By Drew Karpen
February 23, 2013 7:00 a.m. SHARON —
Coming into the District 10 Class AA championships on Friday night at Sharon High School, Crawford County had a strong showing with 54 wrestlers competing. The local grapplers proved they mean business with 20 of them advancing to the semifinals and securing themselves a spot in the Northwest Region championship next week back in Sharon. There are also several wrestlers still in contention in the consolation rounds, which continue today at 8:45 a.m.
Saegertown picked up right where it left off after winning the Section 2-AA tournament last week in Sharon, advancing five wrestlers into the semifinals.
Devin Brown, Tyler Vath, Nick Monico, Matt Humes and Dylan Reynolds — who received first round byes — all breezed through their quarterfinal matches.
Brown, who is ranked No. 1 at 106 pounds in the state according to Off the Mat, won a 21-7 major decision over Lakeview’s Evan Clayton. Clayton remained in contention with his 59-second pin over Northwestern’s Austin Howard in the consolation first round.
Vath, who was last year’s district and region champion at 106 pounds, won a 13-2 major decision over Maplewood’s Daniel Simmerman at 120 pounds.
At 126, Monico outlasted Cochranton’s Jared Morrison 5-2 in the quarterfinals. Morrison stayed alive with a 13-0 major decision over Maplewood’s Henry Coyle in the consolation round.
Humes, who provided the biggest scare for the Panthers, narrowly defeated Mercer’s Rodney Brant 3-2 to advance to take on Jamestown’s Seth Thurber in today’s semis.
Reynolds was the last Panther to reach the semifinals with a 9-2 decision over Hickory’s Joe Hines.
Also alive for Saegertown after an upset victory in the opening round is Bingbong Elizon. Elizon, who came into districts with a 13-20 record, was a 4-2 victor over Northwestern’s Bruce Copeland, who entered the night with a 22-11 record. Elizon almost topped his first round performance in the quarterfinals, taking Reynolds’ Michael Bartolo into overtime. But Bartolo notched a late pin over Elizon.
Elizon later stayed alive with a pin over Maplewood’s David Marvin in 4:15 in the consolations.
Saegertown currently stands in third place as a team with 45 points. Reynolds leads the pack with 75.5 points and Fort LeBoeuf is in second with 52.
Cardinals send five into semis
Saegertown wasn’t the only Crawford County school to send a handful of grapplers to the semifinals. Cochranton put itself in prime position to make a run today with five semifinalists of its own.
“We are wrestling fantastic today,” Cochranton head coach John Svirbly said. “All of our kids can win any match if they continue to push themselves. This is when we need to peak and that’s exactly what we are doing.”
The Cardinals’ Nate Kline, Robert Boozer, Austin Andrews and Cam Cyphert all reached the semifinals after receiving a bye in the first round. Ryan Northcott was the only Redbird wrestler that made the semifinals without a bye.
Northcott started his night off with a 3-0 decision over Clay Ruffo from Mercer in the preliminary rounds at 160 pounds. Northcott was then matched up with North East’s Jordan Bryan, who came into the bout with a 28-1 record. Northcott jumped out to a 2-0 advantage and that’s when things took a turn for the worse for Bryan. Two and a half minutes into the match, Bryan needed assistance from the trainer and was unable to return, forcing him to an injury default.
“It was an unfortunate injury for the kid from North East, but Ryan was winning at the time,” Svirbly said. “A win is a win and he definitely earned it.”
Kline, at 113, was the first Cardinal to advance to the semifinals with a pin in 1:36 over Seneca’s Brad Nowakowski. Boozer, the Cards’ 145-pounder, also advanced via pin, defeating Sharon’s Andrew Campbell in 1:11.
Andrews (170) advanced by winning a close quarterfinal bout over Corry’s Shane Taubert 3-1. And Cyphert (220) pinned Union City’s Storm McDonald in 1:23.
Cochranton currently is in fourth place with 42 points.
Muskies staying strong
Jamestown entered the tournament on Friday with six grapplers, and four have advanced.
At 106 pounds, Faris Messai received a bye into the quarterfinals and then defeated Mercer’s Preston Hoover with an 8-4 decision. Messai will have his work cut out for him today with a semifinal match against Reynolds’ Seth Hogue.
Nick Floch, the Muskies’ 132-pounder, made easy work of quarterfinal opponent Troy Hejazi of Sharon, pinning him in 1:30.
Thurber defeated Corry’s Hunter Proctor 8-4 to set up the before-mentioned 138-pound semifinal matchup with Humes of Saegertown.
And at 195 pounds, Jason Shappee won two matches to advance. He claimed a 6-3 decision over Eisenhower’s Jake Johnson in the preliminaries and then upset Franklin’s Dan Geer, 6-5, in the quarterfinals. Geer entered the bout with a 23-2 record on the year.
Jamestown also cracked the top five in team standings, finishing in fifth place with 34 points.
Other locals stay in contention
The Maplewood Tigers, Union City Bears and Conneaut Eagles didn’t enjoy the same amount of success as and the previous teams but still were able to advance wrestlers into next week.
After a tough first round for Maplewood that saw both Jake and Jeremy Parsons fall into the consolations, Tigers head coach Matt Wilcox was not too pleased with the overall performance.
“It’s just not those two,” Wilcox said. “Everybody came out flat. This is a tournament where you can’t come out flat. Everybody that is here is legit. You have to come out ready to go.”
Both Parsons, along with a few other Tiger wrestlers, will have the opportunity to advance by winning in the consolation rounds. Two Tigers that made their trip back to Sharon easier for them were Zak Dennis and Isaiah Stearns.
Dennis won his first two matches of the tournament at 132 pounds with a 6-4 decision over Eisenhower’s Tyler Gourley and a 3:30 pin over West Middlesex’s Gavin Kroesen in the quarters.
“Zak (Dennis) had a rough year last year,” Wilcox said, “and for him to make it to regionals again is awesome.”
After a first-round bye, Stearns advanced in the 182-pound weight class with a 3:46 pin over Youngsville’s Stone Sivak.
Union City’s Tim Vargo and Jeff Burger advanced to the semifinals at 170 and 285 pounds, respectively. Vargo pinned Reynolds’ Austin Moffett in 3:01. And Burger flattened Sharon’s Kaleb Robertson in 1:21.
Conneaut and Lakeview each received one wrestler in the semifinals.
The Eagles’ Kyle Lukowich defeated Union City’s Dustin Tomcho in a nail-biting 1-0 decision in the quarters.
In an unfortunate turn of events, Conneaut senior Nicholas Moss was forced to withdraw to due an illness.
“He was sick and he wasn’t in school for most of the week,” Conneaut coach Tom Courtney said. “I hate to see it end like this for him but there is nothing you can do. It was unfortunate.”
For the Sailors, one of the heavyweight favorites, Sam Breese, cruised into the semis with a 1:17 pin over Cochranton’s Evan Miller.
“I just wanted to get it over quick so I didn’t have to waste too much of my energy because I know I have a big match coming up (today),” Breese said. “I know I have worked hard this season to get to this point and I’m hoping I can finish it off.”
The tournament will resume today with the completion of the first consolation matches beginning at 8:45 a.m. That will be followed by the consolation finals at 3 p.m. The championship bouts are scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.