Jacob Spino and Paul Deely won their respective weight classes and six other Independence wrestlers earned a spot on the podium to lead Independence to a second consecutive second place finish at the Hawken Invitational Tournament over the weekend.
Massillon Perry won the event with 258 points. Independence was second with 174 and Pymatuning Valley was third with 137 ½.
“For the first weekend of the season it was about as good as I expected,” said Independence head coach Ken DeAngelis. “The kids worked really hard. We placed eight out of 10 varsity kids that we entered in the tournament and the two that didn’t place were both young, new kids and they each won a match, so we had all 10 of our varsity wrestlers either place or won a match. I was extremely pleased.”
Spino, a returning state qualifier, won the 145 pound weight class after finishing second last season at 138.
He pinned all four of his opponents in a total of 9 minutes, 16 seconds.
“He was absolutely businesslike this weekend,” DeAngelis said. “He had four pins out of four matches. He just dominated his competition this weekend. He was just businesslike. He is extremely focused and has one thing on his mind and that’s to be a state champ. He started that process this weekend.”
Deely, another returning state qualifier, won his second straight heavyweight title at Hawken with two pins, an overtime decision and a 5-1 win over Massillon Perry’s Adam Gregorie in the championship bout.
“Paul has learned how to win as a heavyweight. That is easier said than done,” DeAngelis said. “He’s very comfortable out there in close matches. When he steps out on the mat he expects to win so close matches don’t really concern him. The kid he had in the finals was a big kid from Massillon Perry, that’s a Division I power, so even if you’re dealing with a second-teamer from Massillon Perry he’s still a really good athlete. He just controlled his finals match and had a really nice weekend.”
A.J. Senick won the 182 pound title in 2013 but settled for second this season at 195. He dropped his championship match to Benedictine’s Max Furst, 18-9.
“He had a nice tournament,” DeAngelis said. “We ran into a real tough kid from Benedictine. We had a little bit of trouble with the style match-up. A.J. kind of got taken out of his style and the Benedictine kid kind of dictated some of the tempo early and that kind of threw us a little behind. When you’re trying to play catchup you’re kind of approaching the match a different way than you are when you get out to a lead. It kind of rattled him a little bit but he had a nice tournament.”
Drew Benos, Nick Mroczynski and Tanner Hadick all finished third for the Blue Devils.
Benos lost in the 132 pound semifinals to the eventual champion but rebounded with a pin in his third place match.
“Drew Benos, he actually just had his ear drained on Thursday because he has Cauliflower Ear and he was wrestling on Friday so he was in a little bit of pain this weekend but he still put in a heck of a performance,” DeAngelis said. “He pinned in his third and fourth place match and he only lost to the kid that won the tournament. He had a nice tournament.”
Mroczynski, a freshman, went 3-1 at 138 with a loss to eventual champion Cody Rhoades, a returning state alternate from Grand Valley in the semifinals.
“We gave the kid that won the tournament, who was a returning state alternate, we gave him his closest match of the whole tournament,” DeAngelis said. “We lost 5-0 to him and it was a one move match. We got caught and had to fight off our back. He had an outstanding tournament. I expect big things out of him this year and for the next four years.”
Hadick dropped a 9-7 decision in the 152 pound quarterfinals but recovered with four straight wins to finish third.
Nick Sia finished fourth at 170.
“Tanner Hadick and Nick Sia, they’re both very strong senior leaders,” Hadick said. “They had a nice start to the season.”
Sophomore Kevin Clymer returned to wrestling after a one year hiatus and finished fifth at 160.
“He’s got a little bit of rust to shake off but he’s another hard working, good kid that is fundamentally sound,” DeAngelis said.
Sophomore Luke Swauger and freshman Josh Stasek also competed for the Blue Devils. Swauger finished 1-2 at 120 and Stasek was 1-2 at 220.
“Our two young guys, Luke Swauger, who wrestled 120 for us, he’ll eventually be our 113 pounder. He might be the only 6-foot-1, 113 pounder in the state. His first high school match he won and had a nice win,” DeAngelis said. “Our other young kid at 220, Josh Stasek, also won his first high school match this weekend. Both of them did a nice job as well.”
