Backing down from a challenge is practically outlawed for those associated with Woodridge wrestling.
The Bulldogs faced a pair of challenges last week and performed very well.
First, Woodridge finished just outside the top 10 at the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament Jan. 18 and 19 at Akron Firestone High School.
Woodridge finished 11th at the Dies with 94 points, just half a point behind Olmsted Falls in 10th. Brecksville won the team title at the Dies with 255 points.
Then, in the opening match of Division II state team tournament, the Bulldogs scored a 40-27 win over Norton Jan. 23 at home to advance to the regional semifinals. Woodridge's dual meet record improved to 7-4.
At the Dies, Bulldogs coach Mike Massey was pleased with the result.
"Our goal as a team was to come here and finish in the top 10," Massey said. "We're close. We got a lot of good performances this weekend."
Woodridge had five wrestlers place at the Dies, including a third-place finish from 152-pounder Trevon Burgins.
Burgins' lone loss in the tournament came to top-seeded Kollin Moore of Norwayne, who won the 152-pound title.
Burgins rebounded to win the third-place match in a wild 11-7 decision over Kent Roosevelt's Aaron Miller.
"That's our highest place since we started coming here," Massey said. "That's a great finish in a tough bracket by Trevon."
At 138 pounds, senior Pat Dickinson was given the top seed at the Dies. However, Dickinson suffered close losses in the quarterfinal to Twinsburg's Jimmy Hiller (3-1 in overtime) and GlenOak's Nick Steed in the consolation semifinal (5-1)
Dickinson, but salvaged fifth place with 4-2 win over Olmsted Falls' LJ Yurick.
"Pat could have wrestled better and he knows it," Massey said.
Sophomore 132-pounder Alex Teodecki continues to impress as he took sixth place. Teodecki lost the fifth-place match 12-2 to Mogadore's Justin Chew.
Junior 220-pounder Mason Hilling had to settle for seventh place in a very tough 220-pound bracket, while 195-pounder Cody Jenkins took eighth place.
Win over Norton
sets up big match
Against the Panthers, Massey said his team needed a few of his wrestlers to remember their results from the Dies and Stammen Tournaments.
"We put it on a couple guys that they needed to avenge some losses," Massey said. "We did that for the most part tonight."
Woodridge won seven of the 12 wrestled matches, as each team also had one forfeit.
Two of biggest wins came from Dickinson at 138 -- who avenged an earlier loss to Colin Hagenbush with a 9-2 win -- and Eric Bissonette at 160 pounds, who pinned Mike Nunez in 3:55 after getting pinned by Nunez at the Dies.
"The Bissonnette match was huge," Massey said.
Woodridge also got pins from Teodecki at 132 (3:51) and Burgins at 152 (1:41).
Massey said Burgins is becoming a huge force.
"This is the first time Tre's been healthy and in shape coming out of football season," Massey said. "We're getting to expect him doing what he does."
A pin by Jenkins at 195 in 3:11 clinched the match for the Bulldogs.
Woodridge's other wins came from 106-pounder Jacob Morehouse (forfeit), 113-pounder Matt Dodds (9-4) and 145-pounder Hunter Mercer (12-4).
The win for the Bulldogs advanced Woodridge to the regional semifinals, where the Bulldogs will face top-seeded Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. at CVCA.
CVCA shut out Firelands 70-0 in the other match at Woodridge Jan. 23.
"We were using CVCA as a reason to beat Norton," Massey said. "Our kids are already taking about it. They're obviously one of the best teams in Ohio. We know that we're going to be outgunned against them, but so what? It's going to be fun."
Woodridge was set to participate in the Narrah Graham Duals at Chardon Jan. 26, but results were not available at press time.
Aside from the match with CVCA, the Bulldogs will participate in the Portage Trail Conference Tournament Feb. 1 and 2 at Rootstown. First match Feb. 1 is set for 5:30 p.m.