ATHENS — Canton head coach, Lyle Wesneski, constantly reminds his kids that, “there’s always two things you can control in life. Number one is your attitude, and number two is your effort.”
The Warriors used a solid effort from each wrestler to overcome the Athens Wildcats 51-21 in Tuesday’s dual meet.
The meet started at 152 pounds and the Warriors stormed out to a 42-6 lead. Hayden Ward, Brenen Taylor, Riley Parker, Conner Davis, Mason Nelson and Lyle Vermilya each picked up pins and Cohen Landis added a forfeit at 113.
Taylor kept his bout with Athens’ Cameron Whitmarsh close. Early in the third period, Whitmarsh held a 5-4 lead. Taylor took Whitmarsh down and turned him quickly to pick up the fall in 5:28.
Wesneski revealed that Taylor gave up some weight to his opponent. “He’s giving up some weight. But, he goes out there and gives us everything he’s got.”
Karter Rude notched the lone win for the Wildcats with a fall at 160 in the midst of the Warrior run.
Athens Mason Vanderpool put an end to the Warrior run at 120 pounds with a fall early in the second period.
126 featured a battle between Athens’ senior Gavin Bradley and talented Canton freshman Holden Ward. The senior bumped up a weight class for the opportunity to face Ward. Bradley’s strength and experience proved too much. He turned an early five-point takedown and then a takedown clinic into a 19-3 technical fall.
At 132, Canton sophomore Brayden Wesneski bested Athens’ senior Gavin McGrath. McGrath took the early lead with a slick Hi-C takedown.
Wesneski countered by taking top in the second period. He used an arm bar to turn McGrath to his back with thirty seconds remaining in the period. McGrath fought off his back for the duration of the period. But, Wesneski took a 3-2 lead into the third period.
McGrath took neutral to start the third. He emerged on the winning end of a scramble with Wesneski on his back. The Athens senior led, 7-3.
Undaunted, Wesneski got a reversal and went back to work on top. He turned McGrath twice in the final 0:46 for five points and the victory.
“He’s (Wesneski’s) been battling in and out [of the line-up] with another sophomore. He went out and he scrapped. He gave a good effort.”
138 featured another dynamic matchup as Athens’ Kaden Setzer faced off against Canton’s Hudson Ward. Setzer used an upper body tie up and a big leg sweep to dump Ward onto his back just in bounds. He got the takedown, but no back points.
Setzer elected to start the second period neutral and picked up a quick throw-by for a takedown. Up 4-0, the cagey senior let Ward attack him and made him pay when he did. Setzer earned a 13-4 major decision.
Canton’s Bailey Ferguson closed out the meet with a fall at 145 pounds. His six team points drove the final score to 51-21, in favor of the Warriors.
Athens’ head coach Shawn Bradley complimented his wrestlers, but commended Canton’s performance.
“They’re all working hard and wrestling well,” said Bradley. “Today, we got out-hearted. Hats off to [Canton].”
Canton is in action tomorrow night at home in a tri-meet with Sayre and Williamson. Athens will travel to North Penn Liberty on Thursday for a dual meet.