By Ben Stroup
This weekend’s Individual State Wrestling Tournament went pretty much the same as the last two for Olentangy Liberty’s Kyle Lawson.
The junior and now three-time state champ was dominant in the championship final of the 160-pound division, blanking Wadsworth sophomore Joey Baughman 6-0 to take home the title Saturday night at OSU’s Jerome Schottenstein Center.
About the only thing that changed was the competition as Lawson, after winning back-to-back championships his first two years at Division II state power St. Paris Graham Local, competed against D-I foes in his first season since transferring to Liberty.
Needless to say, it hardly made a difference.
Lawson, who finished the season with a stellar 37-1 record, cruised all the way through the tournament. He pinned Cleveland St. Ignatius’ Cal Miller in 1:07 in Thursday’s opener, forced Elyria’s Mikah Price to the mat in 1:43 Friday morning and sailed past Lakewood St. Edward’s Michael Carpenter 7-2 in Friday night’s championship semifinal.
Trevor Lawson, Kyle’s younger brother, also competed in a championship match. He fell to Pickerington Central senior Joseph Terry 7-5 in the 170-pound final, but just getting that far gave Liberty the boost it needed to finish third with 95 points — the most points scored and best-ever finish for a D-I team from the Central District.
The Patriots finished just 10 points behind runner-up Elyria. Lakewood St. Edward won the team title with 152 points.
Trevor Lawson beat Kettering Fairmont’s Mark Kimbrell in his opener, pinned Stow-Munroe Falls’ Joey Andrassy in 1:59 in the quarterfinals and edged Massillon Jackson’s Victor Marcelli 3-2 to set up a finals rematch against Terry, an opponent he beat to win a district championship last weekend in Hilliard.
Liberty, which brought eight state qualifiers to the showcase, also got top-three finishes from juniors Brakan Mead (106) and Trey Grenier (145), and fourth-place points from freshman Connor Brady (132).
Mead beat Hilliard Davidson’s Gio DiSabato 8-0 in his division’s third-place match, Grenier outlasted Perrysburg’s Brock Jones 5-3 to finish third in his division and Brady battled all the way back to finish fourth after dropping his first match of the tourney. Grenier also lost his opener, but won five straight matches to close third.
Other area state placers included Hayes senior Greg Brusco (third at 152) and Buckeye Valley junior Wes Cochran (sixth at 285 in Division II).
Brusco beat Perrysburg’s Josh Herhold 8-0 and pinned Barberton’s Gary Wokojance in 2:27 before falling in the championship semis 8-2 to Brunswick junior Nick Kiussis. He then beat Fairfield’s Andrew Sams 3-1 and Lakewood St. Edward’s Jack Conway 7-3 to close third — the best finish of his historic career.
Brusco’s top-three finish was the Pacers’ best since Bruce Hambrick nabbed state runner-up honors in 1973. Brusco finishes as a four-time state qualifier and three-time state placer. This year’s 53-4 record was the school’s best ever in terms of wins and winning percentage, and gave him 166 for his career — a mark tying him with current Hayes assistant coach Kevin Rieman for the most in program history.
Cochran, BV’s highest state placer since 1978, beat Franklin’s Colvin Turner 8-3 in his opener before falling to Bellevue senior Jared Hoy in the quarterfinals.
After getting bumped into the consolation bracket, Cochran won two straight — beating Canfield’s Mason Giordano 2-1 in a tiebreaker before pinning Mansfield Madison Comprehensive’s Sean Williams 7-2 — then lost two straight to finish sixth in the heavyweight division. He fell to St. Clairsville’s Michael Furbee by a slim 3-1 margin in the fifth-place match.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.