by Michael LeonardSports EditorAkron -- Heading into the 20th annual Bill Dies Tournament, Stow-Munroe Falls wrestling coach Randy Jenkins believed his team had a legitimate shot at the team title. While the Bulldogs fell short of that lofty goal, Jenkins saw nothing but positives from his team's performance at the prestigious tournament.Stow finished with 123 points at the Dies Tournament Jan 20 at Firestone High School, good for a sixth-place tie with Canal Fulton Northwest. Brecksville-Broadview Heights won the team title in a dogfight with Barberton, as the Bees (155 points) held off the Magics (150.5).Stow was in the thick of the team race until it went 1-4 in the semifinal round. Despite the tough round, Jenkins was smiling after the tournament."This is getting us prepared for districts," Jenkins said. "The semifinals were a tough round for us, but the thing you have to do in that situation is get back up and win so you can advance. We did that for the most part."I think coming though this tournament has done nothing but good for us," Jenkins added. "We're rising. We should be able to work from here."As has been the case all season, senior 125-pounder Tyler Lambert led the Bulldogs' charge by winning his weight class. Lambert started by pinning Black River's Doug Baughman in 1:25, beating Revere's Jon Kostandaras 16-2 and handling Barberton's Dustin Crine 8-1. In the semifinals, Lambert was stretched to the limit by Twinsburg's Kevin Kretz, but pulled out an 8-5 win to reach the final.In the final, Lambert had a major challenge in front of him in Andrew Dinda of Garfield Heights, who took fifth place last year at 112 pounds in Division I. Lambert gave up the first takedown, but rallied to score the 7-4 win.Lambert, now 22-2 on the season, said Dinda provided a different style."He really low, really strong and really quick," Lambert said. "I consider myself pretty quick but he was able to match me. I just had to stay focused and just work for my takedowns and I did.""It shows what [Lambert] is capable of by him winning here," Jenkins said. "He rises to the occasion every time for us." Sophomore 130-pounder Ben Welsh continues to show what he's capable of as he took third place at Dies. Welsh pinned Firelands' Alex Vandalov in 46 seconds, stuck Olmsted Falls' Cody Dieckman in 3:56 and beat Canfield's Brad Benedict 3-2 to reach the semifinal.In the semifinal, Welsh had problems dealing with Kenmore's William Sheppard, the eventual 130-pound champion, and lost 8-5. However, Welsh would bounce back with a 4-2 win over Norwayne's Justin Young and then took third place by winning a rematch with Benedict 4-0.At 189 pounds, junior Tim Darlington also took third. Darlington pinned Copley's Brad Parker in 26 seconds, beat Northwest's David Ayers 5-3 and took down Triway's Chris Kearney 6-4. In the semifinals, Waynedale state placer Jared Neff proved a bit too solid for Darlington, who lost 9-3.Darlington rebounded with an 11-4 win over Twinsburg's Steve Laske and then won a tight match with Olmsted Falls' Jerry Knapp. Darlington put Knapp on his back in the third overtime to claim an 8-3 win and third place.At 160 pounds, junior Frank Saraniti came within an eyelash of reaching the final. Saraniti scored a 4-2 win over Tuslaw's Dan Marthey, a 10-2 win over Kenmore's Chad Gable, and 4-0 win over Brunswick's Shawn Koch to reach the semifinal. In the semifinal, Saraniti forced overtime against top-seeded Kyle Haddox of Northwest, but Haddox scored the decisive takedown for the 7-5 win.Saraniti then could not generate any offense in a 4-0 loss to Firestone's Eric Lehman, but salvaged fifth place with a 4-3 win over Highland's Ben Brown.Senior Drew Alboreo chose to move up a weight class and test the waters at 140 pounds. Through the semifinals, the plan seemed to work as Alboreo pinned Twinsburg's Chet Bissell in 1:09, pinned Hubbard's James Franklin in 1:46 and Hoban's Craig Blike in 43 seconds. However, things went sour for Alboreo from there as he lost a 25-10 technical fall to Triway state qualifier Brian Teter and then dropped a 12-3 decision to Waynedale's Cody Ash. In the fifth-place match, Alboreo lost a tight 3-2 decision to West Branch's Bret Stoffer.Jenkins said he was unsure if Alboreo would wrestle at 130, 135 or 140 pounds in the postseason.Non-placers for Stow included: 103-pounder Joey King (2-2); 112-pounder Eddie Stewart (2-2); 119-pounder Nate Pisarski (1-2); 135-pounder Zak Messinger (1-2); 145-pounder Dan Jacobs (1-2); 152-pounder Tim Bohannon (0-2); 171-pounder Kyle Hartwig (0-2); 215-pounder Kris Muruna (3-2); and heavyweight Ben Ewing (1-2).The Bulldogs have another testing tournament this weekend as they will participate in the Josh Hephner Tournament at Austintown-Fitch Jan. 26 and 27. First match this Friday is set for 4 p.m.E-mail: mleonard@recordpub.comPhone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3113