obtained from Medina Gazette
By: Brad Bournival
CLEVELAND — The big prize is a week away, but eyes definitely are wide open now.
That holds especially true for Wadsworth’s Shane Mast (160 pounds) and Brunswick’s Matt Fields (106) and Aaron Naples (195), as they walk into the semifinals today at the Cleveland State Division I District needing one win in their next two matches to qualify for the state tournament.
The rest of MedinaCounty was solid as well, as Brunswick’s Garrett Lambert (126), Josh Heil (138) and Christian Camacho (152) reached the semifinals.
Wadsworth will have five in the round of four, as Mast is joined by Noah Baughman (113), Connor Gray (120), Joey Baughman (145) and Tim Knipl (170), while Medina has Brady Chrisman (132) and Zach DeFraine (152).
No win was bigger than Naples.
After getting pinned by Isaiah Margheim of Lorain in the finals of the Medina Invitational Tournament, the Brunswick sophomore reset his goals knowing he’d get another chance against the second-ranked wrestler in the state.
It came Friday in the quarterfinals, and Naples made the most of it. While the score showed a 15-10 win, the 195-pounder was one turn away from registering a technical fall.
“I knew that I was going to see him again somewhere, whether it was the state tournament or somewhere else,” Naples said. “I have been preparing to not get thrown by him or give up any garbage points.
“That win was really big. I lost to him at the beginning of the year and kept coming back. I had to keep wrestling my match.”
Naples’ prize is another heavy hitter, as he’ll face projected state champion and returning state runner-up Matt Stencel of Oregon Clay in the semifinals.
“I really need to refocus because this is going to be a tough match,” Naples said. “He’s a really good wrestler. I give him a lot of props. I have to set my mind straight and go harder than I did this last match.”
Mast refocused after losing in overtime to Brunswick’s Frank Tusick at sectionals last week. A projected state champion, Mast learned quickly he is going to get everyone’s A-game.
He came in ready and handed Avon’s Travis Leopold his first loss in 48 matches.
“It was a real eye-opener last weekend,” Mast said. “I didn’t have my greatest week of practice. I was sick, but it really opened my eyes.
“It showed being ranked No. 1 doesn’t mean anything. When the postseason comes, everyone starts over. Sectionals weren’t my best tournament, but I’m ready to peak at district and state.”
Fields looks like he’s about to do the same. After opening the season with a win at the Solon Comet Classic, the two-time junior high state qualifier didn’t win another invitational.
He righted the ship at sectionals and rolled through the first two rounds of districts with wins over Amherst’s Alex Reyes and Fremont Ross’ Lamonte Chapman.
Fields spotted Chapman a five-point lead before winning 7-6 by scoring a takedown with 14 seconds left.
“I’m just as hungry as I’ve always been. It’s been a big goal of mine to get down to state and hopefully place high,” Fields said. “Those wins just gave me more confidence. It showed me I could win close matches when I’m down by two, three or, in that case, five. It made me feel like I could do anything.
“It shows me I can beat anyone, and that’s my goal. That shows me no matter how much I’m losing to never break and keep going harder.”
|Wadsworth’s Corey Riggenbach (126) and Cloverleaf’s Kyle Hodges (195) competed as alternates, but both lost opening-round matches. They’re still alive as the first round of consolation starts this morning at 9 o’clock.|