CANTON — Athens went into Canton not knowing exactly what to expect,
with only a week of practice, but, despite coming out on the short end
of the match, 40-22, Wildcat coach Shawn Bradley felt good about what he
“The kids wrestled well,” said Bradley. “It’s a
tough one to start out with ... start out with Canton. The kids were in
The defending NTL champion Warriors showed why they
were the favorites coming into the season, but Athens made them work for
They lost 3-point decisions at 160 and 132, while in the
first match of the day, 120 pounds, Athens freshman Josh Courtney was
leading in the third period, when he got turned and pinned by Canton’s
Miah Lehman, a 9-point swing.
“Three close ones we let go,” said Bradley. “We win those three close ones and we win the match.
Those are close matches and those are good kids, their kids, to their
credit, gutted it out, and that’s what it takes," noted Bradley. "They
earned it, and they won, but our kids are where I want them to be.
don’t want to wrestle our best match the first match, so, hopefully,
when post season rolls around these guys are where they need to be," he
It was back-and-forth in the first four weights.
120, Josh Courtney used takedowns in the first and second period to
take a 4-2 lead into the third. However, Lehman took top in the third
and put Courtney on his back late to get the fall in 5:22, putting the
Warriors up 6-0.
At 126, Athens freshman Mason Vanderpool
responded, beating Canton’s Brayden Wesneski by a 10-2 major decision on
the strength of two takedowns and two sets of back points.
132, points were hard to come by as Canton’s Bailey Ferguson edged
Athens sophomore Jake Courtney 5-2. The first period was a mad scramble
between the two — at one point it looked like Ferguson might lock
Courtney up in a cradle — but it wasn’t until late that Ferguson got his
However, on a roll, Courtney broke free and notched a reversal to knot things up at 2-2.
In the second period, Ferguson rode Courtney the entire two minutes.
let Ferguson up to start the third, making it 3-2. Then, during a
scramble, Ferguson was able to lock up a cradle for the decisive
takedown and a 5-2 lead.
Down 9-4, Athens responded at 138 as
Kaden Setzer scored 13 takedowns in a 26-11 technical fall over Canton’s
Austin Allen in 5:10.
With the score knotted up at 9-9, Canton entered the heart of its line-up, beginning with Hudson Ward at 145.
Ward put on a show of his own, getting 11 takedowns, in his 24-8
technical fall win over Athens junior Lucas Forbes in 5:17.
at 152, Hayden Ward earned a tech fall of his own over Athens sophomore
Chris Bathgate, 15-0, in 5:10. Ward used a first-period takedown,
coupled with back-to-back near-fall points for a 7-0 lead. In the
second, he scored an escape, followed by a takedown with more back
points to go up 13-0.
Ward got the clinching takedown in the third to put Canton up 19-9.
at 160, Riley Parker edged out Wildcat junior Karter Rude, 3-0, getting
a first-period takedown and a second-period escape. In the third, Rude
pushed the pace and had Parker tired out, but the sophomore was able to
hold off Rude’s attacks for the win to give the Warriors a 22-9 lead.
senior Zach Stafursky (172) got the Wildcats back on the scoreboard
with a 10-3 win over Canton’s Brenen Taylor. Stafursky nearly had Taylor
pinned in the first period after getting a takedown and three back
Taylor came back in the second with an escape and
takedown of his own to cut it to 5-3. Stafursky would continue to score
with an escape, followed by a takedown to take an 8-3 lead.
He added a final takedown in the third, but couldn’t turn Taylor to get the major decision.
22-12 is as close as Athens would get as Canton got back-to-back first-period falls at the next two weights.
Atherton-Ely (189) pinned junior newcomer Josiah Stringham in 23
seconds followed by Gage Pepper (215) scoring a fall over junior Colin
Rosh in 1:58.
That sealed it for Canton as it led 34-12 with three weights left.
At 285, Canton’s Conner Davis injured his shoulder and defaulted to Athens’ Joshua Nittinger in 14 seconds, cutting it to 34-18.
Canton’s Cohen Landis followed with a forfeit win at 106.
state place-winner, junior Gavin Bradley, finally took the mat at 113
and earned a 10-1 major decision over Canton’s Isaac Landis.
Bradley started the first two periods with takedowns and a set of back points to go up 9-0.
a match finally under its belt, Athens knows what it has to do to get
where it wants to go. Right now, Bradley is just happy to see his team
“The biggest thing is I’m glad the kids got an
opportunity to compete,” said Bradley. “Everybody’s been struggling with
what’s going on, and we’re grateful the kids get to wrestle.”
IN PHOTO 1: Athens’ Zach Stafursky controls Canton’s Brenen Taylor at 172 pounds Tuesday. …PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING.
CANTON 40, ATHENS 22120
: Mia Lehman (C) by fall over Josh Courtney (A), 5:22;126
: Mason Vanderpool (A) major dec. Brayden Wesneski (C), 10-2;132
: Bailey Ferguson (C) dec. Jake Courtney (A), 5-2;138
: Kaden Setzer (A) tech. fall over Austin Allen (C), 26-10 @ 5:10;145
: Hudson Ward (C) tech. fall over Lucas Forbes (A), 22-7 @ 5:17;152
: Hayden Ward (C) tech. fall over Chris Bathgate (A), 15-0 @ 5:10;160
: Riley Parker (C) dec. Karter Rude (A), 3-0;172
: Zach Stafursky (A) dec. Brennan Taylor (C), 10-3;182
: Derek Atherton-Ely (C) by fall over Josiah Stringham (A), 1:23;215
: Gage Pepper (C) by fall over Colin Rosh (A), 1:58;285
: Josh Nittinger (A) won by forfeit;106
: Cohen Landis (C) won by forfeit;113
: Gavin Bradley (A) major dec. Isaac Landis (C), 10-1.