INDEPENDENCE—Senior Brian Vollman pinned his way to a sectional championship on Saturday.
The Independence 182-pounder was one of six Blue Devils to clinch their spot among the top four to earn a berth into next weekend’s Division III district tournament at Garfield Heights.
“It was a good day,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “It’s been a crazy year and we graduated a lot the last couple of years but we were sitting in second place as a team for most of the day, and there were some good teams there. To finish in third place with six qualifiers, I couldn’t be happier.”
Vollman opened the tournament by pinning Mogadore’s Brian Davis in 1 minute, 1 second then advanced to the championship match with a 3:57 pin of Garfield’s Jonathon Hundzsa.
He closed out the day by pinning Black River’s Charlie Wells in 2:52.
“For a couple of years, it was always Brian being Brian and finding a way to win and now it’s to a point where Brian pinned a state-ranked kid in the sectional finals or Brian beat a state-ranked kid,” DeAngelis said. “He just continues to win. He listens well and is so coachable, and he’s a great athlete.”
Vollman, who improved to 25-2 on the year, drew a No. 1 seed at the district tournament. He’ll begin his quest for a state berth against Tuslaw’s Aydan Hamrick, who finished fourth at the Berkshire sectional.
“He’s in a great spot,” DeAngelis said. “Nobody is really looking at him and he hasn’t gotten much notoriety this year so we’ll keep wrestling the way he wrestles and see where he can go.”
Seniors Collin Patton and Ben Vitron and junior Jack Valenti all reached the finals but settled for second place.
Patton, a 120-pounder, opened the tournament with a pin and then beat Cuyahoga Heights’ Antonio Chieffalo in the semifinals, 13-6. Garfield’s Joey Bond, a state alternate last season, pinned Patton in the championship bout.
Valenti began his day with an 18-1 technical fall and then beat Cuyahoga Heights’ Seth Kucia in the semifinals, 11-10. Fairview senior Jack Elmore scored a technical fall over Valenti in the finals.
Vitron pinned Alexander Trusso of Cuyahoga Heights in a 220-pound preliminary bout and then flattened Fairview’s Alx Barnhardt in the semifinals. Mogadore’s Michael Lowe pinned Vitron in the championship match.
“Two of those three, Valenti and Vitron, they’ve had up and down years,” DeAngelis said. “For them to make it to the sectional finals was a huge accomplishment. They both had great semifinal matches to get them there.”
Patton, who improved to 19-9, will open the district tournament against Tuslaw freshman Sam Knouse (25-10). Valenti, who improved to 11-10, will wrestle David Anderson junior Keegan Mahafkey (11-4) in the first round at the district tournament and Vitron, who is now 11-10, will begin his district tournament against Mapleton sophomore Landen Sword (19-7).
Sophomore Vinnie Kubicki and senior David Dorko also placed among the top four and will wrestle at the district tournament. Kubicki was fourth at 113 and Dorko placed fourth at 195.
Kubicki (17-12) drew Rootstown sectional champ Landen Duncan, a sophomore from Chalker who is 13-5 on the year. Dorko, who improved to 16-9, will face Rootstown sophomore Lane McKenzie (23-5) in the first round.
Khalil McDonald (106) and Richie DiGeronimo (132) both finished fifth and will be district alternates. They’ll be added to the district bracket if one of the top four wrestlers from their sectional is unable to compete.
“In the world we’re in, there’s a chance one of the kids in front of them might not be able to wrestle, so they’ll practice this week and see if we can’t ride this thing for another week,” DeAngelis said.