By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
Courage, heart, intensity and confidence are three traits a wrestler needs just to get started. Some of those traits were missing Thursday night for the Madison wrestling team and it hurt in a 42-21 loss to Mentor at Mentor High School.
“I wouldn’t say we ran out of gas,” Madison coach Ryan Wirtzberger said. “I’d say we ran out of heart. They’re in shape, you can tell that by watching the lightweights. The heavyweights go through the same workouts. It really comes down to heart.
“You need those ingredients just to join. More technique, physical conditioning should lead to more confidence. We didn’t show it tonight. We didn’t have any type of swagger.”
After a 15-minute intermission, Dillon Ashton broke a 15-15 tie with a pin of Madison’s Braden Jerome at 152 pounds to give the Cardinals a 21-15 advantage. Jake Henry followed with a 9-2 win — a clasping violation in the final seconds keeping him from a major decision — over Aaron Sweeney at 160. Peter Kunka continued the roll with a 5-2 win over Ben Golden at 170 to give Mentor a 27-15 lead.
“Dillon came out and got the pin and Jake stepped it up and started us rolling,” Mentor coach Jim Capel said. “Peter Kunka and Aaron Wank kept it rolling.”
Drew Schiemann gave the Blue Streaks (0-2) a chance with a pin at 182, closing the gap to 27-21.
“I don’t think we got close,” Wirtzberger said. “Mentor did a fine job and put the match away. They won all the toss-up (matches).
“You can’t wrestle a dual and hope for two pins at the end to win.”
Wank closed the door on Madison, pinning Ricky Simcic after a back-and-forth battle that reached 18-16 at 195.
“That was huge,” Capel said. “I believe Aaron was 10-20 last year. He shed some pounds and got in the weight room. He’s been very coachable.
“That sealed the deal and took pressure off our 220 pounder and heavyweight.”
“Ricky’s just a sophomore,” Wirtzberger said. “It’s just his second year wrestling. He’s really green. His mat experience isn’t where it needs to be yet.”
Tyler Sullens beat Joe Bashore, 14-8, at 220 and Sam Dull pinned Billy Hudson at heavyweight to close out Capel’s first victory as head coach.
“We haven’t beat those guys for two years,” Capel said. “That was one of our goals at the beginning of the year. We beat Madison and we have Perry and Lake Catholic coming up. Those are two good duals and we’re traditionally a good dual-meet team.”
Mike Kinney opened the match for Madison with an 8-6 victory over Austin Victor at 106. Colin Kramer answered for Mentor (1-0) with a pin at 113. Jacob Steigner beat Nick DeSanto, 9-4, at 120 to knot the score, 6-6, for the Blue Streaks.
Ryan Montgomery gave Madison a 9-6 lead with a 10-6 victory over Mark Mulder at 126.
Mentor took back the lead, 15-9, after Alex Barich beat Nick Farnsworth, 16-2, at 132 and Austin Tomoletz scored a 17-0 technical fall over Kole Koranda at 138.
Bo Ransom pinned Cory Smith in just over five minutes to send Madison into the intermission tied, 15-15.
The Blue Streaks have a ways to go and Wirtzberger got a sense of what direction to take in getting there.
“We learned more about our team tonight,” Wirtzberger said. “We know where we’re weak and what we need to do for intensity and courage.”
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.