ASHLAND: Lakewood St. Edward obliterated virtually all of the competition at the Division I district meet at Ashland University, winning the team championship with a jaw-?dropping 344 points, sending all 14 wrestlers to state and winning 10 of the 14 weight classes.
“This might be the best St. Edward team ever,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “Anyone seeing the draws we got probably thought we would get two or three guys down to state, not six.”
Still, the mission remained the same for everyone else lucky enough to survive — get to the Division I state championships.
The Grizzlies finished fourth with 131.5 points and will send six wrestlers to state, led by heavyweight champion Nick Tavanello (38-1).
Seeking his third state championship, Tavanello, a senior, easily defeated Garrett Gray of Oregon Clay 7-3 to win his fourth district title.
“I am in much better shape now than I was in the beginning of the season,” Tavanello said.
Kagan Squire’s hopes to win a state title took a slight detour. Squire lost in the 132-pound championship semifinals 4-1 to Edgar Bright of St. Edward, but he ended up qualifying for the state meet, taking third with a 5-1 win over Brandon Egnor of Elyria.
Squire still believes he can win the state title and said he learned a lot from the loss.
“It was a close match. I only got one shot on him and that is not going to be enough against a caliber wrestler like him,” Squire said. “I have to keep moving.”
“It is a whole new tournament next week,” Gramuglia added.
Senior Brandon Jones was second at 126 pounds, opting to forfeit the championship match to Dean Heil of St. Edward.
Jones (18-6), who has been injured throughout the season, won a 10-7 decision against Johnny Spinkton of Lorain in the championship semifinals to earn his trip to state.
Chris Baughman (41-8) won a hard-fought 4-2 match over Brian Brunner of North Olmsted to place third. Mathias Zollinger, a junior at 120, and C. J. Edwards at 160 each finished fourth.
Colin Rininger of Highland was one of the few wrestlers to spoil the St. Edward domination.
Rininger, a senior, stunned Matt VanCuren of St. Edward, pinning him with 31.4 seconds left in the match after the two were tied 3-3.
Afterward, Rininger (32-7) screamed and shouted, soaking up a moment he had never experienced in his wrestling career.
“I have never won anything like this, not even in youth wrestling. I was second at sectional before, second at district last year, and this is the first time I’ve won at district,” Rininger said.
Highland wound up fifth in the team standings with 79 points and will be represented in Columbus by Rininger, Adam Kluk and Lazar Vilimonovic.
Kluk was second after losing 3-0 to Mike Martin of St. Edward in the championship final and Vilimonovic finished third at 160.
Alex Woicehovich (32-9) of Nordonia will be in Columbus, placing second at 220 with two pins and a major decision.
Medina will send seniors Matt Hammer and Ryan Hornack to state.
Hammer (40-5) placed third after a 6-1 victory over Ryan Roth of Perry. In the championship semifinals, Hammer lost 4-3 in overtime to Angelo Amenta of Oregon Clay, then needed and got a 6-3 victory in the consolation semis over Eli Garcia of Lorain.
“I was really motivated [against Garcia] and this will help me keep moving next week,” Hammer said.
Hornack (36-9) was fourth after losing 7-2 in his final bout to Richie Screptock of Oregon Clay.
Micah Carter of Perry lost just his second match of the season, falling 8-2 in the 195-pound title match to James Suvak of St. Edward.
Tyler Hughes and Tim Reagan of Brunswick also advanced, finishing fourth at 170 and 285, respectively.
Copley’s Isaiah Wheeler (32-3) finished third at 182 pounds, capping a fine tournament by pinning Farris Aziz of Midpark in the third period.
Read the high school blog at www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/.