Overall, DeAngelis saw a lot of positives out of his wrestlers in the first week of action.
“The nice thing about this weekend as a whole, as a team, we figured out what we do well,” he said. “We’ve got some areas we need to improve on but my whole goal as a coach is to prepare for sectionals, districts and state. We got a chance this weekend to see what we need to work on and we’ll be a better team next week then we were this week.”
The Blue Devils host the North Coast Classic this weekend.
Other area champions included Louis DeMarco of Hawken at 120, Rhoads at 138, David Monturi of Wickliffe at 152 and Tom McKale of Newbury at 182.
How they finished: 1. Massillon Perry 258; 2. Independence 174; 3. Pymatuning Valley 137½; 4. Newbury 136; 5. Brecksville 127.5 6. John Marshall 97; 7. Wickliffe 92.5 8. Massillon Perry B 82; 9. Hawken 80; 10. Willoughby South 65.5
106—Championship: Perelka, Breck, d. Catanzarite, BreckB, 1-0; Third place: Tausch, MP p. Couch, New, 2:05; Fifth place: Hlifka, Hawk p. Carabalo, JM, 2:22. 113—Championship: Rivera, JM, p. Butari, Wick, 5:00; Third place: Turner, WS, p. Lambes, MP, 0:49; Fifth place: Pits, JMB Advanced through BYE. 120—Championship: DeMarco, Hawk, md. Wochna, Breck, 9-1; Third place: Skleres, PV, md. Farkas, WS, 9-1; Fifth place: Milin, MP, md. Shummey, Parma, 15-2. 126—Championship: VanHorn, JM, p. Kopen, MP, 1:01; Third place: Lampert, New, p. FIndependenceura, Bene, 1:15; Fifth place: Bilie, Wick, p. Weston, NewB, 2:57. 132—Championship: Define, MP, p. Hopes, PV, 1:32; Third place: Benos, Independence, p. Savage, WH, 3:57; Fifth place: Sidhu, Wick, md. Walsh, WRA, 15-6. 138—Championship: Rhoads, GV, md. Baratz, Hawk, 2-1; Third place: Mroczynski, Independence, d. Yeary, PV, 3-0; Fifth place: Bonano, Wick, p. Boise, HawkB, 2:04. 145—Championship: Spino, Independence, p. Overholt, MP, 4:26; Third place: Cox, Hawk, d. Yoke, Breck, 6-0; Fifth place: Chambers, New, d. Frutschy, MPB, 10-8. 152—Championship: Monturi, Wick, md. Scury, WH, 17-7; Third place: Hadick, Independence, p. Adorjan, MP, 4:56; Fifth place: Sternad, Breck, p. Rasmusen, GV, 2:51. 160—Championship: Blackiston, MP, p. Demasimo, Tri, 0:34; Third place: Myers, MPB, by default over Baker, PV; Fifth place: Clymer, Independence, d. Muray, ND-CL, 1-0. 170—Championship: Baleon, MP, p. Lenart, MPB, 1:08; Third place: Wilis, PV, d. Sia, Independence, 7-0; Fifth place: Wats, CCCB, p. Watkins, W, 0:47. 182—Championship: McKale, New, md. Roe, WRA, 19-9; Third place: Baker, MP, p. Has, MPB, 0:18; Fifth place: Fenstermaker, NewB, p. Wesdemiotos, TriB, 1:10. 195—Championship: Furst, Bene, md. Senick, Independence, 18-9; Third place: Marker, New, p. Hatcher, Breck, 1:14; Fifth place: Evans, MP, d. Calhoun, JM, 14-8. 220—Championship: Spear, P, md. Campbel, Breck, 2-1; Third place: Dodge, PV, p. Ule, Newbury, 3:46; Fifth place: Wise, MP, p. Wise, MPB, 2:25. 285—Championship: Deely, Independence, d. Gregorie, MP, 5-1; Third place: Pope, CCC, p. Marshal, WSB, 3:27; Fifth place: Draucker, Tri, d. OBrien, WS, 2-1.