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Monroeville’s Fab Four finishes first

By Don Hohler - Reflector Sportswriter  Monday March 03 2008

Monroeville's quartet of state wrestling champs are (from left) Logan Stieber, Chris Phillips, Cam Tessari and Hunter Stieber, shown here sitting at The Ohio State University's Schottenstein Center.

COLUMBUS - They came. They saw. They conquered.

An author who probably never saw a wrestling match coined that phrase a long, long time ago, but it sure fits what Monroeville’s Fab 4 did at The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center over the weekend at the 71st State Wrestling Tournament.

As predicted, Hunter Stieber, Cam Tessari, Logan Stieber and Chris Phillips set a state record for the most consecutive wins by any one school.

Freshman Hunter Stieber won at 103 with four consecutive pins, classmate
Cam Tessari claimed a hard-fought decision in the title match after three pins, sophomore Logan Stieber, the nation’s top grappler at 119, recorded two pins and two technical falls, including one in the match that earned him his second title and Chris Phillips, the No. 1 ranked 171 in the country, proved that ranking with a pin, tech fall, major decision and then a convincing technical fall win in his final match.

Despite it’s run at the early weights, Monroeville could do no better than third in the team race with 115 points.

Troy Christian won the title because of more entries, scoring 158 points. Marion Pleasant jumped back in front of Monroeville during the consolation rounds and finished second with 123.

Hunter Stieber was matched against once-beaten Richwood North Union junior Spencer Pierce (35-1) in the finals. It was a typical Hunter Stieber match, a quick takedown seven seconds into the match and then constant movement in leading 4-1 at the end of the first period. A quick move early in the second and Pierce was on his back. The hammer came down 15 seconds into the second and Stieber grabbed his 51st straight win this year.

“He was a big kid,” Stieber said. “I just took my time and kept working him, looking for a mistake. He made one early in the second and I was fortunate enough to catch him.

“I won’t take much time off. Free-style and Greco are next up and that will take some getting used to. To stay sharp at this sport you have to stay busy,” he added.

Monroeville coach Scott Bauer said Hunter Stieber wrestled  solid.

“Hunter came out, got on top with the takedown and use wings and bars to turn the kid and pin him,’’ Bauer said.

Tessari’s match was a tough one.

Twice, he had to bridge off his back against Galion Northmor freshman Tyler Heminger (42-7), who quickly closed six-points to tie the score at 9-9.

Tessari, though, managed an escape to make it 10-9 going into the final period, but had to take injury time due to the length of time Heminger had him in a virtual strangle-hold. The two continued to role through holds in the final period, action that had the crowd roaring their approval and it ended 12-9 in favor of Tessari, 39-3.

“That’ was closer than I wanted it,” Tessari said. “How many times did I have to fight off my back? I just know it scared the heck out of me for awhile. The last thing I wanted to happen was end the season with a loss.”

Bauer admitted he was nervous during the Tessari match.

“I should be getting used to it though. That’s just the way Cam wrestles,” he said. “Cam doesn’t mean to put himself into those positions, but that’s his style. That’s what he likes to do. He was rolling around the same way in the semis against Riki Reynolds (Marion Pleasant). He got the pin but it was typical Cam, the gambler. His defense is that bridge which he does very well.”

Logan Stieber, the 2007 Division III 103 champion, went to 51-0 with a workman-like 17-1 technical with 52 seconds left in the second period against West Jefferson senior Jimmy Householder (56-2).

“I am not sure what was more rewarding, watching my brother win or my getting my second title,” Stieber said. “Cam, Hunter, Chris, are all fun to watch. We work very hard at getting to this level. This is good stuff though, wrestling in front of crowds this size. I kept the pressure on this kid and never gave him time to get anything going.”

Bauer talked about Logan’s effort.

“As far as Logan’s match, Householder wanted to face him in the finals and he got his wish,’’ Bauer said. “He is a big strong kid and a good opponent for Logan. I liked the way Logan worked on him, not giving him a chance to go on offense.

“Logan probably would have pinned him in the first period had Householder not worked his way off the mat. Logan eventually tech-falled him, showing dominance for a championship match.”

What’s next for the two-time state champion?

“Work at getting No. 3. Maybe I can pin them all next year,” he joked, wearing that Stieber-like grin.

Bauer did not know much about Phillips opponent, once-beaten senior Creston Norwayne senior J.D. Smyers (44-1).

Bauer didn’t know much more after it was over because Phillips turned him every-way but loose in winning a 24-8 technical fall.

Seven seconds into the match, Phillips had a takedown. He repeated 15 seconds later and then got near-fall points with 1:09 left in the opening period.

With 20 seconds left in the opening period, Phillips had Smyers pinned but the official was slow at getting into position and Smyers got a shoulder raised. It was 12-3 at the end of one and eventually ended early in the third.

Although it looked like he steam-rolled, Phillips did not see it that way.

“This was one of the toughest tournaments I have wrestled in,” he said. “I have faced tougher individuals such as Brian Roddy from Lakewood St. Edward (Roddy won at 171 in Division I), but Roddy was just one wrestler in a tournament.

“This weekend, it was one tough kid after another. They all wanted to win. Spencer Adams from Marion Pleasant in the semi-finals was tougher than Smyers. His defense was to slow the match down. It’s frustrating to wrestle a kid you can’t catch up with."

Phillips has a goal in mind.

“Hunter (Stieber) and I want to go through our high school season undefeated. That would be something,” he said.

Bauer added, “Chris puts so much pressure on his opponent. And what a great young man. Make that what great young men.”

Bauer said he is most fortunate to have an array of this kind of talent.

“The right place at the right time,” the agriculture teacher at Monroeville said. “The Stieber boys were a given. They are Monroeville out-and-out. Cam was one of their buddies from Milan and wanted to join them. Then Chris Phillips started to work out with them. No one is this good naturally, however. They work at getting this good. This is their reward weekend.”


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