To be the best, well, you have to beat the best.
It pretty much goes without saying. It’s something the Delaware Hayes wrestling team wasn’t able to do during Saturday’s Division I OHSAA Dual Team Wrestling State Tournament, but something the Pacers were happy to have a shot at.
Hayes battled up and down the lineup, with a trio of seniors picking up impressive wins, but Massillon Perry, the eventual state champ, was too much in the end. The Panthers went on to beat the Pacers 54-9 in the quarterfinals before handling Lakewood St. Edward 48-15 in the semis and Brecksville 48-9 in the state final.
“Massillon Perry’s team is outstanding top to bottom,” Hayes coach Josh Heffernan said. “Hats off to them on a well-deserved title. I wasn’t upset about getting them in the first round … they don’t place out second through eighth at this tourney, so we knew we’d have to beat Perry at some point to be state champs … might as well catch them in the first round.
“And we wrestled them well,” he added. “As well as anyone. We want the best competition. Our schedule is designed to have that — a tough schedule helps guys in the postseason. Our guys will definitely be battle tested. We’ve already wrestled the best in the state, so being in a big match against big competition will be old hat for our guys.”
Hayes’ points come courtesy of Shawn Johnson, Colton Richard and Andrew Sierawski. Johnson beat Perry’s Brady Durieux 5-2 in the 182-pound class, Richard knocked off Timmy Armstrong 11-4 at 195 and Sierawski slipped past Stefano Millin 2-1 at 220.
“Johnson, Richard and Sierawski were AAU Junior Olympians this summer, who wrestled nationally,” Heffernan said. “They’ve been seeking out top competition for awhile now, so their victories were no surprise. There’s a lot to be said about experience. The sectional and district tourneys will not be the biggest tourneys our guys have wrestled … and having wrestled top competition as often as our guys have will only benefit them going forward.”
Hayes will return to action Saturday, set to compete in the Division I sectional tournament at Watkins Memorial High School.