AURORA -- Four Greenmen grapplers battled through a super tough North Canton Hoover district tournament March 4 to advance to the Division I state tournament this weekend in Columbus.
One local wrestler -- Jarrod Brezovec -- claimed a district championship at 132 pounds and will take his 47-0 season record to Columbus. In Columbus last year, he placed sixth. He is now a four-time state qualifier.
Also moving on to Columbus are two district runnersup -- Kyle Petersen at 106 pounds and Jack Gorman at 120 pounds -- along with Bubba Arslanian at 220.
As a team, the Greenmen placed fourth in the district with 115.6 points behind Wadsworth, Massillon Perry and Brecksville-Broadview Heights. The three teams that placed above AHS are all ranked in the top 25 in the nation.
In the finals, Brezovec won by forfeit as Marco Regalbuto of Brecksville did not compete. He earlier won by major decision 13-4 and by decisions 11-4 and 13-6.
"He has one thing on his mind -- winning a state title," said coach Johnny Papesh. "He is doing all the right things and it is going to pay off with a state title."
Petersen (36-10 on the year) lost in the finals by technical fall to Julian Tagg of Brecksville. He pinned two earlier foes and claimed a 6-0 decision.
"Petersen has been the most improved kid on the team from the beginning of the year to now," said Papesh.
Gorman (38-9) lost a 4-2 decision to Logan Heil of Brunswick in the finals after posting a major decision and two decisions prior to that.
Papesh said 120 was one of the deepest weight classes at the districts. "It was a huge win and Jack is peaking at the right time. I'm excited. Last year he placed eighth, so this year he should be a lot more confident down there."
Arslanian (40-2) battled his way through the 220-pound district consolation rounds to take third with a pin of Aidan Gill of St. Ignatius in 1:06. Arslanian took third place at state last year.
"He showed great adversity," said Papesh. "He lost early, but battled back and dominated everyone he faced. He showed a lot of character because he wasn't 100 percent."
Five other Greenmen competed in the district and two of them placed.
Will McGhee (27-10) placed fifth at 152 pounds after winning by forfeit over St. Ignatius' Najee Lockett, while Connor Bizjak (41-10) took sixth at 195 after losing to Stoen Poorman of Canton McKinley.
Papesh said it was the best McGhee wrestled all year and his semifinal pin was the biggest win in his career. "Big things are going to come from this young man in the future," he noted.
"Bizjak has grown so much in the sport," said the coach. "He wrestled hard and gave it his all. It's been an honor to coach him these past four years."
Dominic Stuber won one match by a 7-3 decision at 145 pounds, Colin McNamara pinned one opponent at 170 pounds and Jacob Loudon came up empty in two matches at 182 pounds.
Brezovec, Gorman, Arslanian, Bizjak and McNamara had won sectional titles at Kenston High the weekend before the district.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing how the boys do in Columbus," said Papesh. "Of the four going, three placed at the state tourney last year."