ALLIANCE — After missing last year’s Top Gun Tournament due to inclement weather, the Aurora wrestling squad made a statement on Day One the 2019 Top Gun Friday.
For Nordonia, however, Friday proved to be a bit of feast or famine.
Aurora soared to the lead at Top Gun with 125 points after the first day and advanced five wrestlers to the semfiinals on Saturday. Carrollton sits in second place with 91.5 points. The Knights sit in sixth place with four semifinalists.
Aurora seized control of the tournament by advancing 11 of its 14 wrestlers to the quarterfinal round. The quarterfinals were a bit tougher on the Greenmen, as Aurora went 5-6 in quarterfinal matches.
"That’s not bad when you consider we were only the higher seed in two of those matches," said Greenmen coach Johnny Papesh.
"We better," Papesh answered when asked if he thought the Greenmen could bring home the team title.
"This is the first time we’ve been able to get our full lineup in place," Papesh said. "I expect us to do what we need to. Tournaments are won in the wrestled-backs. This is not the hardest tournament we’ve been at this year.
One thing Aurora has missed is the presence of 132-pounder Jack Gorman. After missing all of December, Gorman was given the top seed at 132 and tore through his opponents, including a 17-2 technical fall over Boardman’s Sean O’Horo in the quarterfinals.
Senior 145-pounder Andy Garr won a 15-0 technical fall in his quarterfinal over Jack Rimpa of Fort Lebouf (Pennsylvania), while 160-pounder Will McGhee used his patented tilt to get a 5-0 quarterfinal decision over Ethan Ducca of Ashtabula St. John.
Two of Aurora’s freshman phenoms also reached the semifinals. At 152 pounds, Dylan Fishback pulled out a 5-3 win over Marysville’s Walker Heard to advance, while 182-pounder Evan Anderson beat Carroltton’s Alex Carrothers 6-1 in his quarterfinal.
Meanwhile, Nordonia saw four semifinalists advance, but only one Knight — 220-pounder Ryan Lee — remains alive in the consolation bracket.
"Being honest, I know I’d have a few survivors," said Knights coach Jason Walters. "We’re at the point of the season where everything gets tough. We needed to have some guys step up.
"I expected to have five semifinalists, but we’ve been hit with some illness," Walters said.
Nordonia did win both of its head-to-head matchups with Aurora in the quarterfinals.
At 113 pounds, the Knights’ Jake Hamad get three takedowns against Aurora’s Robbie Sagaris on his way to a 7-3 win. Then at 138-pounds, Nordonia’s Mitch Collica spotted Aurora’s Kyle Petersen the first three points before putting him on his back twice in the third period to win 11-3.
Given the No. 2 seed at 132 pounds, the Knights’ Jaivon Jones advanced to the quarterfinals via a 12-0 win over Austintown’s Zach Richards.
At 160 pounds, Nordonia’s Sal Perrine put on a show in his quarterfinal, scoring 13 takedowns in a 26-11 technical fall win over Claymont’s Joe Langdon.