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CVCA's Decatur twins win state wrestling titles

By MICHAEL LEONARD Sports Editor Published: March 19, 2017 12:00 AM
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COLUMBUS -- There had been hype around Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy's Jacob and Jordan Decatur since their days in middle school.

It not hard to see why. The Decatur twins each possess a unique mix of speed and power that made them players on the national youth wrestling scene.

Until last week, however, injuries and issues kept the Decatur boys from reaching the pinnacle of Ohio high school wrestling.

Fittingly, the twins reached that summit together.

Jacob Decatur won the 106-pound title, while Jordan Decatur won the 126-pound title March 11 at the Division II state wrestling tournament at Value City Arena in Columbus.

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The twins led a renaissance for CVCA in the state team race, as the Royals finished fourth in Division II with 66.5 point, finishing .5 points ahead of Carrollton. St. Paris Graham won the Division II team title for the 17th straight year with 235.5 points.

The Decatur boys won state titles No. 19 and 20 in CVCA's history, tying the school with Wadsworth for 18th on the OHSAA's all-time individual champions list.

Needless to say, CVCA coach Dave Bergen was a very happy man.

"It's neat. These guys are our foundation," Bergen said. "They've worked so hard to get here and to have them both win is just terrific."

"At a small school, you know you're going to have some down years," he added. "It's a couple of lean years, but we're happy with what we're done."

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Jacob Decatur finish sixth at 106 last year, largely because a knee injury hampered him.

This year, Jacob largely stuck to a "shoot and release" game plan, taking his opponent down and then kicking him out. Decatur opened the tournament with a 22-6 technical fall over Napoleon's Caleb Hernandez, followed by a 10-6 win over Circleville's Trey Finnearty.

In the semifinals, Jacob faced Western Brown's Jedidiah Marlow and put him on his back, paving the way to a 10-3 win and his Decatur's first state final berth.

"It definitely means so much to me to be doing this with Jordan," Jacob said.

In the final, Jacob faced off with Lisbon Beaver's Cole McComas and put on another takedown clinic. He scored six takedowns on his way to a 12-6 win and his first state title.

"I just like when guys are aggressive with me," Jacob said. "I like to think I was able to stop all his stuff and keep after it the whole time."

Happy as the smaller twin was to earn his first state title, he said it was only mission half accompished.

"Jordan's got to get it done," Jacob said. "I'm praying for him."

Jordan Decatur was his normal dominant self in the early rounds. He opened with a 15-0 technical fall over Western Brown's Tanner Donathan, followed by an 8-0 win over Claymont's Maxx Peters in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinal, Jordan had a bit of a backyard battle on his hands, as he faced Woodridge's David Massey. Decatur left no doubt, pinning Massey in 1:49.

"I'm just excited," Jordan said. "Jacob and I have been competing against each other all our lives. We finally have a chance to accomplish our dreams."

Unlike Jacob, who faced McComas for the first time in final, Jordan had to deal with his nemesis in the final -- Canal Fulton Northwest's Hunter Kosco. Given the fact that Kosco pinned Jordan in the finals at the Alliance districts, Bergen said a change of strategy was in order.

"We wanted to be a lot more tactical in our offense, instead of usual when Jordan just shoots and shoots," Bergen said. "We wanted to snap his head and go behind. We were attacking the head the whole time."

"This time, I knew I had to try something different," Jordan said. "Everybody who I was sparring with this week, they were wrestling just like Hunter."

Although Jordan gave up the first takedown of the match, he escaped and the strategy seemed to work from then on. Jordan scored a takedown late in the first period and Kosco escaped, making it 3-3 after one period.

Starting from the down position in the second period, Jordan scored a reversal before Kosco escaped. Jordan then hit a huge takedown at the end of the second period, which nearly saw Kosco land on his head.

"It just happened," Jordan said. "I got behind him and he tried to Gamby out of it. He just landed that way."

Up 7-4 after two periods, Jordan allowed Kosco to escape early in the third. Although he admitted he was paying defense late in the third period and was called twice for stalling, Jacob hung on for a 7-6 win and his first state title.

Once off the mat, Jordan was hugged by his cousin Skyler Decatur, who had placed eighth in Division I at 132 pounds for Akron Ellet.

CVCA had hoped that junior 113-pounder Matt Cardello also could reach the finals, but he finished one win shy of that goal.

"We're such a tight knit group. It feels like something's not right that Matt didn't make the finals," Bergen said. "The twins told me 'Coach, we're happy, but were sad that Matt's not there.'"

Cardello dominated his first two matches, beating Kenton Ridge's Bryce Davis by a 17-0 technical fall and beating Napoleon's Charley Bohls 9-2 in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, however, Cardello ran into Circleville's Nate Keaton. Keaton was able to tilt Cardello onto his back in the third period and score a 4-2 win. Keaton went on to win the 113-pound title.

Cardello rebounded well from the loss, beating Steubenville's Tim Young 11-5 in the consolation semifinals. In the third-place match, Cardello went to overtime with Western Brown's Brandon Lucas, but scored the winning takedown in the sudden victory period to win 4-2 and take third place.

CVCA also had freshman 220-pounder Breslin Walker compete at state, but he finished 1-2 and off the podium.

Walker lost his opening match 3-0 to Norwalk's Abdullah Silmi, but rebounded with an 8-5 win over River Valley's Breslin Walker. However, Walker was eliminated with a 7-3 loss to Steubenville's Drone Moore.

Given that he was only freshman at 220 pounds in Division II, Bergen was not worried about Walker's future.

"He's so driven," Bergen said. "We're already planning our offeseason workouts. He's beaten juniors and seniors to get here."

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

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