Clovis wins Top Gun by 15 points over Massillon Perry

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- The 2014 Alliance Top Gun Wrestling Tournament had as deep and balanced a field as has been assembled in the history of the event. Three nationally ranked teams were in attendance. Headed into Friday night's quarterfinal round, it was looking like all three teams would be fighting for the title until tournament's end.

However, 1-8 record in that round for No. 29 Claymont would end their hopes. On the other hand, both No. 4 Clovis (Calif.) and No. 8 Massillon Perry advanced seven wrestlers each to the semifinals. Headed into day two competition on Saturday, the Cougars from almost 3,000 miles away held a 1.5 point lead, as they advanced all 14 wrestlers, while the Panthers had only 12.

Early in Day 2, the overwhelming Clovis depth would rear its head, as the Cougars placed twelve wrestlers and took an 11.5 point lead headed into the semifinal round. Massillon Perry placed only two wrestlers in addition to those in the semifinals. However, the semifinal round yielded a major swing, as the Panthers would exit that round with approximately a ten point lead.

Massillon Perry was 6-1 in semifinals and 2-0 in consolation, while Clovis went 4-3 in semifinals and 4-1 in consolation. However, depth came into play in the consolation semifinal round when Clovis would go 5-2 (as opposed to Massillon Perry's 2-1). As a result, the Cougars led by 12 entering the medal matches.

Clovis freshman Justin Mejia won the title at 106 pounds (Photo/Tony Rotundo,
Upsets in the first two championship bouts of the evening would all but seal the Top Gun team championship to Clovis. First, at 106 pounds, No. 11 Justin Mejia (Clovis) defeated No. 2 Tyler Warner (Claymont), 7-6. The score was closer than the match, as Mejia scored a takedown and near falls in the first period and then had a third period takedown to take a 7-2 lead with about a minute left. Warner would cut into that lead with an escape, a very late takedown, and a second stall on Mejia.

This weekend marked a return to competition for No. 3 Jose Rodriguez (Massillon Perry) at 113 pounds, after sustaining an injury in the first round at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman. He advanced to the finals with two majors, a technical fall, and a pin. In the championship bout he faced No. 19 Hayden Lee (Marysville), who reached the final with three pins and a technical fall. Rodriguez had beaten Lee 6-3 during the first day of competition at the Super 32 Challenge.

However, on this occasion, Lee would score a takedown at the edge of the mat during the first period, and get a second period escape. That would be enough for a 3-0 victory, as Rodriguez was unable to finish any of his attacks during the last two periods. With that tournament performance, Lee was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

By that point, Clovis had taken an 18 point lead in the team race, and it was a margin that could not be overcome.

However, that is not to say Massillon Perry was not valiant in their efforts. The Panthers won four of their five remaining championship bouts. David Bavery scored an 8-3 dec. over Khristian Olivas (Clovis) at 126 pounds, rallying back from giving up a match-opening takedown; No. 15 Casey Sparkman beat Jeff Hojnacki (CVCA) by 15-5 major dec. at 152; No. 12 Tony Dailey became a repeat champion at the Top Gun with a 20-8 major dec. over Cody Pollitt (Olentangy) at 160, even though the first period was scoreless; and Isaac Bast scored the winning points late in the third period in a 3-2 victory over Russell Miller (Miami Trace) at 170.

Wins in consolation medal bouts from Josh Hokit for third at 160 and Brody Brand for fifth at 170 assured Clovis would clinch the tournament, as the Cougars led by two (289-287) after the 170-pound weight class, which was Massillon Perry's last match of the evening.

Clovis would add to that margin with pins in third place bouts from A.J. Nevills (182) and Matt Weiss (220), which gave the Cougars 33 pins on the tournament (Massillon Perry had 30). No. 1 in the nation Nick Nevills capped the tournament with a 12-3 major dec. over Logan Sharp (West Branch) at 28 pounds. Nevills had three first period pins and two major dec.s in cutting through the field.

In addition to the four titles by Massillon Perry, and the two titles for Clovis, two other teams had multiple weight class champions. Joining Hayden Lee as a champion for Marysville was Austin Pfarr, who won the 220-pound weight class with a 4-3 victory over Alex Woicehovich (Nordonia) in a battle of state placers. Pfarr scored a takedown in the second and reversal in the third to counteract three escapes from Woicehovich.

