By Pete Chiodo
Mitch Roe has a pretty good view from up in the announcers booth at the Meadville Area Senior High School gymnasium, where he’s been positioned the last five years or so as one of the emcees for the Tool City Wrestling Tournament.
What sticks out for Roe, though, is how the sport continues to thrive on the gym floor below. And he can’t help but notice the role he himself has played in it.
“You stand up here when you’re doing your announcing,” said Roe, “and you look out and you see an Academic All American, Jim Cessna, he’s refereeing now. I see Jason Walker is refereeing. From Thomas Jefferson High School, (head coach) Rudy Nesbitt, who I had in 8th grade and coached him through junior high school. You look over and you see the other guys that are coaching — Barry (Anderson, Meadville’s head coach).
“You see all these guys that are coaching and refereeing now that you had coached. There’s no better feeling. It’s like, hey, you did something. It’s really nice.”
In between announcing mat assignments and bout results during Saturday’s round, Roe made a brief appearance at center mat where he was recognized for his many years of service to the sport.
His resume includes 11 years as coach of the Meadville Junior High program, five years as coach for the now-defunct Allegheny College team, and 17 years as a coach with the Meadville varsity program.
Roe’s sizable role in area wrestling was described in a short reading and he was presented with a plaque from Tool City’s tournament director Ed Longstreth.
And of course, Roe has a history with him, too.
“Oh sure, Ed, I coached him in high school and college,” Roe says with a laugh.
Stone, Myers named OWs
Clearfield senior Christian Stone and Boiling Springs sophomore Korbin Myers were named Outstanding Wrestlers for the 2013 Tool City Tournament. Stone was the Class AAA award winner. Myers took the Class AA title.
Stone, wrestling at 132, notched three pins and one major decision on the path to his second straight tournament championship.
He saved the most entertaining match for last, however. The final paired him with McDowell’s Nick Gibson. Last year the two met in the semifinals, but Gibson had to bow out of the match.
“(Gibson) was beating me 4-2 and he ended up breaking his ankle going into the second,” said Stone. “I was hoping to come back and beat him in regular fashion and getting a win I could deserve.”
Stone got what he was looking for, but it didn’t come easy. Gibson rallied from a 3-1 deficit to make it a 4-4 match at the end of three periods, forcing overtime. Then late in OT, Stone scrambled out a fierce attack by Gibson and turned the Trojan onto his back to record a bracket-winning fall with 2.5 seconds left in the extra period.
“He got in a shot and the first thing going through my mind was, ‘Wow, he’s in deep,’” said Stone. “But we train not to give up. And something worked. I just went harder. It worked.”
It was also a second title for the sophomore Myers. Wrestling at 113, the returning state runner-up drew a bye in the first round, then advanced to the championship bout with back-to-back pins. In the ultimate match, he faced a stiff challenge from Cathedral Prep’s Jake Gromacki.
Myers recorded a takedown late in the first period. Then both wrestlers showed their ability to ride in the second and third. First, Gromacki held Myers down for two minutes. Myers then kept Gromacki on the mat for most of the third, before letting him loose right before final buzzer, holding on to a 2-1 win.
“We had some pretty crazy scrambles going on,” Myers said. “Fortunately I got two (points) in the last two seconds of the first period. Then he rode me out on top in the second. He’s really good on top. Then I was fortunate enough to ride him out. And then I cut him at the end just to stay safe and not give up a reversal with two seconds left.”
The most takedowns of this year’s Tool City Tournament belonged to Boiling Springs’ sophomore Grant Bond, who racked up 16 on his way to the title at 120. Bond was an 8-2 winner over McDowell senior Paul Deitz in the final.
The fastest pin of this year’s event belonged to General McLane senior Alex Thayer, who flattened Warren junior Dan Henry in 12 seconds in their quarterfinal bout. Thayer went on to lose to runner-up Garrette Reinwald of Fort LeBoeuf in the semis, but bounced back to take third place, beating Howland’s Andrew Rolfe in a 10-2 major decision in the final consy.
Earning the title of most wins in the least amount of time was Greenville senior heavyweight Braden Gladysz. He notched four falls in the tournament in a total time of 10:48. He finished the event in fifth with a fall in 2:55 over McLane’s Ian Mallory in the fifth-place match.
And although it wasn’t announced, DuBois senior Landon Hanna spent the least amount of time on the mat on his way to a title. Along with an opening-round bye, Hanna had one pin in 30 seconds, a second fall in 1:22, and he recorded a 54-second pin over Reinwald in the final. In all, Hanna was in action for 2:46 while picking up his second Tool City trophy.