Early in the season, one could be forgiven for thinking Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling would be hard-pressed to advance anyone to districts.
With All-Ohioan Joe Andrassy out with an injury and a team full of inexperienced wrestlers, the Bulldogs looked low on options.
However, Andrassy returned to the lineup to start February looked to be back in top form Feb. 25 at the Division I sectional tournament at Kenston.
This year, he's not going to districts alone.
Junior heavyweight Richie Morrocco joined Andrassy as district qualifiers, as both wrestlers reached the finals at Kenston.
Team-wise, Stow finished ninth in the 11-team field at Kenston with 82 points. Austintown-Fitch won the team title with 223.5 points.
Andrassy was given the top seed at 160 pounds and wrestled like the favorite.
Andrassy opened with an 8-2 win over Solon's Alex Horodynskyy, pinned Walsh Jesuit's Sammy McCarty in 3:39 and got past Kenston's Joe Koplow 9-2 to reach the final.
In the final, Andrassy was able to catch Fitch's Michael Ferree on his back and pin him in 4:44 to take the title.
Andrassy noted he felt his semifinal match was the tougher bout, noting every opponent from this point forward will be challenging.
"You just have to be ready to wrestle every match," Andrassy said. "It will be tough because everyone is good at districts."
"I'm very happy with both of them," said Stow coach Randy Jenkins. "Joe has a goal to be in the state final and he's worked very hard to get to it."
Jenkins noted Morrocco's accomplishment was impressive, given this is his first season of high school wrestling.
"Richie shows you what a good athlete can do," Jenkins said. "He's worked hard all season and he's gotten so much better from the beginning."
Morrocco opened by pinning Twinsburg's Devion Copeland in 1:27 and then reached the finals by scoring a 6-2 win over Hudson's Jack Nord.
The final vs. Fitch's Tyler Petrey was a slow-moving affair, but a pair of stalling calls on Morrocco proved the difference, as Petrey won 2-1. Stow's coaches were furious with the call after the match.
"I'm glad someone is coming with me to districts," Andrassy said.
Stow will have one district alternate, as 138-pounder Tanner Henderson pinned Kent Roosvelt's Duncan Barr in 2:09 to take fifth place.
The Bulldogs also had 132-pounder Logan Reiheld, 170-pounder Justin Sears and 195-pounder Tim Manley finish in sixth place at Kenston.
The Division I district tournament at North Canton Hoover was set for March 3 and 4, but results were not available at press time. The top four finishers in each weight class at Hoover advance to the state tournament.
The Division I state tournament will begin March 9 at Value City Arena.