Akron SVSM had a pair of champions in Ryan Skonieczny (138) and Aaron Adkins (182). Skonieczny, a three-time state placer and returning state runner-up, upended Nick Steed (Massillon Perry) 4-3 in the final. Skonieczny scored an escape and takedown to take a 3-1 lead in the third period, from which Steed responded with a match-tying reversal. However, Skonieczny scored an escape to take the final lead, and Steed was unable to counter with a meaningful attack to rally back.

Defending state champ Adkins scored his needed points with a first period takedown and second period escape in a 3-2 victory over returning Top Gun champion Nate Hall (Olentangy). Hall did respond with a third period takedown, but it fell into the too little, too late bucket.

One of the most impressive tournaments was had by freshman Corey Shie (Cincinnati LaSalle), champion of the 120-pound weight class. Shie opened the tournament with a pin and technical fall, before getting a second pin in a Friday night quarterfinal victory over defending Top Gun champion Dustin Warner (Claymont); Warner entered the event ranked No. 12 nationally at 113 pounds. The barrage continued with a 15-0 technical fall victory in the semifinal round.

Despite giving up an early takedown against fellow Cadet National freestyle All-American Alex Mackall (Walsh Jesuit), Shie would respond with much aplomb in the second period. After two escapes and a takedown, with a Mackall reversal in there too, Shie held a 5-4 lead and was able to hit a barrel roll to take Mackall to his back. That made it 9-4 after two periods, and the wrestlers traded reversals in the third. As a result, Shie won the match 11-6.

The evening's most exciting ending came in the 132-pound final, which quite frankly was a snooze fest until the last 15 seconds of the bout. With the score tied 1-1, returning state placer Nick Boggs (Painesville Riverside) scored the go-ahead takedown at the edge of the mat. Even though two-time state placer Isaiah Hokit (Clovis, Calif.) would be let loose with an escape, it was a 3-2 Boggs win.

Rounding out the weight class champions were returning state runner-up Zac Carson (Uniontown Lake), who beat two-time state placer Taleb Rahmani (Marysville) 4-3 in a battle of juniors; and state placer Tyler McClellan (CVCA), who beat Robert West (Trinity, Pa.) 3-2 at 195 pounds.

Team Standings:
(1) No. 4 Clovis (Calif.) 302, (2) No. 8 Massillon Perry 287, (3) No. 29 Claymont 189.5, (4) Uniontown Lake 129.5 (5) Sandusky Perkins 125, (6) Akron SVSM 124.5, (7) Marysville 124, (8) Fort LeBoeuf (Pa.) 116.5, (9) Delaware Hayes 115, (10) Olentangy 106

Finals Results:
106: No. 11 Justin Mejia (Clovis, Calif.) dec. No. 2 Tyler Warner (Claymont), 7-6
113: No. 19 Hayden Lee (Marysville) dec. No. 3 Jose Rodriguez (Massillon Perry), 3-0
120: Corey Shie (Cincinnati LaSalle) dec. Alex Mackall (Walsh Jesuit), 11-6
126: David Bavery (Massillon Perry) dec. Khristian Olivas (Clovis, Calif.), 8-3
132: Nick Boggs (Painesville Riverside) dec. Isaiah Hokit (Clovis, Calif.), 3-2
138: Ryan Skonieczny (Akron SVSM) dec. Nick Steed (Akron SVSM), 4-3
145: Zac Carson (Uniontown Lake) dec. Taleb Rahmani (Marysville), 4-3
152: No. 15 Casey Sparkman (Massillon Perry) maj. dec. Jeff Hojnacki (CVCA), 15-5
160: No. 12 Tony Dailey (Massillon Perry) maj. dec. Cody Pollitt (Olentangy), 20-8
170: Isaac Bast (Massillon Perry) dec. Russell Miller (Miami Trace), 3-2
182: Aaron Adkins (Akron SVSM) dec. Nate Hall (Olentangy), 3-2
195: Tyler McClellan (CVCA) dec. Robert West (Trinity, Pa.), 3-2
220: Austin Pfarr (Marysville) dec. Alex Woicehovich (Nordonia), 4-3
285: No. 1 Nick Nevills (Clovis, Calif.) maj. dec. Logan Sharp (West Branch), 12-3


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