By JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
COLUMBUS — It was a tough start to the state wrestling championships for the three area wrestlers competing in Division III.
All three suffered opening losses and will be back in action tonight in the consolation bracket.
Amanda-Clearcreek senior Grant Guiler (39-9) took his 150-pound match into overtime before losing 15-11 to Crestview junior AJ Coppersmith (39-2).
Guiler scored an early takedown and near fall for a 5-0 lead. Coppersmith held the lead late in the match, but Guiler scored a reversal late in the third period that resulted in the match heading to extra time.
AC senior Bobby Pieratt (40-7) didn’t fare as well in his 144-pound match against Monroeville’s Hunter Vogus (40-5). Vogus advanced with a 9-0 major decision.
Pieratt will try to keep his season going when he faces Tuslaw junior Maxwell Cooper (39-14). Cooper lost a 16-1 tech fall in his opener. Guiler will face Bath’s Ezekiel Burkholder (38-7). Burkholder lost a 16-3 major decision in his first match.
Westfall’s Trey Keeton (34-13) opened is 175-pound tournament against Bluffton senior Kaden Basil (39-5), a champion out of the Rossford district.
“I just tried to look at it as a regular wrestling match and not focus on anything else,” Keeton said.
But taking on a district champion presents a tough challenge and Basil was able to advance with a 12-0 major decision.
“The kid’s a No 1 seed. We game planned and had film on the kid, we took our punches and they didn’t work,” Westfall coach Will Breyer said. “I think he wrestled great. I know we didn’t get the win but, in the end, he did everything he was coached to do. He went big and it just didn’t happen.”
Wrestlers have about three hours in between their opening match and coming back in the consolation bracket. Breyer said they’ll see if the Internet can help them out in trying to determine a strategy for facing Cuyahoga Heights senior Luke Torgerson (31-7). Torgerson lost a 13-5 major decision in his opener.
“We’ll start researching. Kids nowadays they put stuff on YouTube and FloWrestling, so we’ll try to find some film on him, watch some film on our phones and try to develop a game plan as fast as we can,” he said.
Breyer said Keeton is a special young man and “I am so unbelievably proud of him.
“He’s the hardest worker over the past four years. He goes to Pickaway-Ross Career Center, works all day and then he comes to practice and he’s going to (the Army). He is everything you want as a coach,” Breyer said. “When he (qualified) I teared up. It’s just a great thing for him to be here — he deserves to be here.”
Around the leagues
Among other Div. III wrestlers competing Friday:
Liberty Union heavyweight Jacob MacLean advanced with a 4-2 decision.
Adena senior Isaac Gray lost his 165-pound opener by pin in 5:30.
Huntington heavyweight Conner Temple was pinned in 1:02.
Because of the timing of Friday’s matches, we were unable to catch up with the Amanda-Clearcreek contingent but hope to do so after the consolation matches.