Denkins leads Perrysburg placers, finishing third

COLUMBUS — Four Perrysburg wrestlers won Division I championships Sunday at the Schottenstein Center, but four others also placed, contributing to the Yellow Jackets finishing as team state runner-up to Lakewood St. Edward for the second straight year.

Perrysburg senior Wynton Denkins (52-3) placed third at 150 pounds, freshman Ayden Dodd (41-10) was fifth at 106, senior A.J. Parish (28-9) was sixth at 144, and junior Jake Wood (40-7) placed seventh at 157.

Denkins opened with a 15-5 major decision against Brecksville-Broadview Heights junior David Zambounis (28-18), but fell in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Eugene Harney (40-5), a Cincinnati Sycamore junior, by a 4-2 decision.

In the consolation bracket, Denkins defeated Beavercreek senior Hunter Martin (38-12), 11-6, and Lebanon senior Flint Guerra (36-7), 3-2.

In the third-place consolation final, Denkins won by 4-2 sudden victory over Springboro senior Conner Kleinberg (52-5).

Dodd’s fifth place match against Mount Vernon junior Brock Blankenhorn (36-8) saw a series of runs with Dodd scoring three quick points to take a 3-0 first period lead.

However, Blankenhorn scored five straight points, including a near fall, to take a 5-3 lead, but Dodd got a reverse to tie the match at 5-5 with 43 seconds remaining, eventually forcing overtime.

“I just kept wrestling through every position,” Dodd said. “He seemed to be over-wrestling, so I had to just stay calm.”

In OT, Dodd scored two quick takedowns to take a 9-5 win. Again, he said it was about not panicking.

“Same thing — staying calm,” Dodd said. “I just had to toughen up a little bit. He’s bigger than me, so I had to stay in good position and be tougher.”

Dodd opened the tournament with a 14-5 major decision against Lewis Center Olentangy sophomore Kurt Mokros (40-9) and then defeated Wadsworth freshman Blake Frantz (29-22), 6-2, to reach the semifinals.

The Perrysburg freshman had a tough bout against Brecksville freshman Rylan Seacrist (40-7), losing by a 15-5 major decision. In the consolation bracket, Dodd fell to Massillon Perry sophomore Emeric McBurney (38-9), 3-1, sending him to the match against Blankenhorn.

Parish opened with a 2-1 victory against Lakota West senior Matthew Szczepaniak (39-8) but fell in the quarterfinals to Nordonia junior Israel Petite (47-6), 5-3.

In the consolations, Parish defeated Harrison junior Cohl Wandsnider (34-6), 3-2, and Perry sophomore Marshall Gleckler (28-13), 6-3, but fell to Dublin Scioto junioir Ty Wilson (50-4), 4-2. Parish lost the fifth-place match to St. Edward junior Lucan O’Brien (32-13) by a 4-3 decision.

Wood was dominant in his seventh-place match, completing a 15-0 technical fall victory over Olentangy Liberty senior Broc Fitzpatrick (30-13) with 57 seconds still on the clock.

However, it took Wood some time to get going as he and Fitzpatrick were still deadlocked with no score after the first period.

In the second, Wood scored first on a reversal and then two near falls, and he added one near fall and two takedowns in the third period. That was part of the gameplan, Wood says.

“I just kind of had to wear him out a little bit before I could get my motor going,” Wood said. “I had to grind on him a little bit at first.

“For one minute in the first period, it was a little tough to do that, but once I got that switch, the reversal, it kind of got my motor going,” Wood continued.

“Got that right elbow he took from me and ran that a couple times in the second period, and then he tried to head-arm me, but I got out of it and I had a couple more tilts to win it.”

Wood fell in a close opening match, 5-4, to Nordonia junior Gino Gerrine (50-10), sending him to the consolation bracket right off the bat.

There he defeated Lebanon senior Liam Schram (36-12) by a 10-2 major decision and Cincinnati Anderson senior Maclain Morency (27-2) by a 15-3 MD, but fell to Brecksville sophomore Evan Rizzo (34-15), 5-4, in the consolation semifinals, setting up his match with Fitzpatrick.

Wood hung around to see four of his teammates, Marcus Blaze (120), Ryan Avalos (126), Joey Blaze (165), and Myles Takats (175) win state championships.

“It’s really cool to see those guys win it,” Wood said. “It’s inspiring for next year and what I’ve got to do differently to get there.”

Two other Perrysburg wrestlers qualified for state — sophomore Cole Evans (30-8) at 132 and junior Diego Chavez (26-11) at 138.

Evans opened with a 5-3 loss to Lebanon senior Jack McCall (32-8) but defeated Marysville sophomore Boston Burkhardt (35-14) by a 14-4 decision in the consolation bracket first round.

Evans was pinned by Cincinnati LaSalle sophomore Holden Huhn (37-8) in 45 seconds in his next match.

Chavez lost his opening match to Brecksville senior Chase Pluhar (36-11), 5-0, and then to Fairfield senior Tannar Beermann (33-8), 10-4, in the consolation bracket.