INDEPENDENCE — Tallmadge wrestling didn’t have its full squad available when it hit the mats Friday and Saturday at the North Coast Classic.
Despite this, the Blue Devils had plenty to build on from their trip to Independence High School.
Tallmadge 182-pounder Jesse Kanatzar and 220-pounder Ben Blankenship each reached the title match in their respective weight classes at the NCC.
Behind the top guys’ effort, Tallmadge finished 21st in the 32-team field at Independence with 153 points. Berea-Midpark repeated as champions with 534 points.
Kanatzar dominated his pool during the first portion of tournament, getting six pins to finish on top. He scored an 11-2 major decision over Berea-Midpark’s Jimmy Paletta.
In the final, Kanatazar had to tangle with Nordonia All-Ohioan Sal Perrine and was on the wrong end of a takedown clinic. Perrine won a 16-7 major decision as he scored seven takedowns.
Meanwhile, Blankenship scored three pins and a forfeit to win his pool, followed by an 11-5 win over A.J. Colline of Dresden Tri-Valley in the semifinal.
It was an all Blue Devil final at 220, as Blankenship dealt with Independence’s Braden Sears.
In a back and forth match, Blankenship attempted to hit a bodylock throw in the third period, but Sears landed on top and rode him out. Sears won 8-6.
The rest of Tallmadge’s young team had a bit of a rough go at the NCC, as no other Blue Devil placed in the "A" bracket.
Tallmadge will host its first dual meet of the season when it welcomes Cuyahoga Falls Wednesday at 6 p.m.