BELLEVUE - It was a little bit of change, but also a bit of the same old song and dance Saturday at the Northern Ohio League wrestling championships. Norwalk's streak of three straight NOL titles was snapped by Sandusky, but six wrestlers repeated as individual champions, with three of those being Columbian Tornadoes.
Roman Williams (126 pounds), Derik Kopp (132) and Seth Williams (152) all rose to the top of the podium, just like they did a year ago. For Kopp and Seth Williams, it was their third-straight trip to the top.
Seth Williams recorded five pins during the round-robin format and Kopp four. In fact, Kopp's first matches didn't even total up to a round's worth of time. Kopp pinned his first three opponents in 44 seconds, 52 seconds and 23 seconds.
His fourth match nearly lasted a full round as Kopp scored his fourth pin in 1:55.
Things weren't so easy in his final match. Kopp faced Bellevue's Ryan Veliz and had to rally for a 7-6 decision. Kopp trailed 5-3 and needed an injury timeout for a dislocated shoulder.
"I don't really know what happened," he said. "I reached across his body and he pinched my arm weird and just pulled it right out of the socket."
He was able to rally, scoring a takedown in the final minute to get the win.
"I think I wrestled well. In the finals match I was getting a little nervous cause he got that first takedown riding me out of bounds," Kopp said. "It kinda threw me off my game. Like I said at the beginning of the year, I like giving the crowd something to watch, something exciting."
For Seth Williams, even for a two-time state qualifier, a five-pin day is a rare event.
"That rarely ever happens," he said. "We go into tough tournaments and I'm not really a pinner, I'm really a takedowner."
He was a pinner Saturday.
And his times just kept getting faster and faster. In the morning session's first two rounds, Williams recorded pins in 1:42 and 1:12. In the next two rounds, the pins came in 36 and 38 seconds, respectively. And to close things out, a 27-second pin of Sandusky's Taevin Bellamy.
Williams said he's nearing the point of wrestling at the level he feel he needs to in order to make another trip to Columbus.
"I feel like I'm getting to that point," he said. "I just got to work on my conditioning."
Roman Williams has a goal to be a four-time NOL champ. The sophomore is now halfway there. Williams opened up with a bye and a pinfall before wrestling what turned out to be the championship match for his weight class.
Williams was able to squeak out a 2-1 decision over Norwalk's Collin Bickerstaff. Williams said after picking up a lead he was cautious, remembering almost losing to the same kid last year.
"I was thinking the whole time when I got the takedown, 'if I can just ride this out I should be good,'" he said. "I was a little scared of him getting a cradle, cause last year he almost beat me with a cradle so I was being safe about that."
Columbian coach Chad Long was pleased with his team's overall performance noting several other placers along with his winners.
"It was a good performance to get some kids to place," Long said. "I thought Kyler Lange wrestled great at 113, ended up getting third place, which is nice. I thought Seth and Kopp would take care of business like they normally do. They all pinned all the way through except Kopp at the end, against the Veliz kid. And it's hard wrestling against a kid that always comes over and works out with us. It's kinda hard to wrestle one of your friends, but it was a great match at the end there.
"I thought Tyler Mesnard wrestled very well. He went up a weight class, sacrificed for the team and he finished second."
Mesnard secured a second at 170 pounds. Lange (113), Blaze Hoffman (182) and Adam Oakleaf (195) all had thirds.
Some would argue that Columbian actually had a fourth first place finisher in 138-pounder Mason Correll. In the final round, Correll matched up with Shelby's Hunter Schaub, each 4-0 on the day up to that point.
After trailing 5-0 in the second period, Correll battled back, taking a 7-6 lead in the final minute. It appeared as if the clock hit all zeros with Correll in the lead. However, no signal was given to stop the match and competition continued and Schaub was credited with a 2-point takedown and the win.
Long and the Columbian coaches argued the match should' have been over, but after consulting with the scoring table, the call stood.
"Couple things happen, we always preach to our kid you wrestle 'til the whistle's blown and don't stop wrestling," Long said. "He stopped, looking at the clock he saw zero and basically he got screwed for the most part out of that. Anybody who was watching the match would've said the same thing: I can't blame it on the official, it'd be the people working the table in that situation."
To even get to a final match, Correll overcame what at first looked to be a severe knee in injury in a match against Norwalk's Jacob Kluding. Correll's leg got caught underneath both wrestlers and needed an injury timeout. Correll came back only to have the match stopped again a few seconds due to his leg.
Correll again came back, this time finishing out the match with an 8-2 victory. He followed it up beating Gene Porter of Sandusky, his fourth win of the day.
"He got cranked on," Long said. "He was able to hobble through, beat some good kids along the way. He was able to finish that match, (beat) the Norwalk kid and then followed it up."
Sandusky had three first place winners of its own in Tra Jones (106), Kyle Palma (170) and Isaiah Margheim (195) to beat out Norwalk 332-311 for the team crown. Columbian's 259 points earned third with Shelby (204), Bellevue (199) and Willard (129) rounding out the standings.