Clay wrestlers continue league dominance, by a nose

J. Patrick Eaken

Clay wrestling has now won nine of 10 Three Rivers Athletic Conference championships, but this year they had to hold on for dear life at the end of the meet.

The Eagles scored 175 points to defeat second place Whitmer (174½), but the Panthers had a chance to win it outright in the final weight classes.

“It came right down to the wire, too — half a point,” Clay coach Ralph Cubberly said. 

“At the end, the last three or four weight classes, we had one guy wrestling (for first place), Ty Cobb at 220, and Whitmer had 182, 195, 220 and heavyweight and they all lost. If they had won one of those we would have lost.

“They have about eight seniors on that team at Whitmer and we have one, so we knew it was going to be tough. They have the bigger weight classes, and we are strong in the smaller weight classes.”

St. John’s (137) was third, followed by Findlay (122½), Fremont Ross (80), Central Catholic (49), Lima Senior (31) and St. Francis (13).

Clay had five individual champions and Whitmer had three. Clay champions were Candio DeLuna (106), Micah Medina (113), Dominico Migliori (160), Tyler Weseman (170) and Cobb. 

Medina, Weseman and Cobb successfully defended titles won last year. Whitmer 145-pound senior Jack Haskin (25-0) was named this year’s TRAC Wrestler of the Year.

In his championship match, DeLuna (12-3) pinned Whitmer sophomore Jayden Stone (9-15) in 4:34.

Cobb won a 5-1 decision over Whitmer senior Cameron Piercy (16-7) in this year’s league title bout. Cobb, a junior, is undefeated at 28-0 after finishing 39-10 last year and qualifying for the Division I state meet.

“He has matured a little bit more and he’s become an upperclassman, so that is the thing,” Cubberly said. “Your freshman and sophomore year you are not really too sure what you are supposed to do but when you are a junior or senior you start thinking what you are going to do. You kind of fall into that mode, and now he is a junior so his mental game has improved a lot — his confidence level.”

Migliori (21-2 this year) pinned Whitmer senior Antwain Williams (14-12) in 1:38. The Clay junior has shown an uncanny ability to wear his opponents out. 

“He is just doing his thing. He is really good offensively in wrestling and people have a hard time keeping up with him. He is just a ‘goer,’” Cubberly said.

Medina, who was 38-13 last year, won a district championship and qualified for state. In this year’s championship, Medina pinned St. John’s freshman Mateo Mack (16-6) in 4:53.

Plus, Cubberly says Weseman, a state qualifier who finished 40-13 last year as a sophomore, is “wrestling lights out.” Weseman (20-3) pinned St. John’s sophomore Darrell Cross III (11-11) in 17 seconds.

The only senior on Clay’s team, Mike Daley (21-2), finished second at 132 at this year’s league meet and is a two-time state qualifier, finishing 38-13 last year.

Other Clay runner-up finishers were juniors Nick Rodriguez (18-3, 120) and Isaac Sevra (13-8, 152). Junior Cole Watson (14-7, 126), sophomore Nathan Tobinski (5-5, 145) and junior Logan Werner (17-7, 195) placed fourth.

The issue for Clay has been finding practice time. They only began regular practices late last month, and since then have wrestled in dual meets nearly non-stop.

“We just try to get our kids opportunities to get better in the summer and the offseason, and hopefully it pays dividends during the season, and it seems to do it, even though last year we didn’t because of COVID,” Cubberly said.

“We could not do anything, and this year has been so hard on us with COVID — the Lucas County (Health Department) thing we got shut down for six weeks, and then we came back at Clay for one week and had one match, and at Clay High School we got shut down for two more weeks — longer than everybody. 

“We did not really start practice until January 26, and we had one practice and then we wrestled a tri-meet on the 27th through the (Feb.) 13th, a 17-day period, we wrestled in eight tournaments and dual meets. My kids are wrestling without practicing. It is in every sport.”

Plus, the wrestling community is frowning on individual tournaments, which leaves only dual meets or dual meet tournaments.

“That is all you can do. They will not allow anything else,” Cubberly said. “It depends on where you are competing at, but we have not gone anywhere except a dual meet tournament where you are wrestling every team in a dual and we have been in those. So, we have been in a lot of wrestling and a lot less practice.”

So, what did the Clay wrestlers do during their break? They found other ways to work out, says Cubberly.

“We had Zoom minutes and stuff like that where we talked for 10 minutes, and we had stuff that we put out for our kids to be doing over the break,” Cubberly said. “Our kids are pretty dedicated in our sport, so the ones that it’s important to them are doing that stuff.”

Clay also won the league junior varsity meet, scoring 136 points to defeat Findlay (88), Central (77), Ross (38), St. Francis (37), St. John’s (35), Whitmer (33) and Lima Senior (0).




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