GATES MILLS—Independence wrestlers earned four top-six finishes at the 2018 Hawken Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
Richie DiGeronimo and Braden Sears both finished third while Brian Vollman placed fourth and Collin Patton finished sixth.
“It was exciting,” Independence coach Ken DeAngelis said. “For most of them, it was really new. Collin wrestled a little bit with us last year. Braden Sears hasn’t wrestled since eighth grade because he’s been hurt with football. Brian Vollman is brand new. It’s fun to see them hustle out there. They’re working hard. The technique is lacking but you can fix technique. It’s just good to see them working hard.”
DiGeronimo used a major decision and pin to reach the 120-pound semifinals then dropped into the consolation semis. He pinned Brecksville’s Grant Cozza in 44 seconds to reach the third place match where he used an overtime takedown to defeat John Marshall’s Kendrick Steele, 6-4.
“He went hard from the first whistle to the last whistle,” DeAngelis said of DeGeronimo’s overtime win. “He earned that one.”
Sears lost his tournament opener to eventual runner-up Alex Piczer of Newbury then pinned his next four opponents to finish third at 220.
He took home the tournament award for most pins in the least amount of time as he pinned four opponents in a total of 3 minutes, 31 seconds.
Vollman finished 3-2 with three pins at 182 pounds and Patton finished with three pins at 113 pounds.
“All the guys, top to bottom on our roster, did good things this weekend, enough to build on,” DeAngelis said. “Hopefully, we’ll build on that because we’ve got a big week coming up.”
Joe Botzman (120), Nathan Coudriet (145), Ashton Lertz (152), Ben Vitron (160), Seth Patterson (170), Vinnie Bucci (182) and Ricky Dilworth (285) also competed for the Blue Devils.
Vitron and Bucci both finished 2-2 while Coudriet claimed one win in the tournament.
“We are really young,” DeAngelis said. “We were all freshmen and sophomores for the most part, and they all wrestled well. Even in some of our losses, a guy like Joe Botzman, a freshman for us, he lost his first match but wrestled well and didn’t get pinned. Little things like that, we can build on.”