The gym at Fairfield High School has always been special for Middletown senior Anthony Jagel.
It was at the Ron Masanek Fairfield Invitational his sophomore year where Jagel finally snapped a drought of reaching the finals and falling short in claiming the title en route to a berth in the Division I state tournament.
Saturday night was no different for Jagel, who handed Fairfield freshman Zach Shupp his first loss of the season 7-3 in the finals at 106 pounds. It was Jagel’s third straight title at Fairfield.
“I thought about it being the last tournament I would wrestle (at Fairfield),” Jagel said after remaining undefeated. “I have the best memories of this place. This is where district used to be and Fairfield was the first tournament I won my sophomore year. This tournament is always my turning point … where I start picking it up.”
Jagel led 2-1 after one period, but cranked out a 7-2 lead heading into the third period.
“I think one of the differences was being used to being on the big stage,” Jagel said. “I have a confidence in those matches and I could feel he was tensing up a lot. My game plan was to control the whole match and do what I needed to do when I wanted to do it, to take my time, and I did my game plan.”
Fairfield coach Jason Laflin had thought Schupp would have some peaks and valleys his freshman season with the high school season being longer and more demanding than junior high.
“He will regroup and refocus and try to get closer,” Laflin said. “Jagel completely outwrestled him. The goal is to close the gap and use that for confidence. Hopefully, he will use it as a learning tool.”
Schupp was one of 11 placers for the Indians as Fairfield claimed the team title with 192.5 points. Lebanon finished just six points back with Ross third with 142.5.
The title snapped a three-year drought for the Indians in their own tournament.
“We are proud to win it,” Laflin said. “We don’t host it so other teams can win it. Early on (Saturday), we knew it was going to be tight until the finish. We just had to make sure we competed in every match we were in.”
Fairfield got a pair of huge wins in the finals as Sam Meedings knocked off Lebanon’s Alec Logsdon in overtime to win at 132 and Jacob Bria won the 160 title with an 8-4 decision over Lebanon’s Steven Serbenski.
“If we lose either one of those matches, we lose the tournament,” Laflin said. “I would hate to be the kid in that situation, but I stressed early that we had to claw for every point, but both of them looked loose for their finals match.
Lebanon got a title from Quinn May at 126 and second-place finishes from Logsdon, Serbenski and Brad Booher (285).
“I shouldn’t say I was surprised, but Lebanon really came to wrestle,” Laflin said. “I didn’t anticipate them being as tough as they ended up being.”
Karson Chasteen of Ross pulled the upset of the tournament, claiming the title at 220 with a pin in 15 seconds over Austin Myers of Campbell County (Ky.). Myers entered the tournament as the second-ranked wrestler nationally at 220 by Intermat.
Ross’ Dalton Jones finished first at 170, while teammates Aaron Cox (120) and Tyler Young (152) placed second.
Hamilton’s Brandon McKinnie was second at 195.
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