By Ben Stroup
Hayes’ Greg Brusco and Max Wright didn’t just wrestle over the weekend … they wrestled like state champs at one of the most competitive events in Ohio — the Alliance Top Gun Tournament.
Brusco won the championship in the 152-pound weight class while Wright posted a first-place finish in the 160-pound division.
“Greg and Max are wrestling like state champs,” Hayes coach Josh Heffernan said. “Their pace, their intensity, their poise in stressful situations and their confidence is awesome.
“And it’s not an accident. Those two, like many others on the team, put in year-round commitment to be wrestling at the level they are right now. Their titles are well-deserved. They won them yesterday (Saturday), but put in the work to win them with years of hard work. We are very proud of Greg and Max and are taking a lot of joy in their success.”
Brusco, a senior, barely broke a sweat in the championship, beating Perkins’ Seth Boggs by tech fall, 15-0.
His run to the final was equally impressive. After a first-round bye, Brusco cruised past Ripley’s Chris Jordan 19-4, pinned Worthington Kilbourne’s Trey Wallace in 3:04, handled Claymont’s Justice Avery 16-4 and pinned Austintown’s Adam Green in 3:55 to earn his spot in the championship.
Wright, meanwhile, picked up first-place points by edging Huntington’s Trevor Johnson 4-3 in the final.
The junior, who opened with a bye, pinned Orange’s Chris Wallace in 1:06 in his first match of the tournament before pinning Salem’s Kade Byland in 1:29 and Perry’s Jake Little in 51 seconds. He then beat Perrysburg’s Josh Herhold 7-1 in the semifinal to punch his ticket to the championship.
Chris Martinez, who finished third among 195-pounders thanks to a 4-1 win over Wapakoneta’s Landon Hall, and Jakota Carter, who finished eighth in the 182-pound class, also earned spots on the podium for Hayes.
With a loaded field to contend with, Delaware finished fourth as a team.
“I was very pleased with their effort,” Heffernan said. “We had a very good first day, finishing in first ahead of some very strong teams … teams that had a strong second day. Fourth at that tournament, a couple points from third, is a very good showing for us.”
Other area placers included Buckeye Valley’s Wes Cochran, who nabbed a top-three showing in the heavyweight division, and Olentangy’s Xander Gore, who was eighth in the 138-pound class.
Cochran pinned his first three opponents — Marlington’s Jaryd Creager in 3:07, Marysville’s Dan O’Neill in 4:53 and Mayfield’s Timmy Carlile in 1:07 — before the eventual champ, West Branch’s Ian Sharp, knocked him into the consolation bracket with a 5-0 win in the semifinal.
Cochran then pinned Austintown’s Matt Rood in 1:10 to secure third-place points.
Perry won top team honors with 168.5 points while LaSalle and Dayton Christian finished second and third with respective totals of 161.5 and 152. Hayes’ 149 gave it fourth while Sandusky Perkins smoothed out the top five with 139.
Licking Heights Invitational
Matt Halbakken, Bailey Munday and Josh Halbakken reached the podium over the weekend, finishing first, second and third, respectively, at Saturday’s 45th annual Licking Heights Invitational.
Matt Halbakken (138) pinned his first opponent in 44 seconds, beat his second 12-3 and doubled up Thomas Worthington’s Garrett Coleman 6-3 in the semifinal. He then outlasted Fairfield Union’s Ethan Miller 11-9 in the championship.
Munday (113) pinned his first three opponents, the first in just 37 seconds, before falling to Whitehall’s Branham Kipruto 10-8 in overtime in the championship.
Josh Halbakken (132), meanwhile, beat Thomas Worthington’s Chase Haimerl 13-9 in his third-place match.
The Golden Eagles, who collected 86.5 points, finished eighth among the 20 teams in action.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @aimmedianetwork.com