By GARY R. RASBERRY
It was hard to believe that after four years of wrestling home
matches for Celina, Adam Gray was a little nervous.
Yet, the lone senior of the MatDogs admitted to having a few
butterflies as he got ready for his final home bout at the Intermediate
School on Thursday evening against Bath.
Yet everything worked out for Gray and the MatDogs in getting
a 46-23 win over the Wildcats to stay perfect at 7-0 in the
Western Buckeye League. Bath drops to 3-4.
The nerves showed early as Bath’s Kyle Ruggley held tough
with Gray for the first 51/2 minutes of the pair’s 152-pound
bout. After a scoreless period, Ruggley, after letting Gray
score a point off an escape to start the second period, scored
a takedown and began to turn Gray over for the pin. Gray struggled
mightily for the last minute of the period and was not pinned,
although Ruggley scored three back points to make the score
“I was nervous out there, being the only (senior) left,”
said Gray after his bout. “I was a little shaky. It’s
one of those things I had to ride out.”
The pair went for a neutral start to begin the third period
and neither could get an advantage. With the clock showing nearly
30 seconds left in the match, Gray made his move, locking up
Ruggley and putting him down for the takedown.
Immediately Gray tried to move Ruggley onto his back to get
back points. Gray needed to keep Ruggley’s shoulders to
a 45-degree angle for at least two seconds to get the needed
two points to force overtime. By the time the horn sounded,
Gray had Ruggley for five seconds, picking up three back points
to give the Celina senior a 6-5 decision.
“I knew it was a short time and I was working through
every move that I knew to get backpoints,” said Gray.
“I wasn’t thinking about much, just trying to get
points. I got him in a chicken wing, basically. I knew if I
got him in position, I was going to get three points.”
“He was nervous. I don’t know why, he’s been
out there so often,” said Celina coach Joel Zacharias.
“Things didn’t go his way and he got caught on his
back. Hard to come back from 5-1 but he did it.”
That proved to be the most exciting part of a night that featured
five voids, two that cost Celina 12 points with Bath losing
three forfeits and 18 points.
Kiel Hawk came up with a battle at 119 pounds against Justin
Best, ranked second at 119 in the Lima Area Wrestling Coaches
Poll this week.
The pair’s match was tied at 4-all when Best scored a
takedown with 20 seconds left in the second period. An escape
in the third for Best resulted in a 6-4 decision against Hawk.
Zacharias, though, was pleased with his junior’s effort.
“That’s the best Kiel has wrestled in the last two
weeks,” said Zacharias. “Hopefully he’ll take
that into our tournament on Saturday.”
Beyond that, Celina dominated for the most part. Patrick Bailey
followed up the Hawk match with an 8-2 win at 125 against Nick
Runser. Nick Gray dominated Dan Flora in posting a 17-0 shutout
for the technical fall. Cody Wagner scored the first pin for
Celina on the night in beating Luke Gross in 1:28.
In the 140 match, Eric Braun faced the LAWCA’s top-ranked
grappler in the weight class in Nick Sanchez. Sanchez put Braun
through the paces in picking up a 22-5 tech fall win.
Celina responded with Garrett Gray making it 3-0 for the Grays
on the night with a pin in 1:23.
Zach Mertz suffered the last contested loss for Celina on the
evening with a 7-1 defeat to Kody Knight in the 171 match. In
the final contested match of the night, Trent Hellwarth used
a surplus of back points in scoring a 17-0 tech fall win over
“There were a lot of voids tonight,” said Zacharias.
“It’s hard to get into a groove when you have a
kid wrestle, then have a void, then wrestle. Bath had some good
wrestlers. It was good for our kids.”
Celina took both junior varsity matches on the night via technical
fall. Corey Zizelman beat Cory Kohli 18-2 and Matt Paulus won
a 16-0 tech fall.
The MatDogs return to action on Saturday when they host the
Lions Invitational at the Fieldhouse. The eight-team tournament
features Coldwater, Versailles, Toledo Whitmer, Greenville,
Fremont Ross, Worthington Kilbourne and Elida with Versailles
being the defending champions. The opening rounds begin at 9:30