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by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
After banging heads with some of the state's best last week at the Medina Invitational, the Hudson wrestling team faced a familiar foe when Cuyahoga Falls visited Ray "Buck Hyser" Gymnasium Jan. 3.
Both teams knew this Northeast Ohio Conference River Division match would determine which team would have a shot at the title come February.
The Explorers made a statement that they should be taken seriously as contenders.
Hudson rolled past Falls 37-15, winning 10-of-14 matches in the win.
The Explorers improved to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the River Division while Falls dropped to 11-7 overall and 2-2 in the division.
Hudson head coach Joe Caniglia was all smiles after the win.
"We had a great week of practice," Caniglia said. "I think the experience at Medina taught us that this is just wrestling and we can beat anybody.
"They just kept aggressive and got the job done."
Despite the loss, Falls coach Craig Wilson wasn't too disappointed.
"I thought we did a good job with who we had in there," Wilson said.
The match began at heavyweight with a very tight bout between Hudson's Peter Mougey and Falls' Sampson Demand. Demand nearly rode out Mougey twice, but an escape in the ultimate tie-breaker round gave Mougey a 3-2 win.
The 106-pound match also went to overtime, where Falls Shaun Hurr scored a last-second reversal to win 7-5 over Hadley Vadyak.
However, Hudson effectively won the match by winning the next seven bouts.
Explorers' 113-pounder Erik Johnson (10-6), 120-pounder Billy Buehl (6-3), 132-pounder Nathan Gregory (11-6), 138-pounder Brandon White (6-0), 145-pounder Braden Wright (7-6) all scored decision victories.
Gregory's win over Falls' Aaron Oser marked the 100th victory of his career.
Hudson 126-pounder Chris Motter scored a 9-1 major decision over Falls' Cole Oldham and 152-pounder Sam Semenczuk capped the run by pinning Steve Cagaric in 59 seconds.
Trailing 29-3 at that point, the highlight of the night for Falls was 160-pounder Austyn Wilson pulling an upset win over Explorers' star Michael Coleman.
Wilson threw Coleman onto his back in the third period and scored a 5-2 win.
"Austyn just kept coming forward and we got caught." Caniglia said.
Falls' 170-pounder Bucky Hendershot then scored a 6-3 win over Hudson's Ben Krizman, but the Explorers clinched the match when 182-pounder Danny Tiley scored a 7-3 win over Drew Paster.
Falls had to know it wasn't its night when 195-pounder Joe Repasky was thrown and pinned by Hudson's Zach Vehar.
"Joey had been sick and hadn't practiced all week," Wilson said.
"I don't think we've ever beaten Repasky before," Caniglia said. "We were up for it and it worked out for it."
Falls 220-pounder Rudy Ware took out his team's frustrations on Matt Slater. Ware used a move called Wilson called a "Mat Cat" -- a double underhook body throw -- to pin Slater in 57 seconds.
The Explorers were set to host the Hudson Duals Jan. 5. Results were not available at press time.
Hudson is scheduled to entertain River Division rival Medina Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.
The Explorers are set to compete at the Len Pariano Tournament Jan. 12 at Midpark High School in Middleburg Heights. Wrestling is set to begin at 10 a.m.