by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Stow -- The match between the Stow-Munroe Falls and Tallmadge wrestling teams Feb. 7 featured two teams in need of some positive vibes going to the postseason.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, the Bulldogs got that lift.
Despite giving up four matches worth of forfeits, Stow scored a 44-30 win over the Blue Devils at Stow.
Stow finished the dual meet season at 3-6, while Tallmadge ended at 0-11.
Prior to the match with the Bulldogs, the Blue Devils competed at the Suburban League Tournament Feb. 2 at Green High School. Tallmadge finished eighth in the eight-team field with 41 points. Wadsworth won the tournament for the 21st straight year with 230 points.
Stow head coach Randy Jenkins said he was happy with his team's effort as the Bulldogs won nine of the 10 wrestled matches on the night.
"They were excited about this being the last home match," he said. "Being such a close community to Tallmadge, it's a bit of a rivalry. Some of the seniors wrestled for the last time."
Given that his team had a 24-point cushion due to the forfeits, Blue Devils head coach Jason Shaw did not mince words.
"We just flat out stunk," Shaw said. "We had some guys moving around because we had three starters out, but we're at the point in the season where we know how to wrestle."
Tallmadge's lone victory in a wrestled match came from senior Jake Wiegand at 220 pounds. Wiegand put Stow's Chris Wright on his back and pinned him in 3 minutes, 15 seconds.
Tallmadge got forfeit wins from 106-pounder Dallas Testa, 113-pounder Alex McGraw, 170-pounder Jacob Mertus and heavyweight Ben Cipa.
Beyond that, it was all Stow.
The Bulldogs got pins from 120-pounder Justin George (3:30), 132-pounder Dylan Hartwig (2:39), 138-pounder Connor Crosier (4:46), 160-pounder Hunter Massey (1:41) and 182-pounder Joe Kollar (1:25).
Stow also got a 17-2 technical fall from 195-pounder Gage Finegan as well as decision wins from 126-pounder Nate Allen (12-5), 145-pounder Kyle Collins (9-7) and 152-pounder Nick Planicka (10-4)
At the Suburban League Tournament, Shaw said the opening draw was not kind to the Blue Devils.
"Nine of our kids were given the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds to wrestle," Shaw said. "I was very upset about that because some of the kids had winning records in the league. We only had two guys, Wiegand and Stricker, win their first match."
Wiegand was the Blue Devils' top finisher as he reach the finals in the 195-pound bracket. Wiegand ran into Highland's Adam Kluk in the final and was pinned in 1 minute.
Tallmadge also got a fourth-place finishes from 170-pounder Troy Stricker.
The Blue Devils are scheduled to open their postseason run at a Division II sectional tournament Feb. 15 and 16 at Walsh Jesuit High School.