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Perry wrestling: Pirates' pin-a-thon at regional event gleans state duals berth

Feb. 3—ROOTSTOWN — Perry wrestling coach Dave Rowan didn't sleep well Friday night.

He tossed. He turned. He paced. He went through scenarios that his team might face on Feb. 3 in the Division III regional duals at Rootstown High School. He probably drove his wife nuts.

He was worrying.

He shouldn't have.

The third-seeded Pirates, with only two seniors in their lineup. crushed Crestwood, 66-11, in a semifinal match and then clobbered second-seeded — and defending state duals runner-up — Rootstown, 57-19, in the regional final.

The pair of wins send the Pirates to the state duals next weekend at Versailles. Pairings will be announced Feb. 4.

"I didn't dream that up," Rowan said. "I did not sleep well last night. I had a hard time sleeping. I was up at 3:30 tossing and turning, thinking about all the situations. They came through."

* In Division I, Mentor defeated Walsh Jesuit, 39-30, in the semifinal round, but lost to Massillon Perry, 58-9, to Massillon Perry in the championship round.

* In Division II, Madison defeated Akron SVSM, 45-31, i nthe semifinal round, but lost to Louisville, 40-21, in the championship round.

Riley Rowan pin gives @Wrestling_Perry a30-0 lead over @roverathletics ... This is the best the Pirates have looked all year. pic.twitter.com/BEjcvdlLrn

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) February 3, 2024

They did so by holding their own pin-a-thon. While Perry's Pin City tournament was held the first weekend in January, the Pirates held a road version of a Pin City event in the regional event. Of the 19 head-to-head matches the Pirates won in the two regional duals, 16 came via pin. The other three came by simple decisions.

Anthony Trentanelli with a third straight pin for @Wrestling_Perry . Pirates lead @roverathletics 24-0 pic.twitter.com/iqVkD26sG6

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) February 3, 2024

Couple that with the three forfeit wins the Pirates accepted and it spelled back-to-back blowouts in duals that kept the coach up most of the night.

"Last year, we lost to Rootstown here," 113-pounder Landon Rusnak said. "(Rowan) wanted us to come and show up, and we showed up."

Rusnak is only a freshman, but he went 2-0 with a pair of pins. So did classmates Cooper Schlauch at 106 and Anthony Trentanelli at 120. Having three ninth-graders lock down 18 points in the lower weights was huge for the Pirates' momentum and success.

"At practice, we work on pins before practice and sometimes after," Trenanelli said. "He wants pins. That's Coach Rowan's thing."

Freshman Anthony Trentanelli of @Wrestling_Perry says the pirates look to pin any chance they get following a lopsided regional final win over Rootstown today. pic.twitter.com/c1AE1lSEbW

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) February 3, 2024

But seeing what his team did on a big stage like the regional duals with a state berth on the line? Rowan didn't see that coming. In the win over Crestwood, Cooper Schlauch, Rusnak, Trenanelli, Chris Bezzeg (138), Eddie Cooney (150), Michael Niedzwicki (157), Domenick LaMacchia (165) Antonius Bertone (175) and Nolan Leben (285) all won by pin.

There is the clincher! Drew Smith pins Tyler Paulus of @roverathletics for an insurmountable 45-3 lead. @Wrestling_Perry pic.twitter.com/gMNJSliYkp

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) February 3, 2024

Then with the home crowd of the Rovers looking on in disappointment — perhaps surprised — the Pirates got pins from Schlauch, Rusnak, Trentanelli, Riley Rowan (126), Lucas Spring (132), Drew Smith (150), Trent Taylor (190) and Chuck Thomas (215).

And Lucas Spring with ANOTHER @Wrestling_Perry pin. It's 36-0 over @roverathletics pic.twitter.com/xtm2cbB3Md

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) February 3, 2024

Chance Schlauch had a big 12-5 win at 144 against Rootstown, with a five-point move to end the second period, while he also had a decision win over Crestwood.

The much-anticipated rematch between Riley Rowan and Crestwood's JP Wrobel, two highly ranked 126-pounders, did not happen as Wrobel — who won a 1-0 bout at last week's CVC tournament — wrestled up at 132.

Cooper Schlauch and Landon Rusnak of @Wrestling_Perry — both freshmen — talk about setting the table for their team's success in the lower weights. pic.twitter.com/JTTV30AWZu

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) February 3, 2024

Coach Rowan likes the trajectory of his team heading into the season's nitty gritty.

"I would say so," he said when asked if this was his team's best performance of the season. "I think after Pin City and Maumee Bay, we worked on some things and they've responded very well.

The three freshmen in the lower weights all agreed there's another bar of success to be hit next weekend in Versailles. Rowan said "we're back to scratch next week. We're going to do the same thing we've been doing, work hard, do the right things and hopefully have a good weekend."

Rowan continued discussing his pride in the program, which is in its 50th year of existence.

"We had a big talk yesterday before we left practice, the years we have invested in the kids since they were this big," he said.extending his arm waist-length. "They've been with us all the way through. People say, 'How do you prepare?' (The answer is) years. Years we have prepared to get to this point."

Coach Dave Rowan of @Wrestling_Perry admits his Pirates exceeded his expectations today in a regional championship. pic.twitter.com/4LA1aHEaJs

— News-Herald preps (@NHPreps) February 3, 2024