Thanks to a couple forfeits and some timely wins, the Sandy Valley Cardinals wrestling squad lived to fight another night in the inaugural OHSAA state duals tournament.
The Cardinals took on Loudonville in the final match of the evening, after Loudonville bested Orville by the final score of 40-24.
Sandy Valley took the dual by the final of 40-28 and will move on to face the three seed, Northwestern, on Jan. 30 at Waynedale High School. The winner of that match will square off against the winner of the Waynedale-Tuscarawas Valley match to decide who moves on to the Regional Finals.
Northwestern will come in hungry. The Cardinals squeaked out a dual win earlier in the season by the count of 39-35 as the match came down to the final dual of the night as Sam Groff won a 3-2 decision that registered the win.
Securing wins in the Loudonville dual for the Cardinals were Hunter Vanderpool (106 pound, forfeit), Brandon Carbenia (113 pound, forfeit), Evan Offenberger (120 pound, pin in 3:35), Joe Newman (126 pound, pin in 2:26), Eric Cassidy (138 pound, major decision 10-2), Groff (182 pound, pin in :18) and Nick Smith (220 pound, forfeit).
The Cardinals did not have much time to celebrate as they were right back at it on Friday (Jan. 25) and Saturday (Jan. 26) when they traveled to the St. Mary's Invitational.
Sandy Valley finished fifth overall behind champion Tuslaw. Rounding out the top five were Western Reserve (second), Genoa Area (third) and Northwestern (fourth).
Finishing sixth through eleventh were Tinora, Huron, Seneca East, Norwayne, St. Mary's CC and Brookville.
Leading the way for the Cardinals and finishing the event with a 9-0 record was Groff, who took home the title in the 182 pound weight class. Groff now stands at 37-0 on the season.
Fishing second in the 126 pound weight class was Offenberger. He compiled a record of 8-1 over the two day event.
Following the OHSAA Regional Semifinals on Jan. 30, the Cardinal matmen will then travel to Norton High School today (Jan. 31) to participate in a non-conference triangular meet with Norton and Fairless. Wrestling is set to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The Cards will then participate in the IVC tournament on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Ridgewood High School. The meet is set to begin at 10 a.m.