New year, same result in McComas v. Wayt

West Branch’s Christian Wayt hangs on to Beaver Local’s Cole McComas in a Div. II, 113-pound semifinal on Friday at the state wrestling tournament in Columbiana. McComas won 4-2 in triple overtime. (Photo by Melanie Dunn)

COLUMBUS–Two of the area’s top wrestlers kept fans on the edge of their seats Friday at the 81st Ohio high school state individual wrestling tournament.

Beaver Local sophomore Cole McComas booked his second straight state final berth with a hard-fought 4-2 triple overtime victory over West Branch junior Christian Wayt in a Div. II, 113-pound semifinal at the Schottenstein Center.

It is the second straight season that McComas has taken down Wayt in the championship semifinals. McComas earned a 4-3 victory in last season’s 106-pound semifinal before falling 12-6 in the finals to Jacob Decatur of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy.

“Cole showed a lot of guts and the will to win,” Beaver Local coach Jordan Williams said. “He stayed calm the entire match and put himself in a position to win. When you prepare the right way you’re confident in adverse situations. I’m proud of him.”

McComas improves his record to 45-3 on the season and will face St. Paris Graham Local junior Tanner Jordan (43-3) in the championship final today. Jordan was the 106-pound third-place finisher last season.

“Tanner Jordan is a tough kid, he’s well coached and I’m sure he prepares the right way,” Williams said. “He has a lot of leg attacks and is a similar wrestler to us. It’s going to be a fun match. Cole is ready to go.”

Wayt, who defeated McComas 8-2 earlier this season, suffered his first loss of the season. His record now stands at 40-1.

McComas began the day by slipping past Circleville’s Trey Finnerty 6-5 in his quarterfinal match.

Wayt earned his matchup with McComas by defeating Jake Gentry from Hamilton Ross 5-3 in the quarterfinals. Wayt now drops into the consolation semifinals where he will face junior Gavin Ritter (48-6) from Wauseon today.

The McComas-Wayt showdown headlined a great day for the Beavers as sophomore Skyler Lasure and senior Beau Smith both assured themselves of podium spots.

“We had a great day,” Williams said. “The kids went 6-0 on the day and won some tough hard fought matches. I’m proud of the way they embraced the day and the competition. We wrestle a tough schedule to prepare us for days like these, and our kids responded. I’m proud of them.”

Lasure (39-8) wrestled his way into the 132-pound consolation semifinals with a 4-3 victory over Steubenville junior Jacson Muldrew (15-3) in the quarterfinals. Lasure stayed alive in the consolation bracket with a 17-2 techical fall victory over Van Wert’s Gabe Steyer earlier in the day. Lasure earns a rematch with Aurora junior Jack Gorman (31-11) when action resumes today. Gorman defeated Lasure 6-4 in overtime in a 132-pound opener on Thursday

Lasure is guaranteed at least a sixth-place finish.

After not placing the last two years, Smith (40-11) made sure he will end his career on the podium. He claimed a spot in the 145-pound consolation semifinals after defeating Noah Barnett (45-4) from Thornville Sheridan 10-7. Smith will take on Micah Marshall (41-7) from Dayton Chaminade Julienne today.

Needing a win to stay alive, Smith battled his way to a 2-1 overtime victory over Lima Bath’s Collin Mell in the second consolation round.

“Skyler and Beau are wrestling solid, and have put themselves in solid positions to climb high on the podium,” Williams said. “They both wrestled confident today, and in control, they are top guys in the state and they are proving it this weekend.”

Crestview senior Andrew Hardenbrook and Minerva senior Travis Kuttler also assured themselves of spots on the podium, while East Liverpool freshman Howard Williams, Crestview senior Landon Talbert and West Branch freshman Kenny Marra were all eliminated.

In Division III, Hardenbrook (34-6) also will finish no worse than sixth after pinning Dayton Christian senior Henry Danishek (40-7) at the 4:45 mark of the 145-pound consolation quarterfinals. Hardenbrook will face Garrettsville Garfield senior Logan Kissell (39-2) in the consolation semifinals today. Kissell took third-place in the 132-pound bracket last season.

Hardenbrook will become Crestview’s first state placer since his brother Matt took fifth-place at 170 pounds in 2013.

To start the day, Hardenbrook was defeated 5-2 in the 145-pound quarterfinals by Troy District champion Joey Caprella from Lima Central Catholic. He then defeated Nate Vasquez from Fremont St. Joseph 6-1 in the second consolation round.

Kuttler (44-8) earned his way into the heavyweight consolation semifinals by pinning Northeastern Buckeye Conference rival Alex Leasure (42-11) from Alliance at the two minute mark.

Kuttler will wrestle Claymont senior Lyle Clark (31-15) today.

The two just met last week in the Claymont Div. II district semifinal, with Kuttler pinning Clark at the 2:54 mark.

Kuttler was pinned at the 1:28 mark by Girard’s Jack DelGarbino in the heavyweight quarterfinal. He stayed alive by defeating Lexington’s A.J. Adams 6-0 in the second round of the consolation bracket.

Williams (43-5) dropped a 13-5 major decision to Oberlin Firelands sophomore Payton Burgdorf (45-1) in the 106-pound quarterfinals. He was then eliminated with a 5-4 loss to Columbus Bishop Hartley’s Michael Petrella (49-7) in the second consolation round.

Crestview senior Landon Talbert (36-7) saw his career end with a tough 6-5 defeat to Rootstown junior Ryan Boyle (50-9) in the 195-pound second consolation round.

West Branch freshman 182-pounder Kenny Marra (44-12) was eliminated with a 13-8 loss to sophomore Andrew Shaffer from St. Paris Graham Local (34-12) in the second consolation round.