By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
A good wrestler takes what he’s given to beat his opponent. A great wrestler is one who doesn’t force his foe to give him what he wants, but coaxes that opponent into giving it away.
Tom Avsec’s Jefferson Falcons did a fair enough job of coaxing Conneaut into giving them what they wanted in a 40-24 victory on Thursday night at Falcon Gymnasium.
“What you want to do is see what the guy is giving you and make him move in a certain direction,” Jefferson coach Tom Avsec said. “You’ve got make him move where you want him go. You set up your moves by changing levels. Perry (which beat the Falcons, 81-0, on Wednesday) does a good job with its setups. You have to take advantage of the guy’s movement.”
On the other side of the mat, instead of nudging the Falcons to give them what they were looking for, the Spartans tried to force their will on the Falcons and fell short.
“It was more us being uncomfortable (in trying different things),” Conneaut coach Matt Bidwell said. “Maybe we’re not seeing as much as we should be. I don’t think it’s just stubborness (trying to force a move that isn’t there).
“There was too much hesitation. (Jefferson) left a lot of stuff open and we weren’t taking advantage of it.”
The Spartans opened with a 12-0 advantage after a double forfeit at 106 and 120 pounds, Isaiah Ngiraingas’ pin of Austin Simmons at 126 and Jefferson’s forfeit to Vince Nolan at 113.
“I can’t say enough about how Isaiah has really turned it around,” Bidwell said. “Where he’s come he’s one of, if the not the guy the guys look up to.”
Jefferson claimed the next four weight classes contested to seal the victory Mason Swiney’s pin of Nathan Vichosky at 152 pounds.
“We were looking for pins,” Avsec said. “We were trying to get those bonus points and we were waiting to see how those forfeits would play out. It was nice to see the seniors (Joey Baitt, Cooper Cleveland and Logan Platt) all win.”
Baitt got the ball rolling with a 12-0 major decision over Justin Mason at 132. Logan Platt followed with a pin of Emma Curry at 138 in 2:29, Cooper Cleveland pinned Clay Fertig in 2:15 at 145 and Swiney stuck Nathan Vichosky at 152 in 57 seconds for a 22-12 lead.
Conneaut forfeited to Zach Collins (160) and Christian Saunders (170) and both teams forfeited at 182.
“We gave up three forfeits and they gave up one, so we started in a 12-0 hole,” Bidwell said. “We had three pins and that was great, but they got pins to cancel those out.
“I’ve always been a big believer of staying off your back and not getting pinned. That’s a huge factor, especially with us having such a small team. It comes down to staying off your back.”
Conneaut scored pins in two of the next three weights, but also gave a away a forfeit to Austin Norris at 220.
Scott North pinned Daniel Gillespie in 2:31 at 220 and heavyweight Joe Rozalski pinned Brandon Hagerdon in 1:03.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.