Twinsburg's Corrigan among those who earn another shot at states
NORTH CANTON — Every high school wrestler has their story about when their world stopped in 2020.
It came the day before the state tournament was supposed to begin and not a single person has forgotten where they were and how they felt when the news came down.
Wrestlers had already qualified for state and many were headed to Columbus or just about to embark on their trip.
That fire still burned Saturday and was a big reason why standouts from the North Canton Hoover Division I District erased bitter memories of a season lost to the pandemic.
Twinsburg senior Aidan Corrigan was among those who felt the shock when last year's tournament was cancelled. He made certain he would get another opportunity this week.
After reaching the semifinals at Hoover Saturday, Corrigan insured his second trip to states with a 6-2 win over Brecksville's Luke Vanadia.
To win his first district title, Corrigan had a rematch from his sectional final match, as he faced Wadsworth's Logan Messer. Corrigan had no better luck this time, as he lost 6-2.
The Division I state tournament will take place his year at Hilliard Darby High School. Corrigan will start during session 2, which begins Saturday at 4:30 p.m., as Corrigan will open against Westerville North's Nico Candido.
“It was last period and I was about to get on the bus to go to Columbus,” Walsh Jesuit 132-pounder Dy’Vaire VanDyke said. “My friend Zach Wiseman pulled up an article and said state just got canceled. I was like, ‘There’s no way.’ I called my coach and he didn’t know. I called my dad and he didn’t know.
“I contemplated what to do and was sitting in the room nervous and then it comes through. I was heartbroken. I was lost. I had no idea what was going on. I went and got McDonald’s”
Stories like that of 2021 Hoover District champion VanDyke filled the gymnasium at Hoover.
For 113-pound district champion Mason Brugh of Wadsworth, the news came from his teammate and it came loud and clear along with a sucker punch to the gut.
“I was walking down the hallway and you know our school is ginormous long and Logan Messer yells from the other end that the state tournament just got canceled,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh. You’re kidding me.’ We got to the wresting room and all three principals and the athletic director are all standing there. They told us the news.
“It sucked. I was really upset, but I felt bad for the seniors. That was their one opportunity to get there and they couldn’t do it. I felt for Dom Loparo and Hunter Griffin, who didn’t get to wrestle. That fueled the team. We started the preseason this year and worked harder. We realized all those opportunities can be taken away in a blink of an eye. You have to endure every moment and get after it when you’re out there.”
It was a little different for 145-pound Hoover champion Kael Voinovich of Brecksville, who was in eighth grade at the time. The younger brother of Victor Voinovich, who was a junior in 2020, he was in the wrestling room when the news came down.
The freshman still got teared up thinking about what happened the day the earth stood still for his future Brecksville teammates.
“We were getting one last roll around,” Kael Voinovich said. “We were crying while we were wrestling. It’s more than just a sport for us. When it got canceled. We wrestled and then we cried the next day. They were leaving after that practice. We were that close. It hurt.
“I didn’t have to really say anything to my brother. When you looked at him just that look told you everything that was needed to be said. We really didn’t speak. He’s been training hard enough this year. He’s doing it for himself. Thirty minutes after practice, he’s still going while kids are showering. That’s why he wins.”
Highland’s James Scavuzzo, who lost to Kael Voinovich in the finals on Saturday, was probably the closest of them all when he got the news.
Already in the car and a half hour away from the state capital, he’ll never forget about having the sense that something was wrong.
“Oh my gosh, we were on our way to Columbus and my phone started blowing up,” he said. “My twitter feed was going crazy. I told my coaches and they looked it up to confirm it. At the beginning, I was definitely upset about it, but this year I had to do what I needed to do and go out and wrestle.”
Wadsworth’s Jaxon Joy (106), Brecksville’s Kaden Jett (120) and Brock Herman (126), will join Brugh, VanDyke and Kael Voinovich on the one line as area district champions when the state tournament begins in a week.