MOUNT VERNON — Heavyweight Dane Cullen pinned Jordan Finney of Westland at 1:57 of the first period to lead the Mount Vernon wrestling team to a second-place finish at the 2009 Wazie Tournament at Mount Vernon High School on Saturday.
“I told my kids, ‘Second place, that’s good, but we have a lot of work to do,’” said Mount Vernon wrestling coach John Brown. “The thing that they did really well was that they came out and they really wrestled hard and that’s something I can’t teach. That’s something that you’ve just got to do.”
Cullen was the only Yellow Jacket to win an individual weight class despite the fact that he was wrestling up a class and he did it against some tough competition.
“It was really tough to start out with,” said Cullen. “Everyone here is pretty good. I was supposed to be wrestling at 215 (pounds) but I went up a bit higher because I didn’t make weight to begin with. It was really tough because I really wasn’t in the best of shape and it is the first tournament of the year. I’ll build off of that and get better.”
Cullen overcame Finney’s size and weight advantage with speed, skill and an aggressive wrestling style. Finney, a district placer last year, proved a huge test for Cullen.
“(Finney) is a real strong kid,” said Cullen. “He has a lot of upper body strength and it was hard to compete against that because I don’t really find as much of that at 215 pounds. I talked to other heavyweights and they told me to take shots at his legs and he wouldn’t be able to block it, but he was real good on top. I just kept my distance from him and took as many shots as I possibly could.
“Dane did an outstanding job,” said Brown. “He wrestled up and handled the weight real well. He attacked well — all those things that he needs to do.”
Dylan Pauley placed second for the Jackets in the 103-pound class. Also placing second were Nick Yashnyk (130 pounds) and Colin Riley (135). Placing third for the Jackets were Kyle Horner (140) and Collin Clark (145).
“They came out and won overtime matches,” said Brown. “We made mistake and we were able to overcome those mistakes. We didn’t get our heads down and we won some big matches. I’m real pleased with our varsity kids winning matches. I’m even more pleased with our extra kids, who took points away from other teams by winning. It’s a good start to the season. We’re a little young and we’ve got some learning to do, but we are off to a good start.”
Notes: Two-time State qualifier Scott Spreng of Loudonville placed second at 119. His teammate Brent Allerding took first in the 215-pound class, winning a 3-1 decision over Tyler Fabry of West Jefferson in the final. Luke Webber was second for the Redbirds at 189.