ELYRIA — Josh Malave deserves a nice long rest.
The Lutheran West senior battled through five more matches Saturday — making it 12 matches in three days — and left the third annual John McNulty Sr. Memorial tournament with the 135-pound championship, the tournament’s Most Valuable Wrestler award and down a significant amount of blood.
“My nose wouldn’t stop bleeding all weekend long,” Malave said. “I’m so tired right now.”
Malave pinned all five opponents Friday night to earn a spot in the championship pool Saturday. He began Day 2 action with a pair of pins, over Trinity’s Matt Quinn and New London’s Cory Essenmacher, then came up against Greeneview’s Mike Eavers, who placed eighth last season in the Division III state tournament.
“I actually took 30 minutes before the match and I was just sitting downstairs in the basement praying, just trying to get mentally focused because I knew it was going to be tough,” Malave said. “I was just asking God if he could help me get rid of my nerves and get me ready. I went out and that was the finest match I’ve ever wrestled in my life.”
Malave scored a technical fall over Admiral King’s Mike Daniels and a 10-4 decision over Brookfield’s Cody Thompson to complete the first-place finish. The tournament victory and the win over Eavers have given Malave the self-assurance he said he sorely needed.
“I started off the year without too much confidence,” he said. “I lost two back-to-back one-point matches to miss going to state last year. I made it all the way to the district semis and then dropped two bombs — and that was my season.”
The day also proved to be bountiful for the host Panthers as a pair of Elyria Catholic wrestlers came away with championships.
Danny Accorti, who like Malave finished as a runner-up in the tournament last season, went 8-0 over the two days to capture the 140-pound title, and teammate Dane Szente also went undefeated to take the 171-pound crown for the second year in a row.
“I’m kind of beat up … that was a lot of wrestling,” Accorti said. “Once you won (the title) though, it kind of just goes away.”
Accorti picked up pinfall victories over Admiral King’s Tom Siegman and Columbia’s Steve Selage, a major decision over Trinity’s Antwaun Holley and decisions over South Range’s Brennan Witmer and Wellington’s Brendan Rinehart.
“My dad gave me some really good advice,” Accorti said. “He said, ‘You can be happy but never be satisfied.’ Last year when I made it through the first day I was just happy to go undefeated. I’m happy about my win (this year) but I’m not going to be satisfied for the rest of this year, and maybe through next season. I’m not probably ever going to be satisfied unless I win state.”
The wins were just what the Panthers needed. The team’s roster is filled with young wrestlers and the two veterans can now use their success as a teaching tool.
“Dane and I are leaders on the team and we’re trying to tell the other guys that if you work hard, you’re going to be rewarded,” Accorti said. “Maybe now they’ll start getting their butts in gear since we won this tournament.”
Szente, who became the second Elyria Catholic wrestler to win the event twice after Tim Rankin won it the first two years, won in all sorts of ways. The senior pinned Trinity’s Gary Yarborogh, picked up a technical fall on Wellington’s Mark Bennett, earned a major decision over Brooklyn’s Seth Melvin and won decisions over Greeneview’s Brock Wagner and South Range’s Beau Bowden.
“This feels great,” Szente said about winning the event for the second time. “It was a little more difficult than last year. There was some new guys this year that I had to worry about and that gave me a rough time. It was a lot longer and more strenuous than last year.”
The final area champion was Admiral King’s Quentin Watson, who went 4-1 to capture the heavyweight title. Watson pinned Brookfield’s Tim Cree and Brooklyn’s Matt Snyder, earned a decision over Greeneview’s Josh Reynolds and downed South Range’s Bill ManyPenny by default. His only loss was a 2-1 decision to Jackson-Milton’s Dan Clawson in triple overtime.
“It was a really tough loss,” Watson said. “All I could do was just wrestle back — I had to win that last match.
