By Ben Stroup
The Delaware Hayes seniors didn’t do anything too special Thursday … just what they’ve done their entire careers.
On a night the Pacers’ eight seniors were recognized — a group unlike any the wrestling program has ever had — Hayes used a late push to knock off Mount Vernon 45-28 and claim an undefeated league schedule and OCC-Capital Division championship.
“It’s a tough sport, and a long, tough season,” Hayes coach Josh Heffernan, who recently earned his 100th career dual-meet win, said. “Anytime you get eight kids to stick together for four years and commit to the training and each other, good things are going to happen. I’m so happy for them. They worked very hard for this.”
Senior Greg Brusco, the state’s top 152-pounder and proud owner of a 40-2 record coming in, picked up a critical win to swing the momentum in his team’s favor. Jumping up to the 160-pound weight class, Brusco, who trailed Mount Vernon’s Lane Hinkle 6-4 with less than a minute left, rallied to notch an 8-6 win. The victory gave his team a 33-28 lead it only added to as the night wore on.
Seniors Jakota Carter (195) and Chris Martinez (220) sealed the deal. Carter pinned the Yellow Jackets’ Ashton Spurgeon in 4:06 while Martinez, who joined Brusco in the 150-win club earlier this season, picked up a forfeit win over Nathaniel Miner in the final match of the night.
Hayes heavyweight Paul Lance, another senior, picked up a big win in his final home meet, pinning Jack Stotts in 1:09 to open the scoring summary. Senior Jalill Barnes also nabbed a win, handling Mount Vernon’s Dylan Colopy 12-5.
Seniors Tommy King, Brandyn Dydek and John Spangler were also honored prior to the showdown with the Jackets.
Other Hayes winners included James White IV (120), who slipped past Robe Harris 6-4; and Garrett Young (145), who pinned Tyler Gregg in 4:22.
Liberty 45, Marysville 15
The Patriots nabbed their second straight OCC-Central Division championship Thursday, cruising past host Marysville 45-15.
Also: Worthington Kilbourne 47, Big Walnut 24.
Buckeye Valley started well, but faded late en route to a 45-41 non-league setback Thursday at Bloom-Carroll.
The Barons looked poised to run away with things early, racing out to a 13-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Bulldogs slowly chipped away, though, outscoring BV 10-6 in the second and 15-14 in the third. They then outscored the Barons 20-8 in the fourth to smooth out the scoring summary.
Defense wasn’t a problem for Buckeye Valley, which held the Bulldogs to 38-percent shooting. Scoring was the issue as, aside from Morgan Scowden’s 19-point performance, no one did much. Logan Hatcher and Alaina Radcliffe each had six points in the setback.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.