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Monroeville grad Tessari wins NAIA national championship

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Updated Mar 4, 2018 at 12:44 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa — It was a long journey back, but the wrestling career of Cam Tessari came to a close in a familiar spot: atop the podium.

The 2011 Monroeville graduate, a four-time state champion for the Eagles, won the individual national title at 149 pounds on Saturday, wrestling for Lindsey Wilson College at the NAIA championships at the Jacobson Exhibition Center in Des Moines.

Tessari earned the program’s sixth individual NAIA national title after topping Mid-South Conference foe Tres Leon, of Cumberland (Ky.), by a 4-1 decision in the championship match.

Tessari and Leon had already met twice prior to Saturday’s championship match, with each wrestler winning once. Leon edged out Tessari in the regular season matchup 9-8, while Tessari won the MSC tournament championship match, 7-3.

In the rubber match, it was Tessari (23-1) taking control over the final two periods to again have his hand raised in victory.

After a scoreless first period, Tessari — who was the No. 1 seed in the weight class — started the second period down and scored a reversal to take a 2-0 lead just 18 seconds into the period. With 57 seconds left, Leon broke free to earn an escape point, cutting Tessari's lead in half.

Leon chose to go neutral to start the third period. After fending off multiple attacks, time was winding down and it appeared Tessari was going to hold on for a tight 2-1 win.

However, he was able to score a takedown with just five seconds left in the match to win the title with a 4-1 decision.

It was the second tight match for the former Monroeville star, who survived a 3-2 decision over Jake Wilson (Midland, Neb.) to reach the quarterfinals. He then posted a pin in 4:55 to reach the semifinals on Saturday morning, where he was as dominant as ever.

Facing Joseph Alexander, of Simpson (Calif.), Tessari won a commanding 18-1 technical fall at the 5:49 mark after racking up multiple four-point near falls to secure a spot in the finals.

After losing in overtime of the title match a year ago at 157, Tessari wrapped up his career at LWC as a two-time finalist and champion with a record of 62-4.

At Monroeville, Tessari was a four-time state champion with a staggering 187-6 record. He was part of a four-man wrecking crew likely to never to be duplicated in Ohio wrestling circles.

Tessari, Logan and Hunter Stieber, and Chris Phillips, each finished as four-time state champions in a five-year span — the only program to claim that many four-time champions in Ohio history.

They are just four out of 28 four-time state champs in Ohio, and led the Eagles to the Division III state team championship in 2010, along with a state runner-up (2009) and third-place (2011) finish.

Tessari won individual state titles at 112, 130, and twice at 140 pounds.

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