by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Stow -- If one looked at the results from the Len Pariano Tournament, one might think the Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling team would have the advantage over Hudson.
After all, the Bulldogs won the tournament at Midpark Jan. 12 with 203.5 points, nearly 60 points ahead of the runner-up Explorers.
What's more, Stow came home with five individual champions from the Pariano, while Hudson had none. The Bulldogs saw 103-pounder Kyle Jenkins, 160-pounder Hunter Massey, 170-pounder Nick Planicka, 182-pounder Joe Kollar and 195-pounder Gage Finegan all win titles at Midpark.
However, there is one major caveat to this analysis: Hudson took a squad of mostly underclassmen to the Pariano Tournament, while Stow took its full squad.
It was full squad vs. full squad when the two teams met for a Northeast Ohio Conference River Division meet Jan. 17 at Stow.
By night's end, there was no doubt who the superior team was.
The Explorers came within two matches of shutting out Stow as Hudson scored a 57-9 win over the Bulldogs.
The Explorers improved to 9-5 overall and 3-1 in the River Division. Stow dropped to 1-4 overall and in the division.
Hudson head coach Joe Caniglia said his team did what it needed to do.
"We got two pins and got bonus points in three other matches," Caniglia said. "I was pleased with how we wrestled. [Stow is] young right now. They've got a good coaching staff to develop them."
Meanwhile, Bulldogs head coach Randy Jenkins said the loss was "ugly."
"I think we had a couple of guys that were cutting weight and we weren't mentally ready to wrestle," Jenkins said. "I think a lot of guys bypassed Hudson and were looking forward to Firestone and the Dies Tournament.
"When you forfeit four matches, that's 24 points, which kind of hands it to them on a platter."
Indeed, Stow had given up forfeit matches at 113, 120 and 220 and heavyweight, which gave easy wins to Hudson's Ben Boysel, Billy Buehl, Matt Slater and Dylan Carlson, respectively.
How dominant was Hudson? The Explorers didn't give up a takedown until the 11th match of the night.
That match saw Stow freshman Kyle Jenkins dominate Hudson's Christian Owsley on his way to a pin in 2 minutes, 13 seconds.
The Bulldogs' only other win on the night came in a very tight match at 195 pounds. Moving down from 220, Stow's Chris Wright earned an escape in the second period and then rode out Gabe Vehar to score a 1-0 win.
Beyond that, it was all Explorers.
The match opened with a pair of major-decision victories for Hudson. Nathan Gregory scored a 17-5 win over Stow's Conner Crosier at 132 pounds, while 138-pounder Brandon White scored a 17-3 win over Stow's Logan Emery.
Things were a bit tighter at 145, but Hudson's Braden Wright scored a 6-0 win over Jacob Seal.
Hudson 152-pounder Sam Semenczuk then pinned Kyle Collins in 3:25.
The match at 160 figured to be a good one between Stow's Hunter Massey and the Explorers' Michael Coleman, but Coleman shut down Massey's offense and scored a 10-2 win.
Then Hudson 170-pounder Ben Krizman did the same to Stow's Nick Planicka as he won 9-4.
The Bulldogs hoped the run would stop when senior Gage Finegan took to the mat. Finegan wrestled at 182 pounds for the first time this season. However, Finegan appeared tentative in his match with Danny Tiley and Tiley pulled out a 3-2 win.
After the wins by Wright and Jenkins and the forfeits, the final match of the night proved to be the most spirited.
At 126 pounds, Stow's Nathan Allen had Chris Motter on his back early on.
However, Motter rallied and put Allen on his back several times before using a headlock and armbar to stick Allen in 5:25.
The Explorers are scheduled to open their Division I state dual meet tournament at North Royalton Jan. 23. Hudson is set to face Parma Heights Normandy at 6 p.m. with the winner facing North Royalton at 7:30 p.m.
Hudson is scheduled to face Brunswick in its final River Division matchup at home Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.