The Versailles Tigers gained valuable experience in the Division III state dual team tournament on Sunday. The Graham Falcons, wrestling in Division II, gained another championship.
Versailles and Graham, regulars at the state dual tournament, squared off against some of the state’s best talent at the OHSAA dual team championships Sunday at St. John Arena in Columbus. The third-seeded Tigers’ run ended in the semifinals with a tough 45-23 loss to No. 2 Milan Edison. The top-ranked Falcons held off No. 2 Aurora 38-24 for their seventh straight dual championship.
“It’s great for the underclassmen to see up come up here and get a win,” Versailles coach AJ Bey said of the 40-29 win over No. 6 Mantua Crestwood in the quarterfinals. “It’s what we shoot for next year.”
Versailles struggled early against Edison in the semis, dropping the first four matches to fall behind 21-0.
Freshman Carson Bey earned a 6-0 decision at 132 pounds to get the Tigers going. Junior Nick Monnier followed with a 15-5 major decision at 138.
Following a pair of Edison pins, making the score 33-7, Versailles put together three straight wins behind junior Cael Bey (3-1 decision at 160), senior Tyler Gigandet (17-3 major decision at 170) and senior Derek Cavin (pin in 5:32 at 182).
Versailles trailed 33-20 with three matches remaining and looked ready to close the gap more at 195. Junior Isaac Grilliot, wrestling strong up to that point, was pinned in 2:38 to seal Edison’s win.
“I think we got too far behind early on,” Bey said. “Isaac has been pretty tough for us all year. He just got caught in a move. I’d like to have seen that match go three periods and see what happened in the third.
“I thought we wrestled tough. The score probably didn’t depict the match. A couple matches we were right in them and kind of got thrown on our backs.”
Versailles capped the scoring with sophomore Austin Nerderman’s 4-0 decision at 285.
The Tigers were making their fourth state dual appearance since the tournament started in 2013. They’ve won a match three of those four years.
“I think it helps some of the younger kids (in the coming weeks),” Bey said. “The older kids have been through it. The younger kids, I don’t think it affects them as much if they get to the district-placing match or get to state. They’re wrestling with a bunch of eyes on them. It helps quite a bit.”
Graham beat No. 7 London 62-8 in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Sandusky Perkins 58-13 in the semis. Against Aurora, Graham led 32-3 winning seven of the first eight classes.
Aurora won the next five matches to pull within 32-21, but needed more bonus points to pull off the upset.
“I was a nervous wreck before the finals,” said first-year Graham coach Travis McIntosh. “My stomach was in knots. I’ve wrestled in big matches – I wrestled in the NAIA national finals – and I was nowhere near as nervous for that as I was for this tonight. These guys deserve it.”