Hawken School wrestling booked a pair of return trips to the big dance behind the district champion duo of sophomore Patrick Reineke and senior William Lindsey on the Division III mats Friday and Saturday at Garfield Heights.
State No. 5-ranked Reineke (33-1) and No. 7-ranked Lindsey (40-2), according to Boro Fan Ohio, are talented in their own rights, but they won’t be of much use to each other in their physical preparations for the state tournament, which begins this Thursday at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
That’s because Reineke will be representing the Hawks at 106 pounds, while Lindsey is heading back to Columbus in the 285-pound weight class.
“No, no. That wouldn’t go over great,” Lindsey said in a serious tone when asked if he planned to spar with Reineke in practice this week.
Reineke does have a background of wrestling guys bigger than he is, but not that big.
As a freshman last season, Reineke finished eighth on the state podium despite weighing just 93 pounds and having to go up against opponents 13 pounds heavier than him throughout his campaign.
“I’m walking around this year at about 108ish (pounds),” Reineke said about actually having to cut a couple pounds before weigh-ins. “I can definitely feel the difference. Last year, I had to rely more on my speed and getting angles and working on the outside of guys. This year, I feel more confident working in ties and pretty much any position.”
Both Reineke and Lindsey got their district tournaments started by pinning their opening opponents in less than a minute. But Lindsey proved to be in minute-man mode the entire two day tournament.
After sticking Dalton senior Myron Miller (23-20) on his back in 52 seconds, Lindsey went on to pin Cuyahoga Heights junior Matthew Connors (23-23) in 40 seconds, then he pinned Youngstown Liberty state No. 25-ranked senior Simi Moananu (40-10) in 1:13 in the semis; and finally, he pinned Kirtland No. 11-ranked senior Jeff Kusar (32-5) in 1:00 during the title bout.
“I’m wrestling a lot more aggressive this year,” Lindsey said. “And I think it just sort of surprises people when you come out fast, when you come out looking for a takedown right off the bat. You don’t take that time to feel anybody out or anything. You just kind of go out there and go right into your offense.”
Lindsey said he doesn’t consider his aggressive style risky.
“Generally, I feel like I have a pretty good shot defense, so I’m not too worried about getting countered,” he said. “But, if I do, I’m confident in my ability to get off the mat, so it’s not the end of the world.”
A year ago, Lindsey had three pins during his run at a district title, but only one of them came in the first period.
In his semifinal bout on Saturday, Lindsey said Liberty’s Moananu blocked his initial shot on a high single before he went to a front headlock to break him down.
“I was definitely excited to cement my spot in the state tournament,” Lindsey said. “But the tournament wasn’t over after that one. For me, I wanted to make sure I won the tournament.”
While Kusar went three periods against Lindsey during the previous week’s sectional title bout, which ended 5-1 in Lindsey’s favor, the Hornet grappler couldn’t counter Lindsey’s offense in the district title bout.
“I know he’s not a bad wrestler by any means,” Lindsey said. “He’s pretty good. So, the first time I took it a little slower, just because I wanted to feel him out, see what I could do and watch out for his headlock. But the second time against him, I knew that I didn’t have to be extremely worried or cautious and I could go for it.”
After going 1-2 at the state tournament last season, Lindsey will return to Columbus and lock horns with Martins Ferry state No. 23-ranked senior Donte Lewis (29-8) in his opening bout.
According to Boro Fan, Lindsey is projected to finish seventh on the state podium.
“I’m in a good spot, mentally,” Lindsey said. “I feel like I’ve set myself up to earn a spot at the top of the podium.”
Reineke, meanwhile, won his district title at 106 pounds on the heels of finishing third as a freshman last season.
After Reineke pinned Independence freshman Sammy Sido (18-27) in 45 seconds to open his district run, the Hawken lightweight went on to win a 6-0 decision against Wellsville state No. 22-ranked freshman Mason Simms (35-9) in the quarterfinals.
“I was just staying in a good stance, making sure my hands were low and that I was moving and circling,” Reineke said about surrendering no points in that latter bout. “I was not only getting into my offense but making sure I shut his offense down so I could get my takedowns.”
In the semifinals, Reineke put together a 12-5 decision to defeat Columbia unranked freshman Cole Schulke (37-15).
After losing his district semifinal bout a year ago, Reineke said he was driven for a win-at-all-costs bout against Schulke to secure his repeat state ticket with a better seed coming out of his district.
“That match was important for me, not only for making it to the district finals but also making sure I get a good placement in the state bracket for this coming week,” Reineke said. “So, I was determined to win that match and head off into the finals. And not only was that important, but I also wanted to win districts, which is a great accomplishment.”
In the 106-pound title bout, Reineke capped of his district title with a 5-1 decision against Chalker state No. 7-ranked freshman Landen Duncan (27-6).
During the previous week’s sectional title bout, Reineke had to grind out a 3-1 overtime win against Duncan.
“He was a good test, and it was good to see that I was opening up the margin against him, especially from last week,” Reineke said. “He’s a different wrestler than I’m used to. Most people I wrestle don’t want to tie up, and he really wanted to tie up the whole match and was fishing for a lot of under-hooks.
“And he’s a good opponent and a good wrestler, and I respect him for it. He really went out there, and he was wanting to win, and I haven’t had too many matches like that this year. So, it was a good push.”
After getting a takedown in the first period, Reineke said Duncan really had to come after him in the third period, which allowed Reineke to counter with a double-leg takedown to seal the victory.
Heading to Columbus, Reineke will open his state tournament against Jamestown Greenview freshman Ashtan Hendricks (17-3).
“The overall goal is to win a state championship,” Reineke said. “But it feels good to win a district title. It gets me a good placement in the state bracket, and I’m excited. It helps my confidence.”