Western Reserve Roughriders' ride through the state tournament ends with loss to Upper Sandusky

UPPER SANDUSKY — Western Reserve’s magical run in the inaugural OHSAA Team Tournament came to an end Wednesday night as the Roughriders came up just short, falling to Upper Sandusky, 38-32, in the Regional Finals.

Earlier in the season, Western Reserve coach Art McHenry wasn’t sure what kind of dual team he had on his hands. He now knows.

“We have a decent dual team,” McHenry said. “There were a couple of matches I felt we should have won. We just got caught, and their guy beat us at our own game.”

The entire meet really came down to a the 220-pound match, after the Roughriders surrendered back-to-back pins and trailed 35-26 with just two matches left. Western Reserve turned to senior Chris Bolen who had more than just the pressure of his team’s state hopes on his shoulders; until the day before, he wasn’t even supposed to wrestle.

“Chris had a lot of pressure this week. Our regular 220, Brandon Workman, was out because of illness,” McHenry said, “He didn’t find out until Tuesday that he was in the starting lineup.”

While Bolen held his own in the match, he lost a 5-1 decision to Upper Sandusky’s Ian Baker.

“I don’t know that having Brandon in there would have made a difference,” McHenry said. “Chris did a great job for getting thrown in the lineup.”

Bolen led 1-0 for most of the first two periods, before Baker scored an escape to tie things up heading into the third. The two battled through the first 1:30 of the final period, before Baker got a takedown that caused the home fans to erupt in cheers and propelled the Rams to the next round.

“That was Ian Baker’s biggest takedown of his career, I can tell you that,” Upper Sandusky coach Chris Rodriguez said. “I think the crowd’s reaction described everything about the match.”

Western Reserve wouldn’t have even been in the meet at that point though, if it wasn’t for the work of freshman Boen Dalton (106) and Kyle Winebrenner (113) in the first two matches. While neither won their match, they both avoided being pinned and thus giving the Rams bonus points that would have clinched the win even earlier.

“We told those guys that it was all about them. We didn’t tell them not to go out there and not get pinned, but go out and be aggressive,” McHenry said. “We told them that if they did get caught on their back to do whatever it took to not give up the pin.”

After junior Nathan Beal dropped a tough match to Upper senior Carson Mengerink, the Roughriders found themselves behind 13-0.

Western Reserve then ripped off four straight wins, including pins by Jake Ruppert (138) and Josh Sommers (145) to take a 20-13 lead. The Roughriders held on to the lead until two freshman, Kyle Fitch (182) and Adam Workman (195) gave up pins and the Western Reserve lead.

“I think our lack of experience at the upper weights is what cost us,” McHenry said. “We had a sophomore and two freshman give up pins. That’s a lot to ask from a guy, but they’ve been there all year. There’s no excuse.”

The season is far from over for the Roughriders, though, as they will now begin preparing for the individual sectional tournament.

Upper Sandusky will travel to Columbus on Saturday to take part in the state quarterfinals.

“It’s a big honor,” Rodriguez said. “The first year of the tournament, and we get to go to the big show. I told some of these boys I’d get them to state, but I had no idea it would be like this.”

Upper Sandusky 38, Western Reserve 32

OHSAA Team Tournament

Regional Finals

106 — Will Orians (US) tech. fall Boen Dalton, 15-0; 113 — Thurston Dyer (US) maj. dec. Kyle Winebrenner, 13-2; 120 — Carson Mengerink (US) maj. dec. Nathan Beal, 15-4; 126 — Chase Griffith (WR) maj. dec. Derek Hansen, 10-0; 132 — Mason Robson (WR) maj. dec. Steven Richmond, 12-0; 138 — Jake Ruppert (WR) pin Troy Landrum, 5:11; 145 — Josh Sommers (WR) pin Taran Gillen, 3:40; 152 — Alex Kenner (US) pin Cody Ramage, 5:00; 160 — Tim Hunkley (WR) pin Nate Payne, 0:56; 170 — Cory Frey (US) maj. dec. Kenny Bement, 16-2; 182 — Tylor Pritchard (US) pin Kyle Fitch, 1:01; 195 — Dylan Robertson (US) pin Adam Workman, 3:55; Ian Baker (US) dec. Chris Bolen, 5-1; 285 — Ian Ramos (WR) pin Ditlev Overgaard, 1:54.

@MJ_smahoney

Last Updated: 2/6/2013 11:23:25 PM EST

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