Woodridge wrestling coach Mike Massey knew his team was stepping into a hornets' nest Dec. 1 at the Ken Briggs Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Copley.
What he didn't know was how outnumbered his squad would be.
"Every team other than us had a full lineup," Massey said. "I only took 11 [wrestlers] and sent the rest to another tournament. Every other team had a least 35 kids."
Those numbers meant Woodridge would give up 18 points worth of forfeits in each match -- quite a handicap when facing Division I programs.
However, it's a well-known fact Massey's teams thrive on big challenges.
Despite the 18-point handicap, Woodridge managed to go 2-3 at the Briggs and was competitive in its other matches.
Woodridge defeated Copley 31-28 and Hudson 36-32. The Bulldogs lost a tight 35-33 loss to Maple Heights and also lost to Brunswick 43-22 and Carrollton 45-24.
Given the forfeits and the fact that many of his wrestlers were not in their proper weight classes, Massey was very happy with his team's effort.
"I was just really pleased with how we wrestled," Massey said. "A lot of our kids we were up a weight class or two. I think we had a mismatched bunch against some big teams, but we did very well."
Woodridge's top wrestler in the tournament was a bit of a surprise. Senior 170-pounder Doug McIe was the lone Bulldog to go 5-0 at Briggs.
McIe scored two pins and three decisions on the weekend.
"I think that gave him a lot of confidence," Massey said. "He wrestled very well against some pretty good kids.
He and that other boy from Carrollton had a great match [McIe won 6-5]."
Despite McIe's big weekend, Massey said sophomore 182-pounder Cody Jenkins might come down to challenge for the 170-pound slot. Jenkins went 4-1 at the Briggs with a pin and three decisions.
Senior Pat Dickinson bumped up from his usual 138-pound spot up to 145 and even 152 at Briggs. Despite the move up, Dickinson still went 4-1 with a pin, a major decision and two decisions.
His lone loss came at 152 in a wild 15-11 match with Copley's Scott Powell.
"He gave up two five-point moves," Massey said. "I told him if you score 11 points you should win and he agreed. He looked good though.
Senior 132-pounder John Vineyard also went 4-1, finishing with three pins and a decision. He lost to Hudson's Chris Motter by technical fall.
Rounding out the 4-1 performers for Woodridge was junior Mason Hilling. Hilling had to wrestle heavyweight despite weighing only 222 pounds Dec. 1. Massey noted Hilling was giving up at least 50 pounds to all of his opponents.
"I joked with him that this will teach him not to let his weight get out of control during football season," Massey said.
Despite the weight differential, Hilling won three decisions and a pin. His lone loss was to Carrollton MVP Dakota Maples, who Massey said was enormous. Maples scored the pin in 17 seconds.
Woodridge also got 3-2 tournaments from 152-pounder Hunter Mercer and 160-pounder Trevon Burgins.
The Bulldogs had a full weekend this weekend. Woodridge was set for a tri-meet Rootstown Dec. 6, followed by a trip to East Liverpool for the King of the Hill Tournament Dec. 7 and 8. Results of these matches were not available at press time.
Up next for the Bulldogs is a Portage Trail Conference County Division dual meet with defending champ Southeast Dec. 13 at home. First match is set for 6:30 p.m.
"If we want to make any noise in the division, we've got to beat Rootstown and Southeast," Massey said. "It will be tough, but we're ready."