By Gary R. Rasberry
COLDWATER -- While Celina and Coldwater have the chance to face each other in wrestling later this season at the Lions Invitational, it's been a long time since the teams squared off in dual-match style.
Tuesday at the Palace, the teams renewed acquaintances as Coldwater hosted Celina and Urbana in a three-team, two-mat format.
Coldwater won its match with the Hillclimbers 43-18 and Celina lost to Urbana 39-32, but the focus of the crowd was to see who had the better team in Mercer County.
Experience on the Coldwater side shined through as the Cavaliers beat the Bulldogs 43-12 in a competitive battle.
The format -- one mat for the lighter weights and the other for the heavier weights -- allowed for plenty of action. It wasn't until the second round of action that the lightweights for the Cavaliers and MatDogs got to face off. Coldwater started off strong as Matt Grandstaff decisioned R.J. Baskett 6-5 at 103 pounds, followed by teammate Brock Timmerman scoring a 7-5 win over Tylor Thees at 112. Celina got on the board at 119 with Cody Doner holding off Jared Kohn for the 4-3 win. Jason Grieshop got Coldwater back to the winning side with an 8-3 win over Josh Davis.
At 130 pounds, Celina's Nick Gray made his season debut after injury kept him out of action for the 2005 portion of the season while Coldwater countered with senior Kenny Platfoot. Gray scored the takedown in the first period and got a reversal in the second period to lead 4-0 after two. Platfoot escaped to start the third and got a takedown, but could not get back points as Gray starts the season 1-0 with the 4-3 victory.
Coldwater's Marty Hemmelgarn and Celina's John Rhodes battled at 135 pounds in a bout that saw several stoppages due to blood. A second-period takedown was all that Hemmelgarn needed to get the 2-0 win to put Coldwater up 12-6. In the final of the lightweights, Bryce Schlater used a big third quarter to put away Cole Koesters 15-5 to make it 16-6 in favor of the Cavaliers moving to the other mat.
"The kids I'm most proud of is the lighter weights," said Coldwater coach Chuck Alig. "They're young and freshmen. Matt and Brock wrestled great matches. Jared wrestled real good, same with Jason. They're coming around for us."
Coldwater's Nate Sides tallied the first pin of the match at 145 pounds, getting Tyler Temple's shoulders down for the count just before time ran out in the second period.
Another battle of wills came at 152 as Eric Braun faced once-beaten Andy Schmidt of the Cavaliers.
Braun scored the early takedown and scored a point when Schmidt was called for an illegal hole, before a reversal in the third period allowed Braun to score a 5-0 shutout.
The Bulldogs kept up the winning ways at 160 as Jordan Davis doubled up Ross Jansen 8-4 to cut the score to 22-9. Tyler Kunk, wearing the old-school Cavalier singlet, kept scoring takedowns and releasing Cory Zizelman when unable to get back points. The score was 20-7 in the third when Kunk scored a reversal and held Zizelman down for the pin at the 4:24 mark of the bout.
Lucas Homan made it two Cavalier pins in a row, taking down Joe Granger 30 seconds into the second period. Tyler Johnson got the conventional win by decision in beating Mitch Miracle 10-3.
The final match pitted two wrestlers filling in for the regulars. Celina had Chris Wilkens at 275 with Sam Eshelman out with a wrist injury. Coldwater was supposed to have Adam Grieshop at the weight, but he suffered a shoulder injury in his match with Urbana's Nic Hess forcing Matt Wynk, who was in street clothes to start the night, to rush and put on his gear. Wynk looked solid in getting the win 58 seconds into the second period to wrap up the night for Celina.
Coldwater was solid in all matches, not giving up more than a decision in each match with no pins against them.
"They're stepping up to the challenges," said Alig. "They have all year so far. That's a credit to them.
"Our philosophy to the kids is if they want to win a dual match, as far as team wise, you can't give up any pins. ... We tell them they're not going to win every match, but if you're going to lose, don't get pinned."
"Nice matchups," said Celina coach Tim Doner of the night. "We had some good matchups for the kids that needed it. Our young ones started stepping up a little bit. We're starting to look pretty good."
Doner was very complimentary of the Cavaliers.
"They're pretty solid all the way through," said Doner. "Not many holes in the lineup."
Coldwater travels to Lima Central Catholic on Tuesday for a tri-meet. Celina heads to Toledo this Saturday for the Toledo Central Catholic Invitational.