By Ben Stroup
Greg Brusco, Max Wright and Chris Martinez made things look ridiculously simple Saturday, capturing top honors in their respective weight classes while leading the Delaware Hayes wrestling team to a second-place finish at the Rieman Invitational.
Massillon Perry won the team title with 285.5 points while Delaware and Cincinnati Elder smoothed out the top three with point totals of 280 and 251, respectively. Harrison (229.5), Central Crossing (169), Gahanna (156), Fremont Ross (138), Hilliard Davidson (135), Northwest Canal Fulton (94) Loveland (83), Olentangy (71.5) and Kenton Ridge (45) were also in action.
“It was a lot of fun chasing a team like Perry, which won state just a few years ago,” Hayes coach Josh Heffernan said. “They have a very strong team and we almost got them in the end.”
Brusco (152) toyed with his opponents from start to finish. His title run included a pair of pins and a convincing finals win. He forced Central Crossing’s Rocco Salamone to the mat in 31 seconds, pinned Elder’s Charles Sanders in 45 seconds and cruised past Perry’s Emil Soehnlen 14-3 in the championship.
“He’s on another level right now,” Heffernan said. “Greg is truly special. Intense, physical, slick and intensely competitive, Greg hates to lose … in wrestling, in warm-up runs, in anything. He’s the whole package.”
Wright (160) was nearly just as impressive. It took him 2:53 to pin Freemont Ross’ Garrett Barth and just 34 seconds to pin Elder’s Robby Oswald in the title tilt.
“Max is not far behind (Brusco) and is as good as anyone, too,” Heffernan said. “He has improved more in the course of one year than any wrestler I have ever coached.”
Martinez (195) was dominant down the stretch as well. He beat Perry’s Jarin Curtis 10-3, doubled up Harrison’s Mason Bruner 6-3 in the semis and sailed to first-place points with an 18-8 decision over Gahanna’s Austin Torr in the championship match.
Other Pacer standouts included Carter Davidson (170), who nabbed runner-up honors; Zach Williams (106), who pinned Fremont Ross’ Deshea Pettiford in 2:45 to secure third-place points; James White IV (120), who handled Cincinnati Elder’s Chucky Lipps 7-3 to finish third in his weight class; Garrett Young (145), who closed third thanks to a 1-0 win over Harrison’s Luke Shirley; and Paul Lance, who settled for fourth after falling to Elder’s Alec Moore-Nash via pinfall in the heavyweight division’s third-place match.
Olentangy’s Xander Gore (138) also had a nice tourney, earning a top-three finish after edging Elder’s Jake Merideth 4-3 in his division’s third-place match.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.