By Ben Stroup
The Buckeye Valley wrestling team slipped past host Circleville Wednesday, getting a second-period pin from Wes Cochran in the deciding match to escape with a thrilling 36-34 win in the Division II Regional Dual Team Tournament quarterfinals.
“It was great,” BV coach Eric Disabato said. “Every member of the team contributed. Some didn’t give up a fall, some kept the score close and others got a pin out of nothing. The team was excited … they knew it was a whole team win.”
The Barons and Tigers went right at each other in the early going as the squads split the first eight matches.
BV won the next two — Ben Kidwell (160) clipped Trevor Hemming 3-2 before Jayke Morris (170) pinned Jeremy Craig in 3:00 to give his team a bit of a cushion — but Circleville captured points in the next three weight classes, including six big ones thanks to a forfeit win at 220.
That’s when Cochran, the Barons’ heavyweight, came up big in the final match of the night. The junior pinned Benito Guerrero in 2:39 to seal the deal.
BV also got wins from Stephen Mentzer (120) and Ethan Palmer (132). Mentzer pinned Mason Downs in 5:41 while Palmer, just a freshman, outlasted Circleville senior Casey Jarrell 14-10.
With the win, second-seeded Buckeye Valley will take on top-seeded Whitehall — a 34-31 winner over visiting Hartley in Wednesday’s other 14-A semifinal — in next Wednesday’s Region 14-A championship at Graham. A win would punch a ticket to the Region 14 championship match against either Graham Local or Wapakoneta.
Circleville beat DeSales 60-13 while BV handled Logan Elm 45-24 to set up the closely-contested quarterfinal.
The Barons’ win over the Braves was highlighted by wins from Cameron Hurt (106), Jordan Anthony (126), Tanor Morris (138), Mitchell Garnett (152), Kidwell, Brandon Webb (182) and Cochran. Hurt pinned Chase Watts in 1:44, Anthony cruised past Braedan Butler 11-3, Tanor Morris forced Trevor Lane to the mat in just 40 seconds, Garnett dominated Caleb Linton 16-0, Kidwell pinned Caleb Hartley in 1:37, Webb pinned Bowen McConahay in 3:25 and Cochran pinned Rylan Stevens in 1:02 to smooth out the scoring summary.
Buckeye Valley stayed hot Thursday, picking up a pair of non-league wins over visiting Licking Heights and Fredericktown for their third and fourth dual wins of what was a grueling, but perfect, two-day stretch. The Barons beat Licking Heights 61-16 before handling Fredericktown 52-25.
In other action, Liberty powered past host Orange 56-12 Thursday in Lewis Center.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.