Led by individual champion Will Davidson, three Kirtland wrestlers are head to the state championships.
Davidson claimed the 120-pound title at the Division III Garfield Heights District Tournament while Brennon Braud and Anthony Gencarelli both placed fourth at 182 and 195 pounds, respectively.
Braud and Gencarelli both competed at the district tournament last season but finished 1-2 and 2-2, respectively.
Davidson’s success at 120 pounds sparked both Braud and Gencarelli in the afternoon session.
Davidson opened the tournament on Friday with a 4 minute, 21-second pin over Wellington’s Wayde Bowman and then advanced to the semifinals with a 9-6 win over Rittman’s Joshua Gibson, who went on to place fifth.
A 6-5 win over Chagrin Valley Conference rival J.P. Wrobel of Crestwood sent Davidson to the championship round. Wrobel went on to place third.
Davidson yielded the first takedown of the championship match to South Range’s Raymond Cmil but evened up the score with a reversal late in the first period. Cmil added a second takedown early in the second period but Davidson escaped to cut his deficit to 4-3 heading into the final period. Davidson, who chose to start in the bottom position, quickly recorded an escape to tie the match and scored a takedown 10 seconds later to take a 6-4 lead. Cmil escaped to close out the scoring.
Braud won his first bout by default and then dropped into the consolation bracket after a 3-0 loss to Northwestern’s Hal Huber. A pin and a 7-4 decision over a state-ranked wrestler who placed fourth last season sent Braud to the third-place match and earned his state qualification. Braud lost again to Huber to close out the tournament but this time the score was 3-2.
Gencarelli used a pin and a 3-0 decision to advance to the semifinals where he lost to eventual district champion Jaidyn Sapp of Southeast, 7-3.
Gencarelli then beat 2020 district runner-up Tate Gesier of Dalton in the blood round to earn his top-four finish. Smithville’s Chandler Keener topped Gencarelli for third place, 6-2.
Kirtland has advanced two wrestlers to the state tournament on many occasions but this is the first time three Hornets will compete at state in over 25 years, if ever.
State pairings are due to be announced by noon on Monday.
Dan Cosimi contributed to this story