Although his team finished 4-1 at the Narrah Graham Duals Jan. 26 at Chardon, Woodridge wrestling coach Mike Massey was decidedly lukewarm on the experience.
"We were not sharp by any stretch," Massey said. "It wasn't one of our better performances. We wrestled four teams that were pretty depleted. Stow had a team combined with JV and varsity wrestlers. Orange has about seven guys on their team. Chardon gave us a pretty good run. Mentor sent their 'B' team.
"The only team was full strength there was Barberton and they throttled us." Massey added.
Woodridge defeated Stow-Munore Falls 43-18, routed Orange 57-12, beat Chardon 35-30 and bested Mentor 59-21 while losing to Barberton 54-17.
Those results, combined with Woodridge's 64-6 loss Jan. 30 in the Division II state team tournament to Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, gave the Bulldogs a 12-5 dual meet record for the season.
Massey said weather issues may have caused the Bulldogs to have an off-day at Chardon.
"I'm not trying to get too down on the kids," Massey said. "The school shut down Friday night because of snow. They wouldn't let us in and we couldn't practice. When you're used to practicing every day and you're home by 3 o'clock, it can throw you off.
"We went 4-1, but we know we could have done better," Massey said. "You just have to figure out what happened to the kids that day. We've got to decide what were capable of."
Senior 138-pounder Pat Dickinson may have been representative of the Bulldogs at Chardon. While his senior captain went 5-0, Massey said Dickinson "didn't look sharp" as he was battling the effects of an upper respiratory infection.
"There was a lot coughing and hacking from Pat," Massey said. "He was fighting through it though."
By contrast, Massey said sophomore 145-pounder Hunter Mercer was definitely on his game as he also went 5-0 at Chardon.
"He looked really good," Massey said. "He's got 27 wins as a sophomore and it's only going to get better. He's got the total package because he's such a hard worker, on the mat and in the classroom."
Massey said a defensive pin in the Chardon match cost 152-pounder Trevon Berry a perfect weekend, as he finished 4-1. At 195 pounds, Cody Jenkins also went 4-1, with his only loss coming to Barberton All-Ohioan Aaron Tschnatz.
CVCA bounces Bulldogs from state tournament
Woodridge went into its match in the Division II state duals with CVCA Jan. 30 trying to be loose and open.
Massey said heading into the match he knew his team was the underdog, but wanted to see what his team could do against the Royals.
By match's end, CVCA showed why it's regarded as one of the top teams in the state.
The Royals routed Woodridge 64-6, winning 12 of the 13 individual bouts in the process. There was a double forfeit at heavyweight.
Woodridge's lone win in the match came from 220-pounder Mason Hilling, who pinned CVCA's Paul Gibson in 37 seconds.
Beyond that, it was a long night for the Bulldogs.
CVCA got pins from 106-pounder Mason Brainard, 113-pounder Zach McCraw, 120-pounder Ryan Bennett, 126-pounder Nathan Tomasello, 152-pounder Jeff Hojnacki, 182-pounder Noah Havener and 195-pounder Nick Havener.
They Royals also got technical falls from 132-pounder Josh Decatur, 145-pounder Ricky Simonelli and 170-pounder Tyler Maclellan.
"CVCA's good. They did what they should do," Massey said. "We went out there and gave it our best."
CVCA also defeated Coventry 48-21 Jan. 30 to advance to the Division II, Region 10 finals. The Royals will host Bay Village Bay Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Division II state team tournament Feb. 9 at St. John's Arena in Columbus.
Massey said his focus was on the Portage Trail Conference Tournament, which took place Feb. 1 and 2 (results were not available at press time). Heading into the tournament, the Bulldogs' objective was simple: If Woodridge could finish first among the County Division teams, it would assure itself of no worse than a tie for first place overall with Rootstown.
Woodridge's regular season is over. The Bulldogs will open the postseason Feb. 15 and 16 at the Division II sectional tournament at Walsh Jesuit.