COLUMBUS: Count Justin “Harry” Lester among the many in Columbus impressed by Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy senior Nathan Tomasello.
Lester, a CVCA graduate and Olympian, attended the state semifinals Friday at Value City Arena at Schottenstein Center and witnessed Tomasello pin Milan Edison senior Dalton Howard in one minute and three seconds.
The crowd of 11,406 fans applauded Tomasello, who can win his fourth state title in a row tonight in the Division II 120-pound state final today. Lester, 29, won four Division III state titles (103, 112, 119 and 130) before he graduated from CVCA in 2001.
“Nathan is entering an elite group, something that nobody will ever be able to take away from him,” Lester said. “He could be a four-time state champ. It is what all of these kids in here have dreamed about doing and there are only a small few who can do it. I am excited for him, and I am also freaking nervous as heck for him. I don’t even get nervous for my matches, not at all, but I was sweating and shaking a little bit earlier while watching him. I know how hard he has worked for it and I know how bad he wants it. He is a very goal-driven kid. This is exciting. I am ready to see him kick some butt [today].”
Tomasello, an Ohio State recruit, has trained with Lester at his Colorado Springs home in the summer, and the two have built a bond.
“Nathan is solid,” Lester said. “Everybody has a chink in their armor, but he doesn’t display it because he is so aggressive and he is always on the attack. All the moves he hits, it is the same moves that everyone knows is coming, but he hits them so good and practices them so hard. He can execute his technique on anyone that he wants. He tells himself that he will get it and then he goes out there and gets it.”
Tomasello, who is 50-0 this season, will meet Carrollton senior Joey Miller in the final.
“This is awesome and a great feeling,” Tomasello said. “I just really trust in the Lord. I know I have one more big match coming up, and I can’t overlook it. I have to stay focused on this last match. I felt really healthy going into this weekend, and I feel like I am peaking and wrestling at my best.”
Revere’s Suglio wins
Revere senior Stephen Suglio pinned Lexington senior Jacob Kasper in 2:54 to put himself one win shy of earning a Division II state title at 182.
“If I wrestle my way, then there is nobody that can beat me,” Suglio said. “It worked. I scouted him out and you just have to keep things in the back of your mind. You don’t want to change your style to fit theirs. Make them fit their style to yours. That is how you can control the match. I want to be the aggressor and not give an inch.”
Suglio (48-2) has eight pins this postseason.
“I am just really proud of all the hard work he put in in the offseason, and no kid deserves it more than this kid,” Revere coach Dan Mosher said. “We had a game plan going in and he executed it perfectly. The biggest thing is he believes he can be a state champ.”
St. V-M advances three
St. Vincent-St. Mary has three in Division II state title matches; senior Mike Rix (126), junior Ryan Skonieczny (138) and junior Aaron Adkins (182).
“The kids put in the time and wrestled a lot of matches during the summer,” St. V-M coach Anthony Gary said. “We traveled out of state in the fall for matches. Their dedication is paying off.”
Skonieczny said it has been a goal to be a state champ since age 8.
“I am thinking about getting the gold right now,” Skonieczny said. “We have three kids in the final, and every day we push each other in the room.”
Lake’s Carson advances
Lake sophomore Zac Carson rebounded from fourth place at the district tournament to advance to the state final at 132 in Division I.
“He won a junior high state title, so he knows what it takes to win and be a champion,” Lake coach Mike Mattingly said. “He is a hard worker. He felt he didn’t wrestle his best last weekend, but he still made it out to state. We knew this was a new weekend.”
Carson is 45-6 this season.
“This feels great,” Carson said. “Like Coach said, I didn’t wrestle my best last week, but I knew if I wrestled up to my ability I could be in the finals.
“I felt a little more relaxed this week to be honest. District is an interesting week. Once you get down to state, anything can happen.”
Tiger on the prowl
Massillon senior Ivan McClay (42-2) hugged Tigers coach Gil Donahue on Friday following a victory that puts him one win from a Division I state title at 126.
“I have to wrestle my best and wrestle my hardest,” McClay said. “I don’t think you can beat me when I am at my 100 percent. My game plan for [today] is to go hard or go home. I know it’s pretty much cliché, but that is how I feel.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.