JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com

COLUMBUS — Four of Teays Valley’s five wrestlers won their opening matches and secured their spot in Saturday’s Division I action.

Gunner Havens (106 pounds), Zander Graham (144), Cam McDanel (190) and heavyweight Joey Thurston all won their openers.

For senior Kadin Walls, his season came to a close.

Havens made didn’t spend time on the mat Friday. The 106-pound junior pinned Mentor’s Becan Hahn (42-12) in 28 seconds.

Havens (38-2) will face St. Edwards freshman Adam Butler (20-9) Saturday morning. Butler pinned his first opponent in 60 seconds.

“His start is what he does every day in practice. He’s done this for 30-some matches now,” TV coach Todd Nace said. “He goes as fast as he can and nails it.

“We didn’t want to change anything. We said if you can get it done in 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, go do it.”

Teays Valley’s Gunner Havens advanced with a 28-second pin.

Graham (29-4) advanced at 144 pounds with a 14-6 major decision over Medina Highland’s Creed Hill (36-14). He’ll go up against Joey Blaze (51-2) from Perrysburg Saturday. Blaze also advanced winning a major decision.

“Zander looked poised, looked like he’s been here before,” Nace said. “He gets the first takedown, stays in control, doesn’t panic, gets a couple other cheap takedowns and he just handled his business. And he got the major decision which is another bonus point.”

Zander Graham advanced with a major decision.

Last year’s state runner-up at 190, McDanel sent Avon senior Joseph Roesch (34-12) to consolation bracket with a first-round pin.

“Cam just does what Cam does,” Nace said. “He just outworks everybody that he can get a hold of.”

McDanel was wearing a patch by his right eye after a training accident earlier in the week.

Nace said the mishap occurred while McDanel and assistant coach Ryan Ford (a former college wrestler) were working together.

“As soon as they strap it up, both of them have headgear on and it’s battle on for 35, 40 minutes. He is just an unbelievable wrestler and he gets Cam ready,” Nace said. “He had the black eye in districts and then the cut came. So I think everything was just swollen up in Tuesday’s practice and he got three stitches.”

McDanel (39-3) will be facing Springboro’s Myles Johnson (44-7) Saturday. Johnson advanced with a third-round pin.

Cam McDanel won his opening match with a first-round pin.

At heavyweight, junior Joey Thurston pinned Whitmer’s Logan Moody (37-9) 21 seconds into the third period.

“Joey showed a lot of maturity and patience in the first two periods,” Nace said. “There at the end, that’s Joey. He set it up, the kid was leaning way over on him. He’s got that in his toolbelt, so if it happens again, he’s going to do it again.”

Thurston will be going up against Massilon Perry’s Aidan Fickler (37-7) Saturday. Fockler advanced after his opponent was disqualified.

Heavyweight Joey Thurston pins his opening round opponent.

Walls was pinned in his 120-pound opener. Butler’s Noah Moreland (37-8) won the match in 3:01.

“Walls battled at 120. I thought he had a really good shot in the first 15-20 seconds,” Nace said. “Then things got out of hand a little bit. The other kid was big and long, but (Walls) is a battler.”

Walls (34-11) came back in the consolation bracket to face Avon Lake’s Michael Valerino (34-15). Valerino ended Walls’ season with a 12-6 decision.

The four wins Friday gave Teays Valley 15 teams points, good for seventh after the first two rounds.

Kadin Walls finished the season with a 34-11 record.

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