Sherrill Notebook: WIN’s No. 1’s go 4-2 at Dapper Dan Classic

Updated: April 3, 2013

By Rob Sherrill

You couldn’t ask for more drama at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic last weekend in Pittsburgh.

In a “Main Event” dual that went down to the last match, four-time Oklahoma champion Zach Beard of Tuttle scored the ultimate road win in the final bout at 170. Beard bested three-time Pennsylvania champion Cody Wiercioch of local powerhouse Canonsburg Canon-McMillan, 7-4 , in front of Wiercioch’s home fans to preserve a 22-18 victory for the U.S. team over their Pennsylvania hosts.

It was one of two bouts in the 13-match event matching wrestlers ranked No. 1 and No. 2 by WIN, and in this case, No. 2 prevailed over No. 1.

The other such match, at 126, carries an asterisk. In early January, Joey Dance of Christiansburg (Va.) was ranked No. 1 after winning the Walsh Ironman and the Beast of the East at that weight. He eventually moved up two weight classes, to 138, to win his fourth Group AA state title, and currently holds the No. 8 ranking there. Cutting weight for the first time in a few months, Dance squeaked out a 2-1 win over Connor Schram of Canon-McMillan in the overtime tie-breaker.

Ben Whitford (145) of St. Johns (Mich.), Nathan Tomasello (120) of Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, Domenic Abounader (182) of Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward and Zain Retherford (138) of Benton (Pa.) were the No. 1’s who won their matches (the weight classes were scrambled for the dual). At 152, No. 7 Austin Matthews of Greenville H.A. Reynolds prevailed over No. 1 Jake Short of Inver Grove Heights (MInn.) Simley, 8-2.

For the most part, though, WIN’s rankings held up. The higher-ranked wrestler won eight of the 13 bouts. Most of the matches, however, were nail-biters. Five of the 13 were decided by a single point, and three others went to overtime. The only bout resulting in a bonus point came at 160, where three-time California champion Israel Martinez of Lemoor, dominated two-time Pennsylvania champion Cody Law of Sidman Forest Hills in a 20-8 major decision.

The preliminary match, won by the western Pennsylvania WPIAL All-Stars over Virginia, 28-19, also verified WIN rankings chalk. All six ranked wrestlers, four from Virginia and two from the WPIAL, won their matches. They included three Virginia wrestlers who were state champions at 132 this season.

Dennis Gustafson (No. 9) of Woodbridge Forest Park (AAA) and four-time champion J.R. Wert (No. 15) of Christiansburg (AA) won by decision and Andrew Atkinson (No. 14) of Lynchburg Liberty Christian Academy (independent schools) was voted the Outstanding Wrestler for the Virginia squad after scoring one of just two pins in the match. Wert competed in the dual at 120, Atkinson at 138.