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After Ashland Crestview withdrew a day before the wrestling tri-meet scheduled for Dec. 22 at Orrville's Bob Knight Gym, it turned into a dual match between just the Red Riders and Waynedale Golden Bears.
That was just fine with both teams and their fans as Waynedale won a 48-21 match in which grapplers from both teams competed well.
The dual was a throwback to the type of head-to-head matchup that was common-place several decades ago, but has practically become extinct in today's era of tri-meets, quads and big invitationals.
"I enjoyed it having one match and all eyes on whoever was wrestling," said Waynedale junior returning state qualifier Logan Stanley, who used a cradle to pin Lucas Lehtomaki in 58 seconds in their 182-pound bout. "It was definitely a fun thing to do. We hadn't done that yet in my high school career."
Imagine that, Staney won his 100th career match earlier this season and he'd never wrestled a varsity match in which it was the only one going on in the gym that day.
A rule change that counts a head-to-head dual as just a half-point instead of the same one point as a tri-meet could encourage more teams to hold duals.
"In the world of wrestling, if we can ever get back to dual meets like this it will build the sport," Waynedale coach Louie Stanley said. "I was one of the people who 10 years ago agreed to the half-point system for having a (head-to-head) dual because no one will ever do that if it counts as one point and a tri-meet is also one point.
"You feel like 'I've gotta keep up with the Joneses' and get two matches instead of one. Ideally, you'd do youth, junior high, JV and then varsity right in a row. Everyone could watch all the Waynedale and Orrville kids on a night like this."
Wayndale wasn't enjoying the action early as Orrville actually jumped out to an 18-0 lead with three quick pins from Kollen Butler (113), Matt Mendiola (120) and Kyle Corfman (126) in a dual that started at 113.
The Bears stormed back with eight straight wins, though. Junior Evan Hostetler stopped the skid when he won a hard-fought 12-7 decision over Austin Warrick at 132.
Sophomores Jarrett Varner (138, 5-4 dec. over Wyatt Zimmerman) and Max Lemon (145, pinned Alex Eddy) and freshman Nathan Shaw (152, 8-2 dec. over Graisen Barnhill) cut the deficit to 18-15.
"They had us on the ropes a little bit and I asked a lot of out of two sophomores and a freshman to keep them from maybe icing the dual meet," Coach Stanley said. "Cloverleaf was beating us early, too, and those guys came through against them as well."
Orrville caught a tough break when it's 160-pounder narrowly missed making weight, so Waynedale sent David Satterfield out to accept a forfeit and was able to then move returning state-placer Kyle Ice and Logan Stanley up a class.
Ice won a physical 13-5 decision over Cameron VanBrunt at 170, followed by Stanley's pin and then a fall from Ty Straits at 195.
In arguably the best matchup of the night, Orrville's crowd finally got reason to cheer again when 220-pounder Sam Auble defeated returning district qualifier Ben Farrar 7-2 in a battle of talented juniors.
Auble, who used a late takedown to put the exclamation point on the win, improved to 4-1. A starter in football since his freshman year, Auble looked like a possible district qualifier last season until suffering a season-ending hamstring injury at the West Holmes Invitational.
"It feels great to get that win and I'm glad I'm back in wrestling shape this year," Auble said. "Last year I felt like I was getting better and better and then I went out with a leg injury. I'm just glad to be healthy again and I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the season."
Waynedale closed out the win with a pin from heavyweight Tyson Miller and a forfeit at 106 that Seth Unkefer accepted.
Orrville show how far it's come by notching four wins and being completive in most other matches.
"We were hoping for a tri-meet, but when Crestview pulled out (for medical reasons) we knew it would just be us against Waynedale," Orrville coach Brent Steiner said. "Our kids know Waynedale and the aura around that program, but our kids just want to fight.
"In the past we haven't shown a lot of fight against (Waynedale), but I thought our kids showed that tonight and were very competitive. There were some tight matches and it wasn't until that forfeit at 160 that they actually took the lead. We have a lot of things we still have to get better at, but we'll take the kind of fight our kids had tonight."
Steiner was excited to see the continued improvement from Auble, who has a rare winter combo of being a varsity wrestler and swimmer.
"A coach asked me last week 'Where did Auble come from?'" Steiner said. "He's been good, but he just got hurt last year.
"There are some things that we've highlighted for him to work on that he did well tonight and there are some things he still needs to improve on. I was real excited about his takedown to close the match."
Coach Stanley commended the effort from the Riders, whose competitiveness helped make it an entertaining dual for fans to watch.
"Brent's done a very good job and he has a good, young team," Stanley said. "I'm a big believer in alumni coaching at their schools. Brent was a very good wrestler and he has things going in the right direction. That's one of the best teams they've put on the mats in several years -- they're pretty tough."
The old-school dual will soon seem like a distant memory for Waynedale.