Villa Angela-St. Joseph will send three wrestlers to the Division III Garfield Heights District tournament on March 6-7 where the trio of Vikings will compete for a spot in the state tournament in Columbus the following weekend.
Joey Tromba (132 pounds), Daniel Cervenik (170) and Kevin Mullin (182) are still alive after qualifying at the sectional tournament at Independence.
Tromba was the sectional runner-up, losing to a state placer from Lutheran West. Cervenik and Mullin each battled through the consolation bracket at Independence to make the top four and punch a ticket to the district tournament.
VASJ also had a pair of district alternates with Mar-Cel English at 160 and Jacob Kozak at 220 wrestling well in the sectionals, but missing an automatic berth to Garfield Heights.
This continued a strong winter for VASJ, said Coach Bob Mullin.
“We had three district qualifiers, two alternates and a handful of sixth place finishers, and the team took sixth out of 13 teams at the sectional, so I was pleased with that,” Mullin said. “Our three captains we expected to get out and they did, so really overall I thought we had a great tournament at the sectionals.
“I think that Joey Tromba will be a favorite to get out of the district and make it to state and Cervenik and Mullin both have a chance. You don’t overlook anyone, but you don’t give anyone too much credit either. This is an exciting time.”
Tromba will take a 35-8 record into the district tournament, trying to go a step further than a year ago when he was a state alternate.
“Joey is wrestling very well and he could very well see the boy he faced at the sectional – Tim Mecklenberg – who went to Columbus last year,” Mullin said.
As for the season as a whole, there have been plenty of successes, including another Jeff Hunter Memorial Spaghetti Dinner at the school as part of a tri-match in February and hosting the North Coast League meet at newly refurbished Viking Village.
“I think our guys did very well, especially at the tail end of the year, and now it is time to focus on the district and hopefully on to state after that,” Mullin said.
King Seyou, Matt Villegas and Nick Follett are among the other VASJ wrestlers who have had solid seasons.