And so, too, does the perfect season of Norwalk sophomore Ethan Hernandez for at least another week.
Bellevue’s Justin Mayes ran into Hernandez again at 160 pounds in Saturday’s Division II sectional championships at Sandusky High School. And for the third time this season, Hernandez — now 41-0 — came out with a marginal win, this time a 3-1 decision.
Last week, Hernandez beat Mayes at the SBC championship finals by a 3-1 score in overtime. They also had a 1-0 match earlier in the year.
“You can always count on me and him meeting in a bracket, whether it’s in the quarterfinals or finals,” Hernandez said. “It’s always going to happen and it’s always going to be close. It’s always a tossup and we seem to bring the best out of each other.”
That extends beyond just high school.
“Back in eighth grade I wrestled him six times,” Hernandez said of facing Mayes. “I’ve always managed to come out on top.
“Today, I kind of changed it up a little bit on him, I had a really good arm bar,” he added. “Last year, I was getting a lot of ankle picks. But I kind of got a flashback in my head and used a different scheme.”
Norwalk had one other champion, sophomore Alec Maloney at 195 pounds, and advanced five wrestlers total to next week’s district championships — which will be held at Norwalk High School on Friday and Saturday.
Perkins earned the sectional team title with 199.5 points. Bellevue was runner-up with 176 points, followed by Sandusky in third (158.5) and the Truckers (132) in fourth.
Maloney (38-4) earned an 8-0 major decision over Sandusky’s Quay Brown.
“I thought we wrestled really well. We had an injury and a couple of kids that left the team last week, which may of made a little bit of a difference in the team score,” Truckers coach Frank Staley said. “But we got five kids that made out — four sophomores and a freshman — and three alternates in what I thought was a pretty tough tournament.”
At 182, sophomore Gabe Phillips (32-5) lost a tough 9-8 decision to Sandusky’s Sam Hunter, who he edged out, 9-7, one week earlier in a semifinal match at SBCs.
Hunter was docked a point for hands to the face in the final minute, allowing Phillips to tie up the match, but recovered to get the go-ahead takedown with 18 seconds to go.
“Ethan continues to be the nemesis of the kid from Bellevue,” Staley said. “I think the kid that Gabe beat last week got the better of him today, but that match may happen again next week. Maloney has been solid as a rock all year. I mean the kid has 30-some falls and close to 40 wins as a sophomore.
“Our three sophomores are big boys, and they’re creeping up on 100 wins already,” he added. “This year, they could really make a name for themselves and imprint their names across the state of Ohio.”
At 152, Bellevue’s Nick Smythe was a 10-4 winner over Norwalk’s Ethan Phillips (25-13) in the title match. Corbin Ott (20-18) was the fifth Norwalk wrestler to qualify, taking fourth at 106.
For the second-place Redmen, Noah Alda defeated Ontario’s Ty Spencer by a 7-3 decision in the 113 finals, while Collin Corapi was a winner by pin over Sandusky’s Eian Sherman in a time of 5:37.
Jayden Mayes (106), Caiden Walters (120), Jared Weider (126) and Mark Janowicz (132) were all third to move on.
Wrestling begins at 5 p.m. Friday at Norwalk High School, and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The top four placers from the 14 weight classes at the district will advance to the state championships at Ohio State University.
“Next week, I think everyone we have going has a chance to maybe see Columbus,” Staley said. “We’re going to have to wrestle our butts off, but there’s obviously an opportunity for all of them. The sky is the limit.”
Division II Sandusky sectional
Team standings: 1. Perkins 199.5; 2. Bellevue 176; 3. Sandusky 158.5; 4. Norwalk 132; 5. Ontario 100; 6. Shelby 99; 7. Vermilion 97; 8. Lexington 97; 9. Mansfield Sr. 85; 10. Clear Fork 67; 11. Huron 58; 12. Galion 53.5.
106: Rico Cunningham (SAN) maj. dec. Max Oprzadek (PER), 9-1
113: Noah Alda (BEL) dec. Ty Spencer (ONT), 7-2
120: Josh Lyons (MANSR) pinned Carter Kroll (ONT), 3:37
126: Logan Schoen (PER) DQ Damoni Williams (MANSR)
132: Elijah Hunter (SAN) dec. Emileo Calderon (PER), 7-3
138: Collin Corapi (BEL) pinned Eian Sherman (SAN), 5:37
145: Colton Turnbaugh (ONT) tech. fall Vinny D’Amico (SAN), 19-3
152: Nick Smythe (BEL) dec. Ethan Phillips (NOR), 10-4
160: Ethan Hernandez (NOR) dec. Justin Mayes (BEL), 3-1
170: Lucas Salmon (PER) dec. Brahm Ginter (SHE), 5-0
182: Sam Hunter (SAN) dec. Gabe Phillips (NOR), 9-8
195: Alec Maloney (NOR) maj. dec. Quay Brown (SAN), 8-0
220: Tyler Bath (VER) dec. Jerrell Wells (SAN), 7-4
285: A.J. Adams (LEX) dec. Mason Weldon (GAL), 5-3
106: Jayden Mayes (BEL) pinned Corbin Ott (NOR), :58
113: Brandon D’Egidio (VER) pinned Isaiah Thomas (CF), 2:57
120: Caiden Walters (BEL) inj. default Nick Dillion (LEX)
126: Jared Weider (BEL) dec. Devin McCarthy (GAL), 8-6
132: Mark Janowicz (BEL) pinned Trey Back, 3:27
138: Jakob Koleszar (VER) pinned Mason Hoskins (LEX), 2:34
145: Riley Place (SHE) dec. Sawyer Henry (PER), 5-4
152: J.J. Holliday (HUR) dec. Cameron Smith (PER), 8-4
160: Cody Miles (ONT) dec. Sam Mitchell (HUR), 6-4
170: John Witschi (CF) dec. Alex Stevens (LEX), 7-0
182: Michael Bentley (SHE) pinned Gabriel Papineau (PER), 4:55
195: Sam McNulty (PER) pinned Nathan Zener (SHE), 2:30
220: Dylan Ratliff (SHE) maj. dec. Tino Majoy (HUR), 14-4
285: Kyler Capizzi (PER) pinned Kelton Jones (HUR), :40