High school wrestling: Berkshire trio clinch first state berths

Mar. 4—There are a lot of new things at Berkshire. One thing has stayed the same.

Senior Johnny Heiden made that clear after he and teammates Collin Hering and Josh Brown qualified for the Division III state tournament with top-four finishes at the district tournament in Perry on March 4.

"I've got to say, one of the most exciting things is having my teammates going there with me," said Heiden of next weekend's journey to the Jerome Schottenstein Center. "New school, new wrestling room... same work ethic."

Heiden clinched his state berth with an 11-6 decision over Perry's Chris Bezzeg in the semifinal round. Just a short while beforehand, Hering bounced Rootstown's Will McEwuen in a 113-pound semifinal to punch a ticket to Columbus.

A little later in the day, after suffering his first loss of the season, 5-4, in the semifinals, Brown took a 2-1 decision from Cuyahoga Heights' Zach Zoladz in the consolation semifinal round — i.e. the blood round.

"It's pretty exciting," Heiden said of his state-clinching win. "I feel like all this work my whole career has paid off. This is my senior year — my last shot. I've tried to get better whenever and however I can. That's been my drive."

The son of former Pymatuning Valley wrestler Billy Hering, Collin Hering had a statement-making tournament. He beat sectional champ Kayden Welker of South Range in the quarterfinals, then topped sectional champ McEwuen to clinch a state berth.

"My dad never made it to state. Came close but didn't get to do it," Hering said. "I'm super excited to punch my ticket to Columbus. I'm so thrilled to finally see my hard work and training pay off."

The Berkshire trio makes up part of an impressive contingent of 11 to qualify for next week's state tournament. Three are from Perry — Riley Rowan (120), Brock Christian (132) Ryan Brubaker (165), along with two from Beachwood (Joshua Greenwood at 150 and Uzonna Nzekwe at 215), two from Lake Catholic (Parker Pikor at 106 and Joey Romano at 120) and Kirtland's Louka Babic at 175.