Northmor barely missed out on a trip to the state championships in the OHSAA State Dual Meet Tournament on Wednesday, falling to Amanda-Clearcreek 39-34 in the regional finals.
The Knights built a commanding lead in the match, which they hosted. Northmor won seven of the first 10 matches to jump in front 34-15. However, the Aces were able to dominate the upper weight classes, taking three pins and a win via forfeit to score 24 points and take the match.
“Our fans came out and the crowd was good,” said head coach Scott Carr. “But this was pretty disappointing — the same old story.”
In the previous three years of the state dual tournament, Northmor lost in the regional finals in 2014 and in the semifinals in 2013 and 2015, leaving advancing to the state championships, to be held Feb. 14 this year, one of the few accomplishments the Knight program has yet to achieve.
After losing at 106 pounds, the Knights claimed three straight matches. Jake Neer took a 16-5 major decision win at 113 pounds, Griffin Jenkins earned a second-period pin at 120 and Aaron Kitts won by decision at 126 to put Northmor in front 13-6.
At 132 pounds, A-C took an overtime decision in an intensely-contested bout, but Northmor quickly got back on track, as Conan Becker (132) and Jake Farley (145) both earned first-period pins.
After losing by pin at 152, Northmor got one at 160 by Brad Baker and a decision win by Ben Singer at 170 to go in front by 19 points. However, 24 points in four matches by the Aces was sufficient for them to make the big comeback and advance to the state round of competition.
Carr noted that a pair of tight losses in the match swung things. At 132, Tony Martinez made a spirited late comeback to send his contest with Exekiel Hoffman to overtime before losing 12-10. Later, in the 152-pound class, Matthew Ross had his opponent, Austin Shannon, in a pinning position before the bout was stopped due to a potentially dangerous hold. Shannon would then turn the tables and pin Ross.
“We had a kid on his back and they called some sort of potentially dangerous move and we got pinned,” he said. “That’s a 12-point turnaround. We also lost one in overtime. Hats off to them. We had a huge lead and they could have packed it in, but they stayed at it.”
In their regional semifinal match, the Knights cruised to a 54-24 win over Ashland Crestview. After finding themselves in a 6-0 deficit, Northmor scored 48 straight points to assure themselves of the win.
Wyatt Collier (113), Jenkins (120), Kitts (126) and Becker (138) all picked up forfeits, while Martinez (132), Ross (145), Farley (152) and Baker (160) all pinned their opponents. Mason Burger won by pin at 195 to provide the remainder of Northmor’s scoring in the match.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS