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Record-setting day for Clay, Perrysburg

03/02/2014, 1:23am EST
By DAVID BRIGGS BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Record day for area wrestlers

Clay’s Richie Screptock celebrates after beating Nick Kiussis of Brunswick in the Division I 132-pound final, becoming the first individual champ in school history.

COLUMBUS — Two northwest Ohio schools took a sledgehammer to their record books in Saturday night’s Division I state wrestling finals.

Richie Screptock became the first individual state champion in Clay history, while Perrysburg rode a rush of final-day wins to finish second among 78 qualifying schools — its highest-ever placing as a team.

Three Yellow Jackets wrestlers won third-place matches in the morning while senior Rocco Caywood punctuated the night with a 7-3 victory over Clay’s Matt Stencel in the 182-pound championship clash.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos of the state meet.

Perrysburg finished with 90.5 points, behind only first-time champion Massillon Perry (185 points). Clay came in fourth with 77 points.

"We set the goal to be top three in the state, and now that it’s here, it’s kind of surreal," Yellow Jackets coach Sam Cotterman said. "It’s unbelievable. I'm just so happy for these kids. I hope this is a builder for this program, where the younger kids see this and want to be a part of this as well."

It was a good day to be an Eagle, too, with Clay claiming four top-three finishers.

That included Screptock, who earned a 4-3 win over Brunswick freshman Nick Kiussis at 132 pounds. Screptock (47-9) used a pair of second-period takedowns to take a 4-0 lead, then held off Kiussis’ furious attempt to flip him off his stomach in the final seconds.

"It’s the best feeling in the world," Screptock said. "I wanted to come out here and get our school’s first title."

Caywood, meanwhile, wanted the title that so badly got away last year. After going two-and-out at states last year despite entering the tournament among the favorites, he left little to chance Saturday. He got an early first-period takedown and remained aggressive, improving to 3-0 against the sophomore Stencel.

"The biggest thing was last year after I went 0-2, I decided to stay and watch the finals," Cayman said. "I saw the whole show, saw that guys I had beat were state champs. That was all the motivation I needed. I knew that day I was going to be a state champ."

Cotterman afterward said, "I’d say it’s a surprise, but it’s not."

"We thought he was the best guy in his weight class a year ago, and he didn't have it," he said. "Ever since, his mentality has been different."

In earlier consolation matches, Perrysburg cleaned up. Mario Guillen (113 pounds), J.P. Newton (152), and Kadin Llewellyn (195) finished third, Cale Bonner took fourth at 285, and Moises Guillen won his seventh-place bout at 120.

Clay’s Gavin Nelson (138) and Nick Stencel (160) also took third.

Fremont Ross’ Trey Grine fell 6-2 Kade Kowalski of Dresden Tri-Valley in the 145-pound title match.

Elsewhere, the talk Saturday night centered on national power St. Edward’s unimaginable disappearance. After capturing 16 of the past 17 Division I state titles and claiming multiple individual winners every year since 1996, the Eagles finished eighth. They did not have a single wrestler in the finals — the first time they were shut out since future Ohio State star linebacker Tom Cousineau finished third as heavyweight in 1974.

Contact David Briggs at: dbriggs@theblade.com, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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