HILLIARD — Day one at the OHSAA Central District wrestling meet at Hilliard Darby High School saw a mixed bag for the Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets as decisive victories came along with a very controversial finish.
Two of the favorites in their brackets, Collin Riley and Jordan Montgomery, won both of their matches on Friday, and will advance to today’s championship semifinals.
Three of the Yellow Jackets — Dylan Pauley, Kyle Horner and Josh Wright — won their first match but were defeated in the second round. All three will continue today in the second consolation round.
It was Horner’s second match that had everybody talking.
Horner (140 pounds), having beaten Central Crossing’s Aaron Hardy by major decision, faced the district prohibitive favorite, Teays Valley’s Travis Luft, in round two. Horner scored a quick takedown, but then fell behind after Luft scored an escape, then scored a reversal.
Behind by just one point, Horner was under Luft but had his arms tied up with the shoulders exposed. All Horner had to do was flip himself around, and Luft’s shoulders would be pinned to the mat. After about 10 seconds, he was successful, and the referee slapped the mat to score the pin.
As the Jacket fans celebrated, the official turned and raised Luft’s arm in victory, explaining to an irate Mount Vernon coaching staff that Horner had essentially pinned his own shoulders to the mat first.
Mount Vernon head coach John Brown very unhappy with the decision.
“It’s utter garbage,” Brown said. “(The referee) wasn’t looking at the right guy. His assistant ... wasn’t paying any attention.”
Brown said the referee is supposed to look at the wrestler about to be pinned, and it’s his assistant’s job to watch the wrestler doing the pinning.
“If it happened to anyone, it would be bad,” Brown said. “But Kyle needed it. He really needed it. I feel bad. But what can you do. It’s out of our control.”
Riley (135 pounds) scored a 9-1 decision over Olentangy Orange’s Dan Dawson in round one. Then he met Beavercreek’s Kyle Kramer, who had scored an upset in his first match. But there was no upset this time, as Riley appeared to be two steps ahead of Kramer throughout the match. Riley dominated to an 11-point lead before scoring a pinfall at 36 seconds into the third period.
“The main thing is keeping calm,” Riley explained after his win. “I don’t want to get mad, because it can mess up your whole gameplan.”
Just before the fall, Riley had positioned himself on top of Kramer, both parallel to the mat. Riley lifted both arms off the mat, as if to add his full body weight on top of Kramer. In doing so, he appeared to flex his arms.