“This was our first time being here, so to take first place in our first time being here was something special.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
TEAM STANDINGS: Monroeville 356, Greeneview 337, Jackson-Milton 269, Brookfield 263, Wellington 233, Lutheran West 229, Swanton 168, South Range 166, Elyria Catholic 160, New London 136, Columbia 144, Admiral King 116, Brooklyn 116, Clearview 105, Oberlin 100, Trinity 72.
103 — Champion: Hunter Stieber, Monroeville (5-0); Runner-up: Vinny Pizzuto, Jackson-Milton (3-2); Third place: Tyler Thompson, Brookfield (3-2); Fourth place: Tim Wiseman, Jackson-Milton (3-2).
112 — Champion: Cam Tessari, Monroeville (5-0); Runner-up: Johnny Matasic, Jackson-Milton (4-1); Third place: Justin Bockmore, Wellington (3-2); Fourth place: Tim Hoskins, Greeneview (2-3).
119 — Champion: Logan Stieber, Monroeville (4-0); Runner-up: Colin Dennis, Lutheran West (3-1); Third place: Josh Fralick, Wellington (2-2); Fourth place: Brett Benedict, Greeneview (1-3).
125 — Champion: Matt Mascioli, Jackson-Milton (5-0); Runner-up: Mason Butler, Columbia (4-1); Third place: Lance Johnson, Monroeville (3-2); Fourth place: Jacob Armlovich, Clearview (2-3).
130 — Champion: Dan Miller, Brookfield (5-0); Runner-up: Eric Bednash, Lutheran West (4-1); Third place: Bret Essenmacher, New London (3-2); Fourth place: Josh Taylor, Elyria Catholic (2-3).
135 — Champion: Josh Malave, Lutheran West (5-0); Runner-up: Mike Eavers, Greeneview (4-1); Third place: Cody Thompson, Brookfield (3-2); Fourth place: Mike Daniels, Admiral King (1-4).
140 — Champion: Danny Accorti, Elyria Catholic (5-0); Runner-up: Brennan Witmer, South Range (4-1); Third place: Brendan Rinehart, Wellington (3-2); Fourth place: Steve Selage, Columbia (2-3).
145 — Champion: Branden Pike, Greeneview (5-0); Runner-up: Kyle Johnson, Swanton (4-1); Third place: Cal Clark, Monroeville (3-2); Fourth place: Ben Bogan, Wellington (2-3).
152 — Champion: Joe Skaggs, Jackson-Milton (5-0); Runner-up: Austin Smith, Wellington (4-1); Third place: David Hoffman, South Range (3-2); Fourth place: T.J. Keathley, New London (2-3).
160 — Champion: Mike Bender, Brookfield (5-0); Runner-up: Matt Ramage, Wellington (4-1); Third place: Austin Reiner, Swanton (3-2); Fourth place: Robert Mendoza, Brooklyn (2-3).
171 — Champion: Dane Szente, Elyria Catholic (5-0); Runner-up: Seth Melvin, Brooklyn (4-1); Third place: Beau Bowden, South Range (3-2); Fourth place: Brock Wagner, Greeneview (2-3).
189 — Champion: Chris Phillips, Monroeville (5-0); Runner-up: Nick Chmura, Oberlin (4-1); Third place: Stephen Shaw, Brookfield (3-2); Fourth place: David Cooper, Clearview (2-3).
215 — Champion: Doug Randall, Greeneview (5-0); Runner-up: Ethan Garofolo, Columbia (3-2); Third place: Colin McHugh, Lutheran West (3-2); Fourth place: Dan McNutt, Swanton (3-2).
HVY — Champion: Quentin Watson, Admiral King (4-1); Runner-up: Josh Reynolds, Greeneview (4-1); Third place: Dan Clawson, Jackson-Milton (3-2); Fourth place: Tim Cree, Brookfield (2-3).
MOST VALUABLE WRESTLER: Josh Malave, Lutheran West — 10-0 with seven pins and a tech. fall.
MOST PINS IN THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TIME: Logan Stieber, Monroeville — 8 pins (5:20).