By Dan Gilles
Lutheran West brought five wrestlers down to the Division III District Tournament at Garfield Heights High School last weekend in the hopes that it would be well-represented at this weekend’s state tournament.
The Longhorns will have some representation in Columbus, but it will be from only one wrestler – 106-pound freshman Tim Mecklenburg.
Mecklenburg (36-5), who lost his very first district match, did it the hard way, winning four consecutive consolation bouts to punch his ticket to the state tournament.
Alas, he couldn’t make it five wins in row, as Loudonville’s Colton Ullman used a takedown with 13 seconds left to send the match into overtime, and scored another takedown quickly to hand Mecklenburg a tough 6-4 loss.
“It feels really great,” Mecklenburg said. “I did not know what to expect when I went up there for my third-place match. He gave me a tough ride (and a) tough match. I’m just really happy that I can go to states my freshman year.”
Mecklenburg is one of four total state qualifiers from all of the area high schools, and the only one from Division III. The other three came from Division I at the Ashland District – St. Edward junior and Bay Village resident Markus Scheidel (145), North Olmsted senior Brian Brunner (145) and Westlake junior Logan Paul (160).
Mecklenburg’s district run got off to a rocky start when he was defeated, 9-8, by Orrville’s Alex Tschiegg. However, his story was only just beginning.
Mecklenburg pinned Liberty’s Bobby Stanovcak in 24 seconds, defeated Northwestern’s Jesse Young, 6-4, and pinned Grand Valley’s Justin MacCartney in 4:13 to put him in the consolation semifinals.
In that match, he got his revenge against Tschiegg, handing him a 15-0 technical fall loss.
“I knew there were a lot of good wrestlers here,” Mecklenburg said. “My first match, I was a little out of it. I wasn’t quite ready so I lost by one point. Going into my second match, I knew that no one from our (Brooklyn) sectional had one yet, so I felt I had to win this match.
“I pinned (Stanovcak) in the first period and it just kept building from there. When I went up against (Tschiegg) for the second time, I knew if I won, I’d have a ticket to state. I was able to do that.”
None of the other Lutheran West district qualifiers came close to qualifying for state.
Mecklenburg will have a tough first bout Thursday down in Columbus, meeting Marion Pleasant senior Zon Fields (41-0). Fields is a two-time state placer, having taken fifth as a sophomore and sixth as a junior, and is the projected state runner-up this year by Brian Brakeman.
Scheidel (30-9) became the area’s lone district champion, when he avenged a 7-4 145-pound sectional final loss to Avon’s Zane Zeman with a 3-2 win over the Eagles senior in the district final.
Scheidel, who was the lone St. Ed’s wrestler to not win a sectional title, was one of 10 district champions for the national powerhouse, who advanced all 14 of its wrestlers to Columbus and have essentially locked up the Division I state team championship without even stepping foot on the mat.
“It was fun, our matches are always a lot of fun,” Zeman said. “I’ve won twice against him and he’s won once against me, but I really consider us tied because we each have two takedowns against each other.”
Scheidel had two pins and a technical fall to put him in the district championship match against Zeman. He is now a two-time state qualifier.
Scheidel, the projected state runner-up this season, will meet Pickerington Central junior Ason Sunkle (34-11) in the first round Thursday. He is on the opposite side of the bracket from both Zeman (Brakeman’s No. 3 wrestler) and Solon’s Anthony Collica (Brakeman’s projected champion).
Brunner (31-6) overcame a 1-0 145-pound quarterfinal loss to Brecksville’s Mitch Baran to punch his ticket to state with three consecutive victories on Saturday.
A 7-5 win over Perrysburg’s J.P. Newton clinched the deal for Brunner. However, he fell to Wadsworth’s Chris Baughman in the third-place match, 4-2.
Brunner, a state qualifier last season, will meet Marysville junior Chase Boyd (36-8) in the first round. Boyd is coming off a championship at the Hilliard Darby District, but was only ranked 20th in his weight class by Brakeman. Brunner was ranked eighth.
Paul (35-10) will be making his first trip to state by virtue of his fourth-place finish in his weight class last weekend.
Paul lost a thrilling 17-12 decision to Brecksville’s Quinton Hiles in the semifinals, but rebounded by pinning Olmsted Falls senior Kyle Kokitka in 2:49 in the consolation semifinals. However, Paul lost to Medina Highland’s Lazar Vilimonovic by a 10-1 major decision in the third-place match.
On Thursday, Paul will meet Cincinnati Elder senior Tyler Hardtke (35-2), the champion of the Fairfield District, in the first round. Hardtke placed fifth at 152 at last season’s tournament and is the fourth-ranked wrestler in his weight class by Brakeman. Paul is unranked.
Olmsted Falls junior Chase DuPratt (113) only needed one win on Saturday to punch his second-straight ticket to the state tournament. He got his one win. However, it was after two straight losses that denied him the chance.
DuPratt (38-8) lost to Brecksville’s Aaron Assad, 8-2, in the semifinals, and then dropped a 7-2 decision to Oregon Clay’s Richie Screptock in the consolation semifinals. He did become a state alternate by defeating Anthony Wayne’s Christian Yates, 4-2, in the fifth-place match.
DuPratt placed eighth at the state tournament last season as a sophomore.
Fellow Bulldog Nick Asadorian (126), a senior, won back-to-back matches after dropping a 4-3 decision to eventual district runner-up Brandon Jones from Wadsworth in the quarterfinals to put him on the doorstep of state.
However, Asadorian (41-8) had the door slammed shut by Oregon Clay’s Mike Screptock, by virtue of a 12-0 major decision in the consolation semifinals. He, like DuPratt, will be an alternate after pinning Brecksville’s Sonny Lucas in 2:37 to place fifth.
Kokitka (38-14) wound up placing sixth in his weight class.
In Division II, Bay junior Adam Tepper (35-10) finished sixth in his 113-pound weight class, dropping a 3-1 decision to Oak Harbor freshman Nick Bergman.
Tepper, who won two consolation bouts to put him one match away from qualifying for the state tournament, saw his run come to an end with an 11-0 major decision loss to Milan Edison’s Dalton Howard.
Area state qualifier pairings
Division I (3)
Lakewood St. Edward – Coach Greg Urbas (14; 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, 285)
145 – 15. HD-4 Ason Sunkle, Pickerington Central, (11), 34-11 vs. 16. AS-1 Markus Scheidel, Lakewood St. Edward, (11), 30-9 (11:I-125-5th)
North Olmsted – Coach Kerry McWoodson (1; 145)
145 – 9. HD-1 Chase Boyd, Marysville, (11), 36-8 vs. 10. AS-4 Brian Brunner, North Olmsted, (12), 31-6
Westlake – Coach Mike Antonyzyn (1; 160)
160 – 1.FA-1 Tyler Hardtke, Cincinnati Elder, (12), 35-2 (11:I-152-5th) vs. 2. AS-4 Logan Paul, Westlake, (11), 35-10
Division III (1)
Rocky River Lutheran West – Coach David Ressler (1; 106)
106 – 15. GH-4 Tim Mecklenburg, Rocky River Lutheran West, (9), 36-5 vs. 16. HE-1 Zon Fields, Marion Pleasant, (12), 41-0 (11:III-103-6th, 10:III-103-5th)