BAINBRIDGE TOWNSHIP — Nordonia, Twinsburg and Hudson wrestling headed to the 54th annual Kenston Invitational Tournament with different goals.
The Tigers and Explorers were looking to their “A” lineups in place, while the Knights had plans to defend their team title at the KIT.
Despite putting up more than 70 points greater than last year’s total, Nordonia just missed repeating as KIT champions Saturday. The Knights finished second with 215 points, as Fairfield won the team title with 218.5. Hudson finished eighth with 97.5 points and Twinsburg was 19th with 61 points.
Nordonia coach Jason Walters was pleased with his Knights, despite not claiming the team title.
“I obviously came here to win a championship,” said Walters. “We knew what was coming up from the southwest. [Fairfeld] is a hell of a team.
“The thing of it is, there’s a whole new level that were going to got to in practice,” he added. “Hard work doesn’t fail you. I’m very proud of where we’ve come from [at the start of the season].”
The team race came down to the final match of the tournament, as Nordonia was looking for a pin from heavyweight Blaine Morganstern. However, Parma’s Ryan Madison won 4-3, forcing Morganstern to settle for fourth place and giving Fairfield the team title.
Nordonia’s big three all won titles in their respective weight classes.
At 132 pounds, senior Jaivon Jones claimed his third straight KIT title, after winning each of the last two years with Shaker Heights. After dominating his bracket, Jones hit a bear hug on Crestview’s Dakota Blanton to get the pin in 3:49 in the final.
“I was trying to find whatever was available and hit it,” Jones said. “I’m just trying to get better every day. It’s time to get back in the room.”
Collica also was looking to repeat as a KIT champion, but faced a big test in the final vs. Rootstown All-Ohioan Niko Chilson. Colica got an outside single-leg takedown in the second period and spun behind for a takedown in the third-period to win it 5-3.
“I wanted to stick to what I was good at,” Collica said. “I wanted to keep the pace so high.”
At 160 pounds, sophomore Sal Perrine had to deal with a hometown favorite in Kenston’s Joe Koplow. Perrine got three takedowns on his way to a 7-3 win and the title.
“I think I was quicker than him,” Perrine said. “He’s really good rider, so I knew not to go down against him.”
Nordonia also got a third-place finish from 113-pounder Nick Hamad.
Hudson coach Joe Caniglia was generally pleased with his team.
“There were good things that we can take out of this,” Caniglia said. “Michael [Caniglia] and Shane [McGinnis] both reaching the finals was definitely a good thing.
“We’re young. When you look at all the freshmen and sophomores in out lineup, it’s going to be tough at times.”
After what he called a poor result at the Hudson Holiday Tournament, McGinnis bounced back to win the 195-pound title at the KIT.
In the final vs. Columbiana’s Nathan Whitehead, McGinnis scored the lone point in the match with an escape in the second period. He then rode Whitehead for the entire third period to win 1-0.
“I think it was really important for me to win,” McGinnis said. “We’d been fixing some things in the room. I had really been working on my feet. I think it can only go up from here.”
Michael Caniglia advanced to the finals 170-pounds for the third straight tournament, but the coach’s son was pinned in 1:53 by Shaker Height’s Najee Lockett.
Meanwhile, Twinsburg coach Dave Mariola said the tournament was a mixed bag for the Tigers.
“I’m happy for the ones that made [the podium],” Mariola said. “I think we could have done a little bit better. I’m still waiting for the junior class to step up.”
Twinsburg’s top finisher was sophomore 126-pounder Connor Voltz, who rallied from a loss in the quarterfinals to take fourth place. Voltz was pinned by Fairview’s Matt Kaufmann in 2:41 in the third-place match.
“Connor wrestled a good tournament,” Mariola said. “He’s got some styles that he trouble with but he comes back.”
Twinsburg 170-pounder Aidan Corrigan reached the semifinals, but was so sick Saturday, it was in doubtful if he would wrestle. Corrigan was able to wrestle his semifinal match, but lost 13-1 to Lockett and defaulted down to sixth place.
Twinsburg also got a seventh-place finish from 145-pounder Jack Turle.
Reporter Michael Leonard can be reached at 330-541-9442, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MLeonard_RPC