By Ben Robinson
COLUMBUS — Versailles assistant wrestling coach Jerry Bey has a vertical that would rival any future NFL player at the NFL combine – which was on display Saturday morning at the D-III state wrestling tounament at the Schottenstein Center as Bey leaped high in the air to celebrate his son’s (Jerome Bey) 6-4 win over Wil Morrow of Hamler Patrick Henry.
The win ensures Jerome — known as Bo — a spot on the podium at 182 pounds.
He wrestled late Friday and early Saturday to determine what place he would be wrestling for.
“He just grinded,” said Jerry with a tear running down his face. “We thought we were going to get the first one (the match with Tanner May of Carey), but he came back and beat a kid who defeated us at districts. I’m so proud of him.”
After earning a win on Thursday to start off the tournament, Bo dropped a heartbreaking 5-1 decision to Tanner May of Carey (39-7) in the championship quarterfinal.
“That was a tough loss,” Jerry Bey said. “But he came back strong (in the second consolation round) on short rest and wrestled very well.”
Bo struck first with a takedown and three back points off of a barrel roll and built his lead to 6-0 before surrendering a stalling point.
“I stuck to the game plan and stayed aggressive,” Bo said. “The two off of the barrel was big, but I was able to settle and get the three back points, which was huge. I knew then that all I had to do was wrestle smart.”
Which Bey did by straying out of trouble throughout the remainder of the match.
He did surrender an escape and a takedown late, but held on for the big win.
“I just tried to stay in a solid position and not give up the big move,” said Bo. “I did just enough to make sure I didn’t get dinged for stalling too much.”
Wrestling smart and “grinding” is what led to a win to ensure a state medal.
“You know, wrestling never really came natural to Bo, but he’s always been a grinder,” said Jerry. “To see him grind out a win like that over a kid who beat him a week ago was awesome.”
Versailles head coach A.J. Bey agreed.
“It’s a meat grinder over here (at state) and he has done a great job of staying focused and wrestling his match,” A.J. said. “All three of the boys, really, they all wrestled well.”
In one of the toughest and deepest weight classes in the state, Tanner Bey gave arguably the best effort of his career in the final tournament of his career.
Tanner opened up the tournament with a 9-4 win on Thursday against Devin Crum of Belmont Union Local, but dropped a 9-4 decision to returning three-time state placer and unbeaten Derek Gross of Norwalk St. Paul Friday morning.
He then returned to the mat just over an hour later and saw his senior season end with a tough 5-3 defeat to Dawson Hoselton of Zane Trace.
“There’s not a lot separating one through sixteen in a lot of weight classes and forty-five (145) was like that this year,” A.J. explained. “He probably wrestled the best match of his career against (Derek) Gross and lost a close one in his consolation match. Tanner had great career with over 150 career wins.”
Jonathan Moorman also found himself in a brutal weight class as evident by the fact that it fielded returning three-time state champion and nationally ranked Kaleb Romero of Mechanicsburg.
But like his Tiger teammates, Moorman put together a memorable tournament with a gritty and determined effort.
He opened the tournament with a 16-7 major decision victory over Kasey Bethel of West Lafayette Ridgewood, but fell in the championship quarterfinal Friday morning to Brad Mendoza of Gibsonburg.
Moorman then saw his state experience end with a 5-1 defeat to Manny Garza of Rittman in the second consolation round. He finished his senior season with a 37-13 record.
“Jonathan wrestled well,” said A.J. “It’s tough over here (at state) and his weight class is as good as it gets. To come over here and get into the second day of the tournament at that weight is a heck of an accomplishment.”
And all three of the Tiger wrestlers have every reason to be proud of their outstanding careers being capped off at the state tournament.
“These guys have been wrestling together since they were little,” A.J. said. “Bo and Jonathan both have over 100 career wins and Tanner has over 150. All three are finishing up at the state tournament, so we’re very proud of them.”
Miami East junior teammates Alex Isbrandt and Graham Shore are no strangers to the big stage as both entered the state wrestling meet as two-time state placers and looking for more hardware.
And through two sessions the duo have ensured just that as they both won matches to secure a spot on the podium once again.
“All four of the kids have wrestled well over here,” said Miami East coach Mark Rose. “They all showed up to wrestle.”
Isbrandt, who placed seventh at 126 pounds last season and seventh at 113 pounds as a freshman, breezed through his opening round match Thursday with an 11-2 major decision win over Tanner Krotzer of Rossford. He returned Friday morning with an equally impressive 4-1 win over returning two-time state placer Logan Kissell of Garrettsville Garfield in the quarterfinals.
This set up a showdown with Brad Trescott of Rootstown in the semifinals and an opportunity to compete on the biggest stage of high school wrestling in the championship finals Saturday night.
And the Viking junior was up to the task, scrambling his way to a convincing 6-0 win to punch his ticket to the state finals tomorrow night.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said a visibly tired Isbrandt after the match, who finished third in both sectionals and districts. “I just tried to put him (Trescott) in some positions where he was uncomfortable and it worked.”
Twice it appeared as though Trescott was in deep on Isbrandt’s legs for potential takedowns, but the Viking wrestler was able to scramble his way out of trouble and even turning one of the scrambles into a takedown of his own.
“I wasn’t trying to get the takedown at that point,” he said. “I was just trying to keep him from taking me down, but when I felt his leverage giving away I jumped on the opportunity to get the two (takedown points).”
For Graham Shore, who placed third at 113 pounds a year ago and seventh at 106 pounds as a freshman, he was hoping for a rematch with returning two-time state champion Tommy Hoskins of Legacy Christian Academy in Saturday’s final.
Unfortunately Shore came up on the short end of a 4-2 decision to Julian Sanchez of Genoa Area in the championship quarterfinals Friday morning.
He was able to rebound, however, with a dominating 21-6 technical fall victory over Jakob Neer of Galion Northmor in the second consolation round.
He then followed with another convincing technical fall victory over Kalib Patterson of Ridgedale in the consolation quarterfinal.
“To come back from a tough loss in the quarters and dominated the way he did, that says a lot about Graham,” said Rose. “He’s on a mission to get third.”
Viking freshman Kaleb Nickels overcame a tough defeat in his first state match on Thursday by rebounding with a 10-6 win over Jordan Bowers of Defiance Tinora Friday morning.
Looking to ensure himself a spot on the podium, Nickels took returning state placer Dylan Burns of Milan Edison into and extra period tied at 5-5. Unfortunately Nickels couldn’t finish a takedown attempt in the sudden victory frame and suffered a 7-5 defeat.
Junior teammate and returning state qualifier Zane Strubler suffered a similar fate after he bounced back from a first round defeat to knock off Terry Combs of Cuyahoga Heights in the first consolation round.
Like Nickels, Strubler faced a returning state placer in his second consolation round match and dropped a razor thin 4-2 decision to Chase Sumner of Ada.
Lehman Catholic’s Wyatt Long (195) had an outstanding career come to an end Friday.
After advancing in the consolations with a tech fall win over Nathan Price of Galion Northmor Thursday night, Long faced John Kelbly of Smithville needing a win to place at state.
But, Kelbly came away with a 9-1 win as Long finished his season with a 43-10 record.