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02-27-04: Local wrestlers battle on state mats

Mixed results for area athletes

The Daily Standard

COLUMBUS — A mixed bag of results for local teams marked the first day of the 67th Annual Ohio State Wrestling Tournament at the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University.
For the trio of wrestlers from Versailles, it was a good and short day as all three Tigers won their opening bouts and earned the rest of Thursday off as a reward.
For Craig Homan of Coldwater, it was a rough debut that started with a tough loss to one of the state’s best heavyweights and ended with a close loss that sent him home.
And for Caleb Cisco of St. Marys, it was a tough way to lose an opening match which gave him plenty of frustration to vent onto his next opponent.
The Tiger trio of John Schmitmeyer, Eric Strasbaugh and Mark Keiser went 3-0 in the Division III tournament, winning each match by decision.
Schmitmeyer started the day against Chris Estep of Western Reserve in the 160-pound bracket. After a tight first quarter, Schmitmeyer was able to get an early lead but midway through the second period Estep was able to tie things up at 4-all.
In the final period, Schmitmeyer got a key reverse for two points to get the lead and keep the lead with the 6-4 win.
Schmitmeyer faces Stephen McDonald of Newark Catholic in the championship quarterfinals this morning starting at 10 a.m.
“That’s a big confidence booster,” said Schmitmeyer. “It will be a lot better tomorrow, knowing I can compete here. I was a lot less nervous than I was last year.”
Strausbaugh had a little better bout againt Steve Eicher of Massillon Tuslaw in the 171-pound match. Strausbaugh had the early lead and allowed just one point to get the win by a 4-1 margin.
“I was real confident,” said Strausbaugh. “He was standing tall and I had to work a little to get him down. It feels great coming out here and winning my first match and be done for the day.”
Strausbaugh faces Spencer Dye of Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic in the quarterfinals this morning.
Kesier made it a Tiger 3-0 day with a 5-3 overtime win against Josh Patton of Burton Berkshire at 215 pounds.
“It feels good to come back,” said Kesier. “I’ve got another match to go to get a place.”
For Homan, making his first appearance at state, it was a tough draw from the get-go. On the other side of the mat was Union Local’s Koel Davida, the two-time defending state champ in the weight class.
In the first period, Davida got Homan down for a takedown but Homan was able to break out and score the escape to make it 2-1 after one. In the second, Davida kept Homan down and scored the pin shortly before the end of the second period.
“I wanted to get on his legs and attack him a little more,” said Homan after his match. “He had so much of a weight advantage on me, I couldn’t get hold of him. I would have liked to have gone to a third period, but I have to keep my head up and move on.”
That put Homan in the first round of the consolation bracket to face Corey Shepard of Elyria Catholic. After two scoreless periods, Shepard chose to start in the down position for the third period. Twenty seconds into the period Shepard got loose and scored one point on an escape and ended the match.
Homan was upbeat after the loss, knowing he has the chance to come back next season as a senior.
“I tried the best I could today,” said Homan, who finishes with a fine 32-11 record. “Nothing else, it was a good learning experience for what it will be like next year. I wish I would have got a few more points.”
The toughest loss of the day came from Cisco, who used a great rally to force overtime against Brian Connelly of Mentor Lake Catholic in the Division II 103 division. Cisco trailed 2-1 for the first 90 seconds of the third period and was told by coach Larry Gruber to kick him out and take the one-point hit to make it 3-1. After going back to neutral, Cisco was able to shoot and get Connelly exposed as the period ended to make the score 3-all.
It appeared neither wreslter would score in the one-minute extra session and force a 30-second final session but Cisco appeared close to getting a takedown. However, as both wrestlers swung towards the out of bounds Connelly was able to get around Cisco and get a takedown of his own for two points and a win in the match.
Cisco could not believe that the official called the takedown with both men close to being out of bounds and was emotional leaving the mat.
Cisco came out with a new found focus for his consolation bout against Mike Mitchell of Parma Padua Franciscan. Cisco did not waste time getting points and pushed the lead to 10-0 going into the third period and coming away with a 12-3 major decision.
“I wanted to tech him,” said Cisco, referring to scoring a technical fall. “I’m coming back tomorrow. It’s a long way to placing, but I still have that shot.”


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