Redmen third with 3 champions at NOL wrestling tourney
By BRAD FRANK
Gazette Sports Editor
SANDUSKY — The Bellevue Redmen exited Saturday’s league wrestling tournament with a trio of seniors who earned their second career Northern Ohio League title.
Notching back-to-back NOL titles for the Redmen were seniors Damon Cheek and Anson Hupp while fellow senior Brendan Adkinson followed up a 2010 league title with another Saturday.
There has been only one team champion since Bellevue won the tournament when the trio were freshmen and that has been Norwalk. Saturday the Truckers tallied their third straight NOL championship.
Norwalk won the tournament with 332 points, followed by Columbian in second with 242 and Bellevue at 223. Shelby (141), Sandusky (136) and Willard (113) rounded out the standings. Each of the six NOL schools had at least one individual champion.
This season’s league championships were competed for in a pool-style format, with each wrestler facing all others in his weight class in five consecutive rounds. The top two wrestlers were seeded based on their regular season record.
Though Cheek entered Saturday tied for the most wins of any wrestler in the entire tournament, he was seeded second in the 132-pound weight class, behind Norwalk’s Kyle Lang, who earned the top seed based on a 3–2 decision over Cheek on Jan. 4. The two moved through pool play unbeaten, meeting in the finals, where Cheek avenged the loss to Lang with a 3–2 decision of his own to claim the title.
Hupp, who was wrestling at 145 all season, dropped down to 138 starting in February and had the move pay off Saturday. Hupp handed Shelby’s Hunter Schaub his only loss of the tournament with a 7–3 decision in the finals. Hupp lost a 6–4 decision earlier in the day to Sandsuky’s Gene Porter.
Adkinson entered Saturday as one of four seniors at 171 but was a fairly heavy favorite to come out at as champion. He entered the NOL tournament with a 32–5 mark, 18 more wins than anyone in his weight class. The Bellevue senior was spectacular Saturday, recording four pins on the day before beating Sandusky’s Zayvier Dickerson with a 5–0 decision for the title.
“They’ve been our consistent leaders throughout the season,” Bellevue coach Paul Zolman said about his three league champions.
Bellevue placed seven other wrestlers Saturday.
Alex Drummond, a sophomore seeded second, was the runner-up at four-deep 113 to Willard’s stud sophomore Juan Estrella, who pinned Drummond at 2:38 for the title. Drummond beat Columbian’s Michael Brady in a 1–0 decision in his only other match.
Redmen senior Nick Mazzaro came away in second at 195. He lost a narrow 2–0 decision to one-seed Jake Alexander from Norwalk in the final round.
The Redmen had a trio of third-place finishers, including a couple of pleasant surprises for Zolman, sophomore Zach Miller and freshman Grant Moyer.
Miller had been wrestling for the junior varsity virtually all season, at 138, bumped up to 152 and went 2–2 on Saturday. He beat Shelby’s Nate Durkovic with a 16–0 technical fall to take third. Moyer fell to the top two seeds at 220 but pinned Shelby’s Seth Rieman in 14 seconds to earn third place.
For the third straight year, Bellevue senior Dilan Buckner placed third in the league tournament, at 160 on Saturday after wrestling at 140 and 152 the past two seasons. Buckner, the top seed, started strong with three wins but lost to the eventually champion and runner-up to fall back to third.
Ryan Veliz (125) and Chris Harris (120) each placed fourth for Bellevue.
Bellevue competes in its sectional tournament Friday and Saturday at Shelby High School among 12 other schools.