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Massillon Perry wrestling aims for first state title

Perry is the favorite to win the state wrestling championships
Perry is the favorite to win the state wrestling championships

Wrestling in the Cleveland area has always been about one team and one team only: St. Edward. The Eagles win the team title every year come March, and the only race is for second place. There are always other good teams, but none that can really press St. Ed's.

Say hello to Massillon Perry

The Panthers have been one of the teams that have been chasing St. Ed's all these years. Matter of fact, they have finished second nine of the last eleven years, so the program has proven how strong they really are. This year, they may have their strongest team yet, with a handful of state placers returning. Along with St. Ed's having to replace virtually their entire starting lineup, it looked like Perry may have a shot of dethroning St. Ed's as the king of Cleveland area wrestling. The first shot the Panthers would have to stake their claim would be the State Dual Wrestling Championships two weeks ago.


That is the only way to explain the performance of the Massillon Perry wrestling team at the State Dual Wrestling Championships.

No one could have seen this coming, the pure domination of two of the best wrestling programs in the Cleveland area. Massillon Perry sent a message that they are the team to beat when the state wrestling tournament is settled in March.

After cruising through their district, and defeating Delaware Hayes 54-9 in the quarterfinal round, Perry found themselves in a head-to-head battle in the semis with St. Ed's. The Eagles would be taking on Perry without the services of E.J. Bentley, a returning state placer.

It would have made no difference

After the first ten matches, Perry led 45-3. Statement made. The final score would be 48-15, giving St. Ed's one of their worst losses ever. The job was not done however. The Panthers had to put that win behind them and get ready for the final against another up and coming wrestling power in Brecksville.

Brecksville is no joke either. They returned seven state qualifiers, and had been rolling through the bracket, even taking care of highly regarded Cincinnati Moeller in the semi-finals 45-21. Brecksville showed they were a definite threat to win a state title.

If Perry made a statement in the semi-finals against St. Ed's, they made a BOMBASTIC SHOUT in the final

Perry wrestlers would beat four of the seven Brecksville state placers, pick up bonus points in five other matches, and roll to a very impressive 48-9 dual win. The Panthers would have their Dual State Championship.

So, what makes Perry so good?

They are OUTSTANDING at the lower weights. Tommy Genetin (106) Jose Rodriguez (113), Jake Newhouse (120) and David Bavery (126) all should go to at least the semis if not the finals when the state tournament comes around. Rodriguez was a state champion last season at 106, and Bavery is a three time state placer, winning the title in 2012. Rodriguez beat Newhouse in the NHSCA Nationals last spring when they were both at the same weight. Jason Spencer at 132 pounds has a good shot of at least placing. The 132 pound weight class may be one of the toughest in the state. He beat state qualifier Austin Hiles of Brecksville in the team final

That isn't to say that Perry slacks off in the middle weights. Casey Sparkman (152) and Tony Dailey (160) were both NHSCA national champions in April, and both proved dominant in the three matches against Hayes, St. Ed's, and Brecksville a few weeks ago. A name to remember may be 170 pounder Isaac Bast. Bast won by majority decision against St. Ed's and beat state placer Troy Lang of Brecksville in the state team final.

Massillon Perry has too many good wrestlers not to run away with the state title in March. The reign of St. Ed's is coming to an end.

The race will still be for second place, but this time Perry will be on top watching them fight it out

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