Four area wrestlers were in action Sunday, June 21, with Milford’s Avery Leonard leading the way with a first-place finish at the Cheesehead Apocalypse tournament held in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
Walton’s Cody Merwin, Bainbridge-Guilford’s Austin Eggleston and Sidney’s Zach Harrington also competed at the event for the Gorilla Grapplers team, which is based in Unadilla. Harrington and Merwin each claimed fourth-place finishes.
Leonard started the tournament in the quarterfinals at 125 pounds with a 3-2 decision over Cameron Clark of Mapleton, Illinois. Clark is a section champion and was a state runner-up as a freshman in 2019.
Leonard, who just finished his junior year at Milford, rolled into the final with a 10-3 decision over Elon Rodriguez of Woodstock, Illinois. Rodriguez was a section champion and state runner-up in 2020.
The final saw Leonard pin William Baysingar of Mount Prospect, Illinois, in 56 seconds to win the weight class. Baysingar was also a section champion and finished third in the state last winter.
Merwin’s round of 16 match at 130 pounds produced a pin in three minutes against Jake Penzato of St. Charles, Illinois. Merwin moved into the semifinals with a 4-3 decision over Garrett Chrisman of Chatham, Illinois, a section champion and state third-place finisher.
Merwin’s run came to an end in the semifinals with a 10-1 defeat to Corbin Ramos of Kenosha, Wisconsin. A 21-second pin of Penzato put Merwin into the consolation final, where he fell in 4:08 to Tanner Gerber of Cameron, Wisconsin. Gerber was a state and section champion in 2020 and is a two-time state champion.
Harrington opened with a 9-4 decision over Matthew Martinez of Battle Creek, Michigan, in the round of 16 at 145 pounds. A pin by Jackson Hoover of Edwardsburg, Michigan, followed in the quarterfinals.
Harrington bounced back with a 16-1 technical fall over Aidan Robichaud of Coventry, Rhode Island, in the consolation bracket. A pin of Cole Ramos of Kenosha and a 2-1 victory over Harley Taylor of Greenwood, Indiana, moved Harrington into the consolation final, where he fell, 2-1, to Desmond Diggs of Xenia, Ohio.
Eggleston opened with a 20-second pin of Aaron Johnson from Brookfield, Illinois. In the 187-pound quarterfinals, Eggleston again advanced with a 15-0 technical fall over Cooper Wendling of Illinois.
In the semifinals, Eggleston fell, 7-5, in sudden victory to Matthew Zuber of Chicago, and was forced to take medical forfeits in the remaining consolation bouts.