And it produced two dual victories.
With two high school basketball games scheduled inside the St. Paul Harvey Keller Gymnasium at the Convocation Center on Saturday, and the wrestling team needing to find a mutual date with its opponents — the decision was made to have the lone home dual of the season at the Monroe Street Gymnasium.
The gym is used for St. Paul junior high sporting events, and was formerly used for some high school events prior to the 1994-95 school year.
On Saturday, there was no denying the buzz the smaller venue created as the Flyers beat Loudonville (48-21) and Clyde (39-30).
“The atmosphere was electric, and really well-received by the fans,” St. Paul coach Casey Harrington said. “I liked that it did end up in the Monroe St. gym. The bleachers are right there at the edge of the mat, and that Clyde match especially was two teams going at it, trading victories.”
Against Loudonville, Sam Meyer won his match at 170 pounds with a pin in just 32 seconds. It marked career win No. 100 for the senior in his final home match.
“We’re real happy for Sam, and he’s been with me all four years at St. Paul, just a great kid,” Harrington said. “Our other senior, Eric Crabbs, needs two more wins to join him.
“My two seniors are definitely leading in the practice room and on the mat,” Harrington said. “I’ve told them and others, but I’m not only proud, but am excited to be coaching them every day.”
St. Paul got four wins by forfeit against the Redbirds. Along with Meyer, Will Stieber (138) and Crabbs (145) won by pin in 58 seconds and 3:38, respectively.
Also for the Flyers, Cam Caizzo (182) won by a 14-7 decision, and Aiden Naseman (113) won a 5-0 decision.
In the 39-30 win over Clyde, the Flyers got two forfeit wins. Crabbs scored a pin in the third period (5:30), as did Ben Meyer (5:28) at 160. Ryan Gross (126) also won by pin in 1:57.
Also for St. Paul, Stieber won a 9-3 decision at 138, as did Caizzo (10-4) at 182. The highlight of the dual, was Jacob Baca’s 9-7 win in triple overtime at 195.
“The kids are wrestling better, and peaking at the right time with conference and sectionals up next,” Harrington said. “They’re not gassing out. They are giving it their all.
“Sometimes after a couple of losses, it’s easy to get down on yourself — but then things like today happen and it’s fun and rejuvenating,” he added. “It’s an exciting time to be at St. Paul.”
St. Paul is at the Firelands Conference championships on Saturday at Mapleton High School. On Feb. 16, the Division III sectional championships are at Plymouth.
Harrington said Crestview and host Mapleton are the frontrunners entering Saturday’s championships, but believes the Flyers can challenge both.
“We are kind of the dark horse team behind those two that has a chance to shake things up,” he said. “We give up two weight classes, but we have a chance to potentially win more matches. But points will be at a premium.”