By Ben Stroup
Drew Cochran and Matt Halbakken came up big over the weekend, finishing second in their respective divisions to lead Big Walnut to a top-three showing at Saturday’s Firehouse Classic in Sunbury.
The Golden Eagles finished with 167 points — just enough to edge fourth-place Paint Valley (166.5).
Cochran, making his first appearance in his team’s host tourney since missing all of his junior season with an injury, marched all the way to the championship in the 152-pound division thanks to three straight first-period pins. He finished second, as did Matt Halbakken in the 138-pound division.
In other action, Big Walnut’s Dawson Brehm (113), Bailey Munday (120) and Cole Foster (132) finished third; Josh Parker (145), Anthony Pisano (160), Nathan Hadden (195) and Tyler Hogg (220) finished fourth; Phillip Roberto (170) finished fifth; and Carson Dearth (182) finished sixth.
Northmor defended its 2014 Firehouse Classic championship with another first-place performance. The Knights closed with 244.5 points while Sheridan, a tourney newcomer, nabbed runner-up honors with 243 points.
Licking Heights (146.5), Shawnee (117), Jonathan Alder (111), Galion (108.5) and Centennial (60) smoothed out the scoring summary.
Hayes at Walsh Ironman Tournament
Greg Brusco made a strong early-season statement, finishing fourth in the ultra-competitive Walsh Ironman Tournament Friday and Saturday.
Brusco, competing in the 145-pound weight class, beat Blake Mattioda (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) 9-0 to start his run. He fell to Kevin Budock (Good Counsel, Maryland) by a slim 7-6 margin in the second round, but bounced back by crushing Ben Gore (Orting, Washington) by a 14-2 spread to advance to the second day.
The senior then beat Andrew Merola (Blair) 7-5, Justin DeMicco (Brecksville) 2-0, Ethan Reel (Washington, Illinois) 4-1 and Rocky Jordan (St. Paris Graham) 5-3 before falling to Zander Wick (San Marino, California) 5-0 in the third-place match.
Hayes senior Chris Martinez was also in action, finishing 1-2. He beat Jake Pickup (Franklin Regional, Pennsylvania) 9-3 before falling to Jack Harris (Urbana) and Kyle Vilsack (St. Ignatius) by respective margins of 14-3 and 3-1.
Liberty 1st at Liberty Classic
The Patriots powered their way to 260.5 points en route to winning their second consecutive Liberty Classic Saturday in Powell.
Mason finished a distant second with 172.5 points while Teays Valley smoothed out the top three with 147.
Liberty champions included Brakan Mead (106), Jordan Rosselli (120), Connor Brady (132), Trey Grenier (145), Connor Thomas (152) and Trevor Lawson (170).
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.