Wresting: Lorain crushes Amherst, stakes its claim to being called county’s best team

LORAIN — Billy Kopp said his Titans have been motivated for days, but the Lorain coach wouldn’t go so far as to say his team was Lorain County’s best after a 47-19 victory over Amherst on Thursday afternoon.

“We got the report when we were down in Cincinnati last weekend that the newspapers called Amherst the king of the county,” said Kopp, referring to the Comets’ win over Elyria at the Mentor Duals on Saturday. “So that was pretty good locker room material for our kids. You know how styles go, so I wouldn’t say (we’re No. 1 in the county). There’s a whole lot of wrestling still to be wrestled here. Amherst had a tough team, we won a few close matches there … and Elyria is still pretty formidable.

“I don’t take a backseat to anybody, but I’ll still tip my hat to everybody.”

It was a charitable comment after a charitable event. The daytime dual meet between two of the area’s top programs happened because Amherst students were dismissed at 11 a.m. after taking their finals, and Lorain held an in-school assembly. The event raised $741 for the American Brain Tumor Association, which made Comets coach Brian Cesear a Billy Kopp fan — even after the loss.

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“My mom has brain cancer, so it really means a lot to me personally,” Cesear said. “(Kopp) originally wanted to donate to something else. He didn’t really care where it went, so I asked him if he could do that for me. It meant a lot to me.”

The teams traded match victories early in the meet. Lorain’s Dominic Diaz earned a decision at 106 pounds, and Amherst’s Christian Lough answered with a major decision at 113.

Xaevier Edwards put Lorain back on top with a first-period pin, and Mark Matos closed the gap to 9-7 with a tough 2-0 win over Johnny Spinkston at 126.

Matos and Spinkston battled through two scoreless periods — Spinkston riding Matos out during the second — and looked as if they were headed toward overtime before Matos managed to turn Spinkston’s back to the mat for a two-second nearfall.

“I was starting to get nervous and I heard the crowd oing,” said Matos, a Division I state qualifier last season. “I was thinking, ‘I have to keep him down or I have to get backs or something.’ I had the arm bar fixed the entire third period and I couldn’t turn him. He was kind of slippery. He kept slipping out when I had the half on the one side, and he was pulling it off, too. He was pretty strong.”

Antoine Edwards increased Lorain’s lead to 15-7 with a second-period pin of Bryan DeRuchie.

“I think Xaevier turned the match around,” Kopp said. “He came out and got that pin at 120, and his brother got fired up and comes back and pins DeRuchie, who tech-falled (Antoine) at sectionals last year.”

Eli Garcia — also a Division I state qualifier last season — increased the Titans’ lead to 19-7 with a major decision over Alex Funderburg.

“I know he’s a tough wrestler, but I’ve been working really hard,” said Garcia after improving to 28-0. “We didn’t have much time to prepare for this dual, but the time we did have we worked real hard in practice as a team. We just came to get it done.”

Lorain’s Demetrius Harris won a nail-biter at 145 before Amherst rallied with back-to-back pins by C.J. Basinski at 152 and Mike Wearsch at 160 to make it 22-19.

John Findley used a late takedown in the third period to pull off a 9-8 win over Derek Eibon in another tossup match, before a lineup change by Kopp blew the match wide open. Kopp placed Devin Ressenger at 182 pounds and moved Alec Medina up to 195 and Cedric Peyton up to 220.

“My 220’s out, he hurt his knee a couple weeks ago,” Kopp said of regular starter Deshonte Davis. “I don’t think they were expecting us to bump there. They didn’t see that one coming.”

Ressenger, whom Kopp said doesn’t have “very much varsity experience,” earned a pin, Medina picked up a major decision and Peyton pinned. Lorain heavyweight Devin Hill earned a forfeit victory to complete the meet.

“Bonus points are huge in dual meets … I keep preaching that to the kids,” Cesear said. “You can’t be content just winning in a dual meet, you have to look for bonus points. We didn’t match up well with them at all. They had good guys where our best kids were. It was hard for Matos to get bonus points because Spinkston is a tough wrestler. He went down with our team to Disney Duals and he went 9-1 there.”

Everyone involved was happy to see a full gym, and Kopp hopes that daytime duals can become a regular occurrence in Lorain County.

“That was fun,” he said. “That’s how you’re going to get the fan base interested in this sport. There were students there today that had never seen a wrestling match and didn’t want to leave when the final bell rang.”

Lorain 47, Amherst 19

106 — Dominic Diaz (L) dec. Anthony Mendez, 9-2. 113 — Christian Lough (A) maj. dec. Michael Kopp, 16-7. 120 — Xaevier Edwards (L) pinned Tyler Harris, 1:33. 126 — Mark Matos (A) dec. Johnny Spinkston, 2-0. 132 — Antoine Edwards (L) pinned Bryan DeRuchie, 3:44. 138 — Eli Garcia (L) maj. dec. Alex Funderburg, 16-2. 145 — Demetrius Harris (L) dec. Bryce Williams, 2-1. 152 — C.J. Basinski (A) pinned Travone Edwards, 1:46. 160 — Mike Wearsch (A) pinned Eddie Hayes, :17. 170 — John Findley (L) dec. Derek Eibon, 9-8. 182 — Devin Ressenger (L) pinned Nick Whitt, 2:59. 195 — Alec Medina (L) maj. dec. Dennis Breeding, 13-2. 220 — Cedric Peyton (L) pinned Stephan Moody, 1:10. 285 — Devin Hill (L) won by forfeit.

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