Akron -- It's been no secret the Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling team has been in rebuilding mode this winter.

It's also no secret that the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament can be unforgiving on rebuilding teams.

Stow learned that lesson the hard way Jan. 18 and 19, as the Bulldogs finished 28th in the 40-team field at the Dies with 53 points. The tournament took place at Akron Firestone.

Brecksville dominated the field at the Dies with 255 points, finishing 109 points ahead of runner-up Barberton.

Stow assistant coach Joe Andrassy acknowledged the field at the Dies was solid, but said he was hoping for better results.

"I wish we could have done a little better," Andrassy said. "I hope for better places when the postseason starts."

Stow only had one wrestle reach the placement matches Saturday night. That was freshman 103-pounder Kyle Jenkins.

Jenkins tore through he first three opponents, pinning Firestone's Joe Topoly in 18 seconds, sticking Hebron Lakewood's Ray Huber in 40 seconds and shutting out Garfield Heights' Tyler Corradi 6-0.

In the semifinal, however, Jenkins ran into his nemesis: Brunswick's Josh Heil. Heil scored the pin in 1:38.

Jenkins rebounded in the consolation semifinals by shutting out Elyria's Nico O Dor 7-0.

In the third-place match, however, Jenkins had problems getting his offense going. He suffered a 13-2 loss to Chippewa's Garrett Hall and had to settle for fourth place.

"It's a tough tournament," Andrassy said. "I think Kyle could have done a little better."

Stow had hoped senior Gage Finegan could finish high on the podium, but Andrassy noted Finegan was not quite himself, as the Dies was the first weekend he had wrestled at 182 pounds.

"He cut a lot of weight this week to get down to 182," Andrassy said. "He needs to get comfortable with that weight."

Finegan had close matches throughout the weekend, as he opened with decision wins of Garfield Heights' Craig Sloan (11-7) and Green's Gabe Mahaney (4-2)

However, Finegan lost a tight 3-2 decision to Brecksville's Troy Lang in the quarterfinals.

Finegan then went to the tie-breaker round in his next match before defeating Coventry's Jerek Cropper 3-2. But Finegan was then pinned in 2:16 by Barberton's Hunter Thornton.

Finegan salvaged seventh place with a 4-3 win over Rootstown's Kyle Slaughter.

Stow did not participate in the inaugural state team tournament, but the Bulldogs were set to wrestle at the Narrah Graham Duals Jan. 26 (results were not available at press time).

The Bulldogs will wrestle at the Northeast Ohio Conference Championships Feb. 1 and 2 at Garfield Heights.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442