Nick Lawrence makes a move on Sam White of Massilon Perry in
the 125 championship match last Saturday. Lawrence lost a tough
3-2 decision and was state runner-up for the second year in
a row. (West Life photos by Daron Boyce)
Lawrence repeats as state runner-up
By Jim Horvath
Published March 11, 2009
the regular season, senior Sam White of Massilon Perry, a former
state champion, was ranked No. 1 in Ohio at 125. Westlake junior
Nick Lawrence, a state runner-up at 119 last season, was ranked
The two finally met on the mats last Saturday in Columbus
for the right to be state champion.
For the second year in a row, Lawrence fell one point
short as White got a takedown in the third period and came away
with a narrow 3-2 decision at the 2009 Ohio High School State Wrestling
Tournament at Value City Arena.
“It was a great match between two great wrestlers,”
said Westlake head coach Mike Antonyzyn last Sunday. “It was close
all the way, and Nick was so close to pulling it out.
“The referee called both of them for stalling, but
that was atrocious,” said Antonyzyn. “There was a lot of good hand
fighting going on, and both of them were looking for their chance
to take a shot. White took his shot, and it was so close to being
out of bounds. Another foot, and it wouldn’t have counted.
“Both of them wrestled tough. Nick getting beat by
two seniors two times in a row, both matches by one point…he has
nothing to be ashamed of. He told the media afterward he was ready
to work twice as hard for his senior season. That’s the type of
kid he is,” he added.
Of the other four Westshore-area wrestlers who made
it to Columbus, only Zach Laird of Olmsted Falls made it to the
awards stand. The Bulldogs’ senior heavyweight battled back from
an opening night loss to finish sixth.
Westlake senior Ryan Smugala went 1-2 on the weekend
at 189, while teammate Conner Dempsey, a junior, went two and out.
Falls junior Chaz McGrain also went 0-2 at 140.
Lawrence finished his junior season a sparkling 45-2.
He opened up his title run with a pin in 1:25 against senior Tyler
Rich of Hilliard Davidson. Rich was 35-9 going into that match,
but fell victim to Lawrence’s first-ever state tournament pin.
On Friday, Lawrence continued to dominate with an
18-5 major decision over Tyler Weiskittel (37-3) of Cincinnati Oak
Hills. Later that day, he withstood a strong challenge from Marysville’s
Jake McCombs, who entered the semifinals with a 50-1 record. McCombs
went on to finish third after a 5-3 loss to Lawrence.
In the finals, Lawrence and White exchanged escape
points before White got the deciding takedown in the third period.
“That’s the first time Nick has allowed a point to
be scored on him, other than kick-outs, since the Hudson tournament,”
said Antonyzyn. “Nobody has been able to score a reversal, a near
fall or anything else. That’s pretty impressive, if you ask me.
“If he had gotten pinned or anything else like that,
it would be a different story. Last year as a sophomore, he won
his state matches by one point. This year, he dominated. He wrestled
super and finished one point away from a state championship against
one of the top kids in the country.
“That’s pretty cool,” he added.
Falls heavyweight Zach Laird had to fight his way back through
the consolation rounds last Saturday in Columbus to finish sixth
overall. (West Life photo by Daron Boyce)
Laird had to battle back after getting pinned by Wadsworth’s
Ben Buzzelli on Thursday night. He came back with a pin in 2:53
against Jordan Beverly of West Carrolton, then scored a 10-5 decision
over Paul Caldwell of Marion-Franklin.
After a narrow 2-1 win over Dennis Cox of Bowling
Green, Laird got a rematch with Buzzelli. The Wadsworth junior escaped
with a 1-0 win and wound up finishing fourth overall. Laird closed
out his weekend with a 3-1 loss to Sean Brooks of Clayton Northmont
in the heavyweight fifth-place match. He finished his season at
Smugala lost his opening night match, 4-3 in overtime,
to Wadsworth’s Caleb Busson. He regrouped to win a 6-2 overtime
battle with Mason’s Andy Porter, but was eliminated by Nick Miller
of Centerville with a pin in 1:32. He closed out his senior year
Dempsey went into the state championships with a 27-5
record at 135. He dropped a 7-3 decision to Mason’s Robert Shepherd,
then lost his first consolation match, 3-2, to Massilon Perry’s
Mike Hillock. Hillock moved on to finish fifth.
McGrain lost his 140 opener to Cincinnati Glen Este’s
Tommy Fehring by a 3-0 decision. Jerrell Hodge of Bedford scored
a 6-3 decision over McGrain in the consolation round and advanced
to finish eighth. McGrain closed out his junior year at 34-13.