CUYAHOGA FALLS: Walsh Jesuit, Archbishop Hoban and St. Vincent-St. Mary continued the annual three-team round-robin tournament to conclude the team wrestling regular season at Walsh’s “The Dome” on Thursday night.
St. V-M went 2-0, Hoban finished 1-1 and an injury-riddled Walsh dropped both matches.
The round robin lost some of its luster due to injuries and a higher number of forfeits in the later matches than usual. It was still a banner night for one wrestler, St. V-M junior Ryan Skonieczny (138-pound weight class), who recorded his 100th and 101st career wins.
Skonieczny’s milestone win — he said win No. 100 had been a goal of his but he hadn’t been counting and didn’t realize he entered Thursday with 99 — came on a pin of Hoban sophomore Dayvon Milbry at 3:45 in first match. He then followed that up with a second pin, this time at 3:47 over Walsh sophomore James Kelly.
“It’s a testament of his maturity, his work ethic, it’s just great,” St. V-M coach Anthony Gary said. “Something’s kinda clicked this year. He wants to be a state champ, he wants to be on the podium. He spends extra time in practice. He’s doing all the things that are necessary for him to be a state champ.”
A two-time state placer, Skonieczny has come close to his goal in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Now a junior, he’s oozing with confidence that he can reach the top of the podium in a few weeks.
“I’ve been doing two-a-days, running in the mornings and this year is gonna be my peak,” Skonieczny said. “I’m definitely gonna get the title this year at the state tournament. I’ve been busting my butt, doing runs at six o’clock, lifting at 10 o’clock — this is gonna be my year.”
Helping St. V-M was three-time state placer and one-time state champion Mike Rix, a senior who won a 6-4 decision and had a pin in the second period at 132 pounds.
St. V-M junior Salvatore Ferrise and sophomore Garrett Carter had perhaps the best night of any wrestlers, each notching two pins, all in the first period.
St. V-M beat Hoban 53-22 and Walsh 63-6.
“As a team, we’re starting to come around,” Gary said. “Kids are starting to realize their goals and I think they’re gonna peak at the right time.”
For Hoban, senior Michael Belknap won by forfeit and then took his only real match by a major decision of 14-3 at 145 pounds. At 138 pounds, Milbry, who lost to Skonieczny but earlier in the night had a pin at 3:20, has been one of the Knights’ most improved wrestlers. His win total now stands at 15, up from one last season.
“He’s by far the most improved wrestler, and we just keep working with them,” Hoban coach Rich Lann said. “I’ve got high hopes for the next two years.”
Belknap, wrestling at 145, up from 138 last year, is setting up a run to Columbus.
“He’s got his work cut out for him in districts, but he’s working hard,” Lann said. “Now, it’s not about teaching, it’s about staying in shape and the rest comes from the heart. It doesn’t come from anything but that. If you have it in your heart, you’ll get to Columbus.”
Walsh, as a team, has been struggling to field a roster. The Warriors didn’t have a deep roster to start the season, and have six wrestlers out with injuries.
Freshman Spencer Haught (120 pounds), freshman Johnny McCarty (126 pounds) and junior Nolan Whitely (132 pounds) all won close decisions against Hoban. The Warriors just couldn’t do much else with so many wrestlers out.
“We did the best we could tonight,” Walsh coach Fred Daugherty said. “Nolan’s been wrestling well and Johnny did well in the first match. But it’s been a tough year.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.