Cleveland flexed its wrestling muscles in a big way Thursday night in the opening match of the season.
The Blue Raiders got pins in 21 of their 25 contested matches, outscored Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) and Signal Mountain by a combined total of 161-0, got technical falls from Triston Blansit at 106 pounds and Oleg Stukanov at 195 and sent a clear message to all comers that Cleveland is ready to be the big boy on the block.
“It was a pretty good performance for our first match of the year,” said Cleveland coach Jake Yost in what could already be the understatement of the season. “I was pleased. We wrestled hard. We’ve got some areas to work on technically. There were obviously plenty of mistakes to fix, but for a November match I feel like we are in a good spot.”
In the opening match of the night, Signal Mountain defeated Northwest Whitfield 44-36.
The Blue Raiders, who boast five No. 1 ranked wrestlers, started with a forfeit from Northwest Whitfield at 220, a 6-1 decision at 285 and a technical fall win at 106 before reeling off 10 straight pins against the Bruins.
Oleg Stukanov finished off the first round of the tri-match with a tech fall win at 195 to give Cleveland a 79-0 victory.
Koran Kennedy (285) opened the win over Signal Mountain with a pin. Tristan Blansit followed with a pin at 106 and Chris DeBein won by forfeit.
From there, the Raiders popped off seven consecutive pins for a 60-0 lead.
At 170 pounds, first-time starter Sean Potts stepped in the circle for what proved to be the battle of the night against the Eagles’ Cale Shelton.
The first period ended with a 2-1 Signal Mountain lead. A late escape by Potts tied the score 2-2 after two periods. Potts earned a 3-point near fall with just over a minute left in the match and fought his way to a 5-2 win.
“We had a huge, huge win tonight against Signal Mountain at 170 pounds,” said Yost of the match. “We’ve got a guy who won the starting spot. He’s a senior and never started before, not in middle school, not in high school. I don’t know that he had even wrestled a varsity match before. He came out and beat a really tough kid from Signal Mountain. We were real pleased with that match.”
Stukanov followed up the battle at 170 pounds and closed out the win for Cleveland with his second pin of the night.
“We’ve got a tough duals on Saturday. We’ve got to get a little bit better in our positions and some techniques and work toward a real, real tough dual tournament next weekend,” said Yost. “We’ve got the Cleveland Duals which has six state championship teams. It’s a solid tournament and I’m sure we’ll be tested very well next weekend.”
CLEVELAND 79, NORTHWEST WHITFIELD 0
(Match Started at 220)
106 — Tristan Blansit (C) tech. fall Blake Hays; 113 — Chris DeBein (C) pinned Henson Gibbs, 1:48; 120 — Austin Stevison (C) pinned Justin Palmer 2:58; 126 — Taylor Bishop (C) pinned Dylan Ranard 2:59; 132 — Victor Barbosa (C) pinned Braden Howard, 3:24; 138 — Haden Hamilton (C) pinned Jonathan Burgman, 1:15; 145 — Aaron Oliver (C) pinned Jacob Saucida, 1:18; 152 — Josh Hamilton (C) pinned Noah Smith, 1:39; 160 — Aaron Lopez (C) pinned Garrett Gray, 1:07; 170 — Sean Potts (C) pinned Will Rittenhouse, 1:42; 182 — Ethan West (C) pinned Rodrigo Martinez, 1:42; 195 — Oleg Stukanov (C) tech. fall A.J. Orozo; 220 — John Gaither (CO) win by forfeit; 285 — Koran Kennedy (C) dec. Victor Lopez, 6-1.
CLEVELAND 81, SIGNAL MOUNTAIN 0
(Match started at 285)
106 — Tristan Blansit (C) pinned Hunt Drennon, 1:03; 113 — Chris DeBein (C) pinned win by forfeit; 120 — Austin Stevison (C) pinned Riggs Glassock, 1:40; 126 — Taylor Bishop (C) pinned Jacob Newman, 1:44; 132 — Victor Barbosa (C) pinned Jessie Dawson, 3:15; 138 — Haden Hamilton (C) pinned Will Henley, 2:53; 145 — Aaron Oliver (C) pinned Eyrik Allen, 2:53; 152 — Josh Hamilton (C) pinned Jack Chandler, 1:51; 160 — Aaron Lopez (C) pinned Kyler Kayener, 1:07; 170 — Sean Potts (C) dec. Cale Shelton, 5-2; 182 — Ethan West (C) pinned Harrison Hall, 1:58; 195 — Oleg Stukanov (C) pinned Micah Pressley, 1:58; 220 — John Gaither (C) win by forfeit; 285 — Koran Kennedy (C) pinned Hunter Phillips, 1:36.