Meadville Tribune

Sports

March 1, 2014

Locals punch ticket to Giant Center

(Continued)

SHARON — Breese does it again

Perhaps the only surprise in Lakeview senior Sam Breese’s title run came in the semifinals was when he had to wrestle an entire match, something that the defending state champion at heavyweight hasn’t done much of this year.

Breese’s full-pull was in the semifinals, where he defeated Fort LeBoeuf’s Nate Conti 5-2.

“My semifinal match with Conti was really good,” Breese said. “It helps me with my mind and my body in those close matches. But it was a good way to cap it off with the pin (in the finals).”

That put Breese in the finals against Redbank Valley’s Ben Carillo. And Breese stamped an exclamation point on another standout tournament by decking Carillo in 1:42.

“It feels good to get the pin in front of the Sharon crowd for the last time,” Breese said. “It’s kind of like a second home here for three weeks of the year. You want to peak at states, and I don’t feel like I’ve peaked yet. Hopefully that comes this week.”

Conneaut cashes in

Somebody forgot to tell first-year wrestler Connor Overman that success shouldn’t come this quickly.

Overman, competing at 220 pounds, put together a fantastic tournament, placing second after dropping his championship bout to Reynolds’ Cole Rickert by an 8-5 decision.

But while the finals loss was a slight setback, Overman couldn’t be happier to be headed to Hershey in his first full year on the mat.

And who could blame him?

“It’s pretty big,” Overman said. “People said it would be good to place at sections, but that I would get eliminated at districts. Then they said that I did well at districts, but regionals would be too tough. People said I couldn’t do it, and I showed them I could. It’s a great feeling when people say you can’t do something, and you step up to the challenge and do it.”

Needless to say, Overman doesn’t have to look far for motivation. His attitude and wrestling style coincide with one another, and the combination has proven to be a useful duo this year.

“Half of my motivation comes from the doubters, and the other half is my will to win,” Overman said. “I love to win. Everyone does.”

Fellow Eagles joining Overman on the trip to Hershey will be 132-pounder Kyle Lukowich and 145-pounder Taylor Ellis.

Lukowich, who was a region runner-up last year, made it to the championship finals on Saturday, but fell in another tough battle with Saegertown’s Tyler Vath, losing 2-0.

Ellis’ journey was a unique one, as the senior has been dealing with illness all week. And making matters worse, he lost his opening bout on Friday.

But Ellis battled back and won his next three matches, the final of which ended with a 7-4 decision over Saegertown’s Matt Humes to earn third place.

“It’s hard for a high school kid to take in the one match at a time advice, but he trusted us,” Conneaut head coach Carmen Russo said. “It’s very rare to find a guy who loses his first match and come back and take third. That is very hard to do at this level of competition.”

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