Walsh wrestling wins quad meet of private school powers
AKRON — In a season of so much disruption, local wrestling teams are looking for any positives.
Getting Summit County's four private schools to grapple together is a definite positive.
St. Vincent-St. Mary played host to Walsh Jesuit, Archbishop Hoban and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in a quad match Friday at LeBron James Arena, and Irish coach Dan Rooney said he hopes to make it an annual event.
"This is something we plan on doing every year from now on," Rooney said. "I went to Walsh. There is a lot of talent on these teams. I know all of those guys, and they're all good coaches."
On the mats, it was the Warriors who came out on top. Walsh beat CVCA 42-24 and then squeezed out a 33-28 win over the Irish.
STVM defeated Hoban 47-21 in round one and CVCA 39-36 in the third round, and Hoban edged CVCA 36-32 in round two. Walsh and Hoban did not wrestle in round three, due to Walsh reaching its match schedule limit.
Warriors coach Dave Mariola Jr. said his team was peaking at the right time.
"We made some changes with our coaching the last few weeks and the kids really look better," he said. "I've been coaching for 30 years and that loss to Stow two weeks ago was the worse any of my teams have ever wrestled. We got two big wins tonight without our best wrestler."
Walsh 132-pound DyVaire "Boots" VanDyke is still absent because of injury, but Mariola said he will return for the postseason.
Two bouts in the Warriors-Irish match proved critical.
At 126 pounds, STVM's Bryce Skinner pulled out a 4-3 decision over Walsh's Brian Crevar. However, after the match, Skinner was called for flagrant misconduct for taunting his opponent.
The call wiped out Skinner's three team points in the win and cost the Irish three penalty points, which turned out to be the difference in the match.
Walsh also got a key win at 145 pounds, as Chase Henderson held on at the end for a 2-1 decision over the Irish's Tyson Seig.
"Chase is just a great kid," Mariola said. "He works hard and he shows up when you need him to."
Henderson, 182-pounder Jack Romanini, 106-pounder Austin Neel (two pins) and 113-pound Nolan Frye (two pins) all won two bouts for Walsh.
The Irish celebrated Seniors Night for Seig, Kenneth Crosby and Dierre Clayton, but Clayton was only senior to go 3-0.
At 120 pounds, Clayton pulled out a 5-3 win in a marquee matchup with CVCA's Anthony Perez. He also pinned Hoban Gabriel Vance in 2:49 and Walsh's Jonathan Campbell in 1:37.
"I thought we did pretty well tonight," Rooney said. "He had a couple of close matches go against us, but we know what we need to do."
The Irish also had 132-pounder Elliot Alessia (two pins, forfeit), 138-pounder Jake Keirn (two pins, forfeit) and heavyweight Andrew Vanscoy (decision, two forfeits) go 3-0.
Despite going 1-1 in the quad, Hoban coach Shawn Tompkins said he was very happy with his team's effort and future prospects. Tompkins noted to he wanted to model his program on the success of the other private-school programs.
"We don't have a single senior on the team," Tompkins said. "Never in the history of Hoban wrestling has a team won 15 duals until now."
Hoban's top performers were 170-pounder Jackson Dougherty, who scored two pins, and 182-pounder Obed West, who scored a pin and a forfeit.
Because they do not have a 113-pounder, Hoban welcomed a guest wrestler into its lineup Friday in Southington Chalker's Landan Duncan.
A one-man team for the Wildcats, Duncan lost a 5-4 decision to Crosby, but scored a 10-2 major decision over CVCA's Braden Hahlen.
CVCA coach Dave Bergen was not a happy man, especially after his team got blitzed by the Warriors in round one.
"Walsh came out ready to go and we did not," Bergen said. "That's something we need to work out. We're not where we want to be, but this is what we're going to work with."
CVCA may have been looking forward to the Principals Athletic Conference Tournament, which was set for Saturday at Northwest.
CVCA's top two performers were its returning state qualifiers. At 220 pounds, Kyle Snider got a forfeit against Walsh, pinned Hoban's Logan Crocker in 20 seconds and pulled out a 4-2 win over STVM's Bryson Getz, despite being in obvious pain after the match.
Royals 160-pounder Austin Pownall scored pins over Walsh's Bruce Beskur, Hoban's David Lacey (57 seconds) and STVM's Nasir Madison (1:14).
"Austin is the quietest guy on the team, but he just keeps producing," Bergen said.