|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Lake wrestlers prepare for postseason

  • The end of the 2012-13 season has been unique for high school wrestling teams across the state of Ohio. For the Lake Blue Streaks, that unique ending has them poised for a strong run in the postseason.

    • email print
  • The end of the 2012-13 season has been unique for high school wrestling teams across the state of Ohio. For the Lake Blue Streaks, that unique ending has them poised for a strong run in the postseason.
    This is the first season for the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s team dual-meet tournament, an extra layer of postseason competition that divides teams up into regions and, instead of the individual format of the existing state tournament, pits squads against each other in a dual-meet format to decide a state team champion.
    The Blue Streaks were placed in region 4B, which included all Federal League teams along with area squads such as Canton Timken and Massillon. Lake was pitted against Canton McKinley in its opening-round match and, after defeating the Bulldogs, advanced for a rematch with Jackson, which dealt the Blue Streaks their first league loss earlier in the season.
    With a chance for revenge, Lake wrestled one of its best matches of the season and scored a second consecutive win to set up a match with perennial league power and frequent state title contender Perry.
    The Panthers displayed why they are once again a serious threat in any incarnation of the postseason, rolling to a 56-15 win and allowing Lake to accrue just three victories in the match.
    Alec Cotton and Zac Carson continued their strong seasons, racking up two of those three wins to emerge from the dual meet tournament as the only two Lake wrestlers to win all three of their matches in the event. The win lifted Cotton’s record to 34-5 on the season, and Carson, the team’s lone state qualifier last season, improved to 35-3.
    Head coach Mike Mattingly was glad to see his team get three extra matches and be able to compete as a team in the postseason, but did not view the dual meet tournament as significantly different from a normal, regular-season dual match schedule.
    “We were able to get three extra matches, and I think that’s mostly a good thing, but I don’t like that we’re wrestling teams from our league again. It wasn’t anything really different than a normal dual meet, except for the idea that you are wrestling for a state title,” Mattingly explained.
    With the regular season complete and a 14-6 record (4-2 in the Federal League), the Blue Streaks shifted their focus to the sectional tournament, which was held this weekend at Perry. Entering the tournament, Mattingly believed several of his wrestlers had a chance to advance deep into the event.
    In addition to Cotton and Carson, freshman Andrew McNally (152 pounds) and senior Timmy Keblish (162 pounds) are two competitors Mattingly believes have a chance to make it to Columbus.
    For Carson, a return trip to the state meet depends on the work he has put in on the areas of his game that needed improvement after falling short in Columbus last year.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Zac knows it takes hard work, and he’s a hard worker,” Mattingly said. “He knows he will have to work a little harder on his weak areas. He’s really good on his feet, good on top, but he needs to improve his bottom wrestling, and he’s worked on that.”
    A 10-day break between the end of the regular season and the sectional tournament should benefit the Blue Streaks in terms of getting healthy and fully focused on the task ahead.
    “It’s all about having a positive mindset because it’s a long season, and I think some of the guys may have been a little tired after the state dual meet matches, but with 10 days before we wrestle again, if we’re banged up, we can get healthy and the kids who can block it all out, not worry and focus on wrestling hard will succeed,” Mattingly concluded.