Three more Clay wrestlers close in on 100 victories
It’s not unusual for a high school wrestling program to feature a couple of wrestlers who have 100 career wins under their belts.
Clay has five current wrestlers with 100 wins.
“You don’t see that too often,” coach Ralph Cubberly said.
The Eagles’ Nick Stencel, at 160 pounds, and heavyweight Antonio Zapata both earned career win No. 100 a year ago. This season, seniors Jared Davis and Gavin Nelson and junior Richie Screptock have all picked up their 100th career victories.
Davis, a 126-pounder, nailed down win No. 100 at the Brecksville tournament on Dec. 30, beating Zach Tupps of Ashland. Davis decisioned Tupps, 1-0, with a second-period escape.
“I wasn’t really thinking about (my 100th win) during the match,” Davis said. “I had to go out and win anyway. Gavin came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Nice of you to join the club.’ He already had his 100th. I asked him what he was talking about before I realized I finally got it. That made the win a little better.”
Davis was 27-7 as a freshman at 103 pounds and 29-12 at 106 as a sophomore. He had a 32-12 record last year and is 12-4 this season. Davis’ career mark stands at 100-35, and he is one of only three Clay wrestlers to reach the state tournament three times. He placed seventh at 106 as a sophomore.
“Jared is a great leader,” Cubberly said.
Davis, who won the season-opening Solon tournament, said getting to 100 career wins was never really a goal.
“With my other goals, I had I planned on reaching it anyway,” he said. “I wanted to be a state qualifier and a state placer, and it was just something that was going to happen anyway. If I achieved my major goals, then I didn’t see that not happening.”
Davis said his goals from this point forward include winnning his second Three Rivers Athletic Conference title, winning his third sectional title and moving on to win district and state championships.
“I’m doing pretty good,” he said. “I’m not cutting as much weight this year, so I can focus on getting better instead of getting weight off week to week. My offseason wrestling and training has helped me improve my skills this year. It’s sort of showing so far, but there is always room for improvement no matter who you are.”
Nelson, a 138-pounder, is 15-5 this season and has a career mark of 107-31. He won 26 matches as a freshman and sophomore and finished 44-11 at 132 pounds a year ago.
“Gavin is one of our hardest workers,” Cubberly said. “He is a very focused, hard-working kid and he was a state alternate last year.”
Nelson earned his 100th career win at the Oak Harbor Duals, pinning Oak Harbor’s Dylan Thorp in the first period.
“I was keeping track,” Nelson said, “and I told Coach, ‘I’m going to get my 100th win tonight.’ He said, ‘Hey, it’s not that big a deal.’ They made it sound like it’s just another match, but one of the coaches made a sign for me. It said “100 wins” and had my name and all my accomplishments. It was nice.”
Nelson said he figured he would reach his 100th win this season, “but I didn’t know I would get it this early in the year.”
“I didn’t know how many I needed this year, and it added up fast,” he said. “Then I realized I can go way over the (100) mark.”
Nelson said he feels like he’s on the right track this season after taking third at the Brecksville tournament.
“I have a feel for close matches because I’ve wrestled so many tough tournaments,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of real tight matches and I’ll know how to win them if I get to state. Being on the state podium, that’s the only goal I have.”
Screptock, who is 18-7 at 132 pounds, has been on the state podium twice. He took seventh at 112 as a freshman and placed fourth at 120 last season. Screptock’s career record stands at 111-20 after finishing 42-7 as a freshman and 51-6 as a sophomore.
Win No. 100, an 8-2 victory, came at the Ironman tournament against an opponent from Arvada West (Colo.) High School.
“It was kind of a goal,” Screptock said. “I just remember winning the match and feeling good about getting my 100th win. I knew that was it; I was keeping track. I wanted to get to 100 this year, that way I can surpass the (school) record next year.”
Angelo Amenta holds Clay’s school record for career wins, with 160. He is now a sophomore wrestler at Columbia University.
“Richie’s got a ton of experience,” Cubberly said. “He’s wrestled at all the summer stuff and has tons of experience. He’s very aware of wrestling positioning and he’s easy to coach because he knows what’s going on.”
Screptock, a two-time conference and sectional champion, said he still has a few things to work on this season, like offense and setting up opponents.
“I’m getting on track,” he said. “I want to win the state title this year.”