By Ben Stroup
The Delaware Hayes wrestling team couldn’t be hotter right now … and the Pacers certainly picked a nice time to peak.
Thanks to a pair of solid wins Wednesday in Lancaster — a 66-10 semifinal shellacking of Watkins Memorial and impressive 47-25 decision over Lancaster in the Region 5 championship — the Pacers are headed back to the Division I State Wrestling Dual Team Championships.
Zach Williams (106) set the tone in the win over the Gales, picking up a convincing 9-0 major decision over Autumn Gordon to open the scoring.
Other Hayes standouts included James White IV (120), who handled Joey Hutsler 15-5; Jalill Barnes, who pinned Lancaster’s Kane Freeman in 1:30; Garrett Young (145), who forced Jordan Deluse to the mat in 1:36; Brandyn Dydek (152), who pinned Blake Filio in just 22 seconds; Greg Brusco (160), who pinned A.J. McRitchie in 4:48; Max Wright (170), who pinned Brad Harsbarger in 1:41; and Jakota Carter (182), who doubled up Stephen Deluse 8-4.
Williams, White IV, Barnes, Ian Mayberry (138), Young, Brusco, Wright, Carter Davidson (182), Carter, Chris Martinez (220) and Paul Lance (285) each picked up wins to help Hayes cruise past the Warriors in the semifinal.
Lance pinned Wesley Lambert in 30 seconds to punctuate the performance.
Hayes will join Cincinnati Elder, Fairfield, Massillon Perry, Brecksville, St. Edward, Elyria and the Region 6 winner in the state championship, which is set for Feb. 14 at Ohio State University’s St. John Arena.
Buckeye Valley picked up a thrilling 35-33 semifinal win over Whitehall-Yearling, but its run ended there as host Graham Local beat the Barons 77-6 in Wednesday’s Region 14 final.
Cameron Hurt (106) pinned Raashad Strickland in 4:34, Mitchell Garnett (152) beat Justin Peck 12-4, Todd Westover (160) blanked Musante Porter 5-0, Ben Kidwell (170) handled Trenton Wilichowski 13-5, Jayke Morris (182) pinned Kane Wennell in 1:20 and Wes Cochran pinned Manny King in 2:56 to lead the Barons over the Rams in the semis.
Cochran picked up BV’s only points in the final, pinning Brandon Hays in 49 seconds.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.