ALLIANCE -- For the past few years, talented individuals have kept the flame burning for Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy wrestling.

That said, the days of CVCA competing for district or state team titles, like earlier in the decade, seemed to have gone.

After his team's performance March 3 and 4 at the Division II district tournament at Alliance, even Royals coach Dave Bergen had to admit it: CVCA wrestling is back.

The Royals finished third in the team race at Alliance with 124.5 points, just one point behind Lake Catholic for second place. Canfield won the team title with 151 points.

More importantly, CVCA advanced four wrestlers to the state meet, which was the most since 2013, and had two others finish on the podium at Alliance.

CVCA saw sophomore 106-pounder Jacob Decatur and junior 113-pounder Matthew Cardello win their respective weight classes, while sophomore 126-pounder Jordan Decatur and freshman 220-pounder Breslin Walker finished second.

The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to states.

"We're getting better," Bergen said. "We've been working very hard to get ready and it's paying off. The season is only three weeks long and we've had our best performances of the season the last two weeks."

CVCA's state quartet was set to open the Division II state tournament at Value City Arena in Columbus March 9 (see story, Page 30).

Bergen was happy to see all four of his state qualifiers advance by reaching their respective title matches at Alliance.

"It would be nice to go 4-0," Bergen said before the finals. "Certainly, we think our three little guys can win. Breslin is on a pretty good trajectory, being a freshman at 220 pounds."

Jacob Decatur claimed his second straight title at Alliance in dominant fashion.

Decatur cruised to the final, beating Lake Catholic's Tommy Fraiser by a 23-8 technical fall, scoring a 19-4 technical fall over Hubbard's Joran Najdusak and pinning Perry's Kyle Rowan in 4:48.

In the final vs. West Branch's Christian Wayt, Decatur scored four takedowns and two nearfalls on his way to a 13-3 major decision win.

Meanwhile, Cardello was looking to go one better after finishing second at last year's district tournament.

Cardello pinned Hubbard's Andrew Christy in 2 minutes, scored a 16-1 technical fall on Akron Springfield's Gage Harrison and beat Girard's Alex DelGarbino to reach the final.

Cardello's 113-pound final with Lake Catholic's Conor McCrone was a wild one. After getting the first takedown, Cardello got hit with a fireman's carry by McCrone and trailed 5-2 after one period. However, Cardello would rally with three more takedowns and an escape, then held on for a 10-9 win.

Weight issues cost Jordan Decatur his postseason last year, but as Bergen noted, all the 126-pounder did was win three national tournaments after that disappointment.

The larger Decatur twin tore through the early rounds, pinning Southeast's Kyle Wright in 44 seconds, sticking Canton South's Derek Dolph in 23 seconds and pinning Norton's Kaleb Kiss in 1:48.

In the final, however, Decatur ran into Canal Fulton Northwest's Hunter Kosco, who had beaten him earlier this season at the Alliance Top Gun. The match was tied at 3-3 when Kosco caught Decatur in a cradle and pinned him in 3:18.

Walker was the lone freshman in the bracket at 220 pounds, but he didn't look overpowered. The freshman pinned Conneaut's Alan Christine in 5:09 and beat Alliance's Chavion Young 2-1 to reach the semifinals.

Breslin was trailing 3-1 in his semifinal with West Geauga's Kyle Gallagher in the third period, when he hit a shoulder lock and threw Gallagher on his back. He scored a 6-4 win to reach the final.

In the final, Breslin was a bit overpowered by Girard's Jack DelGarbino, who turned him in the second period and pinned him in 2:30.

CVCA junior 138-pounder Justin West and freshman heavyweight Matt Holman each had chance to reach states via the consolation semifinals.

However, West dropped a 3-1 decision to Lake Catholic's Luke McKeon. Meanwhile, Holman faced Alliance's Alex Leasure for the second time in the tournament and lost a 5-3 decision.

Holman secured fifth place and a state alternate spot when Woodridge's Austin Hindley defaulted in the fifth-place match due to injury. West had to settle for sixth place after he lost 7-0 to Southeast's Kaleb Dohse in the fifth-place match.

CVCA also had sophomore 120-pounder Danny Sinchok go 1-2 at districts, while junior Joe Morales-Rodriguez went 0-2.

Email: mleonard@

recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

Facebook: MLeonardRPC

Twitter:@MLeonard_RPC