With his top wrestler out and a team lacking experience, Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling coach Randy Jenkins wasn't expecting miracles when his team opened the season Dec. 3 at the Paulie McGhee Invitational.
"I think this our learning weekend," Jenkins said. "We're going to take this weekend and use it to get ready for the rest of the year. I know we're going to have a lot of growth this season."
Stow took ninth in the 14-team race at the McGhee with 103 points. Aurora won the team title with 296.5 points.
"I'm proud of the young guys who didn't quit and kept after it," Jenkins said. "We know it's going to get better."
After the morning pool session, Stow managed to advance only one wrestler into the top tier for the evening finals: Senior 220-pounder John Stecyk.
Unfortunately, Stecyk's draw was brutal, as he had to face Aurora All-Ohioan Bubba Arslanian in the semifinals. Arslanian scored the pin in 1:15.
In the third-place match, Stecyk had no better luck against Padua Franciscan's Bryce Carmichael and was pinned in 3:33, forcing him to settle for third place.
Where Stow did well was in the second-tier bracket, as six different Bulldogs were able to advance to the fifth-place match.
Jenkins singled out junior heavyweight Richie Morroco as having a good day, as he reached the podium in his first varsity tournament.
Morraco pinned Rootstown's Adam Baird in 3:58 to reach the fifth-place match. He then turned Parma's Ryan Madison onto his back twice in the fifth-place match to score a 6-2 win.
Meanwhile at 170 pounds, junior Justin Sears was able to pin his way to fifth place. Sears pinned Tallmadge's Connor Fox in 3:44 to reach the fifth-place match and then stuck Valley Forge's Naashon Cruz in 4:32.
Stow also got sixth-place finishes from 126-pounder Logan Hawk, 132-pounder Luke Black, 138-pounder Chase Davis and 145-pounder Tanner Henderson.
Stow had the week to prepare for a doozie of the Suburban League National Conference opener, as the Bulldogs will travel to Wadsworth Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. to face the Grizzlies and Twinsburg.
Stow will then participate at the Hudson Holiday Tournament Dec. 15 and 16.
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