By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
CENTERVILLE — Zach Evans waited a long time for a short match.
“I was ready to go; I’ve been wrestling for nine years and I’ve been looking forward to this,” said Evans, the Troy High School wrestling team’s 106-pound freshman. “I’ve been wrestling since I was little. My third year, I started beating kids who had beaten me before and my coaches started telling me I could be good. I hope to win this tournament.”
In the first postseason match of his high school career, Evans made short work of Fairborn’s Chris Martin, pinning him in exactly one minute. It was one of the highlights for the Trojans, who went 3-6 Friday on the first day of the Division I sectional wrestling tournament at Centerville High School. Wrestling will resume Saturday, with the top four wrestlers in each weight class advancing to next week’s district tournament.
“This is what Zach lives for,” Troy wrestling coach Doug Curnes said. “He was out of practice for two days because he had the stomach flu, but he was healthy and ready to go. I could tell before the match he was ready. This is one he really wanted. Now we just need him to keep things going.”
Evans hopes to keep things rolling all the way to the state tournament in two weeks. Troy’s smallest wrestler has big goals, hoping to become the first Trojan to make it to the state meet since Alex Dalton in 2014. Evans was a junior high school state qualifier last year.
“My goal is to go to state,” he said. “That’s what I want to do.”
Troy’s other winners on the day were Shane Shoop at 170 and Noah Leach at 182.
Like Evans, Shoop wasted little time in his match, pinning Butler’s Joe Solomon in 1:45 to win his match.
“Shoop was Shoop,” Curnes said. “He’s got a lot of power and he’s very smooth. He’s hungry, too. He’s right where we need him to be, mentally, which is a good thing. When he’s mentally ready, he’s tough to beat and is capable of big things. We hope he can keep it going.”
With some of the top seeds in his weight class unable to compete Friday, Leach took advantage of the situation, winning his opening match by outlasting Edgewood’s Kyle Cooper in a hard-fought 12-5 contest.
“Leach is a kid who has been working hard all season and this was his reward,” Curnes said. “This was good for him, to be able to go out and get a win in this tournament. Some of the top seeds were missing, but he did all the right things and deserved this opportunity. He made the most of it.”
Other than those three wins, it was a tough night for the Trojans, as six wrestlers — Gabe Cusick (132 pounds), Logan Wilson (138), Joe Cusick (145), Kyle Coleman (152), David McGraw (160) and Ethan Freed (285) — all suffered first-round pins Friday. All will be back in Saturday’s consolation rounds.
“We are green, very green,” Curnes said. “It showed. David McGraw is hurt and he’s going to try to gut it out and place. The other kids just need experience. That’s what the offseason is for. These are kids who have made a commitment to this program and they will get better. Right now, we are just a very young team.”
Two of Piqua’s five wrestlers emerged from the first day of competition still in the championship rounds.
At heavyweight, Lance Reeves pinned Talawanda’s Nathan Detherage in just 46 seconds. At 113 pounds, David Stumpff didn’t have to wrestle to get to the semifinals, as he received a pair of byes through the first two rounds.
Beth Herndon (132), Isaac Bushnell (170) and Bryce Short (220) all lost their opening matches by pin.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong.