by Michael Leonard
Hudson head wrestling coach Joe Caniglia was a bit lukewarm after his team's performance at the 48th annual Hudson Holiday Tournament, which took place Dec. 20 and 21.
The Explorers finished fourth out of 15 teams with 136 points.
Parma repeated as team champion with 198 points and Aurora (178) and Maple Heights (152.5) placed second and third, respectively.
What's more, Hudson finished with 12 wrestlers on the podium, through four of those wrestlers did not count on the team score as the Explorers had more than one wrestler in the weight class.
So what's the problem? As good as Hudson finished, it could have been so much better.
"I was a bit discouraged by our semifinal round," Caniglia said. "We had nine wrestlers in the semifinals and only two won.
"The big thing with this tournament is it lets us see where we are. We know we have some work to do still."
The weekend started well for the Explorers as Hudson won its opening Northeast Ohio Conference River Division dual meet.
North Royalton paid a visit to Hudson Dec. 19, but the Explorers cruised to a 42-20 win over the Bears.
Hudson improved to 4-2 in dual meets and 1-0 in the River Division.
In the tournament, the Explorers were led by senior Michael Coleman, who reached the final for the second straight year at 160 pounds.
Given the top seed, Coleman cruised to the final, pinning Parma's Brandon Mabin in 1 minute and Stow-Munroe Falls' Hunter Massey in 1:38.
However, the finals proved to be a case of deja vu for Coleman as he ran into Warren Howland's David-Brian Whisler, whom he lost to 5-2 in last year's 160-pound final.
There would be no revenge for Coleman as he lost 6-4 to Whisler this time. Whisler was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Wrestler.
"It gives him a wake-up call," Caniglia said. "It was key for Michael last year that he learned from that loss and went on to do what he did. I think he should be able to do it again."
Hudson had one other wrestler in the finals in sophomore 132-pounder Chris Motter.
Motter opened with a pin in 3:03 over Maple Heights' Marvin Clements, followed by an 18-6 win over Norton's Nick Farmer and a tight 3-2 decision over Aurora's Cole Gavin.
In the final, however, Motter was game but overmatched by Parma's Tyler Workman. He lost 7-1.
"Motter placing second -- I was pleased with that," Caniglia said. "He always wrestles the full match."
While the Explorers may not have excelled in the semifinals, Hudson bounced back well as six Explorers earned third-place finishes.
Hudson had 113-pounder Christian Owsley, 126-pounder Ben Boysel, 132-pounder Nathan Szoch, 138-pounder Bill Buehl, 182-pounder Ben Krizman and 195-pounder Michael Delsanter all place third.
The Explorers also got a fourth-place finish from 145-pounder Collin Hall and sixth-place finishes from 145-pounder Braden Wright, 170-pounder Sandor Chunyo and 195-pounder Gabe Vehar.
Against North Royalton, Hudson got pins from Boysel (126), Zach Lewis (170) and Krizman (182).
Up next for Hudson could be its biggest challenge of the regular season as the Explorers are scheduled to participate in the Medina Invitational Tournament Dec. 27 and 28. The competition is set to begin at 10 a.m. both days.