Rangers senior Zach Orseno has steadily grown into one of the top wrestlers in the area, and picked up his 100th career win on Jan. 6.

Both Avon and host North Ridgeville knew they were going to have their hands full Friday night when Southwestern Conference wrestling powerhouse Elyria came into town.

The Pioneers, perennially among the top wrestling programs in the state, showed off that dominance, going 2-0 on the night with a 62-12 win over Avon and a 63-15 win over North Ridgeville. In the first matchup, the Eagles claimed a 52-22 win over the Rangers, leaving them 0-2 on their home mat.

Eagles coach Jeremy Johnson said despite the result, he was happy his group got the opportunity to compete against an opponent of Elyria’s caliber.

“Obviously, there are a lot of things to build on moving forward,” Johnson said. “I love the opportunity to wrestle an elite team like Elyria because it shows our team what elite looks like. Elyria is not even at full strength at this point and every one of their kids that steps on the mat is ready to go and they’re technically sound.”

Ty Daugherty (132 pounds), Preston Yates (157) and Jack Hricovec (215) each secured wins in their matches against Elyria. Daugherty and Yates also picked up wins against the Rangers, making them the only Eagles to go 2-0 on the night.

Against the Rangers, the Eagles, essentially, began the match with a 36-0 advantage, with North Ridgeville forfeiting six weight classes against both opponents. Avon grew that advantage ever larger with a major decision by Mason Fitch at 138 and a Yates pin.

That didn’t stop North Ridgeville from remaining competitive in its individual matches. The Rangers picked up three pins of their own at 106 (Ian Rottari), 165 (Tyler Fair) and 215 (Tyler Duff), and senior Zach Orseno scored a major decision win at 126 lbs.

That win marked the 100th of Orseno’s high school career, and he picked up No. 101 soon after with a pin against Elyria. Orseno and Fair were the only two Rangers to win both of their matches, with Fair’s win coming by way of a medical default.

While the overall result of the dual is not what the Rangers had hoped for, Friday night was still a very special one for Orseno. For him, this milestone makes all the year-round work worth it.

“Everybody gets to practice during the season, we all get two hours of practice five or six days a week,” Orseno said. “It’s about what you’re doing outside of the wrestling room. Getting that extra workout in, going out to Milan to wrestle with some of these dudes from Elyria, go to Elyria to wrestle these hammers. I love this sport and I can’t wait to get to the next level.”

North Ridgeville coach Joel Melvin praised the work Orseno has put in during the three years the two have worked together and said the entire senior class has come a long way.

“Zach works his tail off,” Melvin said. “No matter what time of the year it is, he’s doing something. Whether it’s weightlifting, the gym, off-season wrestling. He’s going to camps. He just wants to get better. He wants to go to the next level, he wants to wrestle in college. Him, Tyler Duff, Tyler Fair, Connor Patton and Jared Counts, they were sophomores our first year (as coaches). That’s a special class to us. To see them come this far by working their tails off, it makes me very proud as a coach.”

Contact this reporter at sports@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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