SULLIVAN TWP. — Black River’s chances for a three-peat at its own J.B. Firestone Invitational ended before the 44th edition of the event even took place. Violations of team rules resulted in big lineup changes and seven Pirates wrestling out of their normal weight classes.
In wrestling terms, it was a major decision against the Pirates, who finished sixth.
“I’m disappointed beyond belief,” Black River coach Corey Kline said. “We have some disciplinary actions going on via my personal discipline. Nobody got in trouble at school. It’s totally the wrestling team.
“I have certain policies and beliefs that I follow and when a kid violates it I come down with a hammer. I don’t negotiate with the kids. I think it makes us a better team in the long run. So I think that hurt us a bit. We wrestled scared all day long.”
The disappointing team performance stung a little less because of the performance of junior Josh Pfister.
Wrestling in the 145-pound class, up from his normal 140, Pfister took home the title with a 19-4 technical fall over South Central’s Jared Chandler. It was the second straight Firestone title for Pfister, who was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
“I felt a little stronger wrestling up a class,” said Pfister, who improved to 9-0 on the year. “I felt pretty good going into my final match. I felt a little more confident going up. When I lose weight I worry about losing strength.
“So today, going up a class, really helped my self-confidence.”
Pfister’s showing drew Kline’s praise.
“He can be a state champ, in my opinion, if he wants to be,” Kline said of Pfister. “If he is willing to give me everything, he can do it. It’s really up to him. He’ll go as far as he wants. But he has to make the commitment to do it and I don’t know if he’s there yet. And I think he’d admit to that assessment.”
Black River also had freshman Cory Campbell (125) place second, Josh Derrick (160) take third and Tim White (171) finish fourth.
Wellington, which finished seventh in the team standings, came away with a title in the 171-pound class due to a disqualification. The Dukes’ Matt Ramage was declared the winner in the second period after being thrown down by Valley Forge’s Milo Milijus following the whistle.
It was the second time in the match that Milijus continued to wrestle after the whistle was blown and the referee immediately declared Ramage the winner.
“It was crazy,” Ramage said. “I don’t know what he (Milijus) was thinking. I heard the whistle blow and the next thing I know I’m in the air and heading down to the mat. I’ve never been involved with anything like that.”
Lutheran West, which finished tied for eighth, brought home two titles courtesy of Colin Dennis (119) and Josh Malave (135). Teammate Eric Bednash finished second in the 130-pound class.
It was the second straight weekend that Malave has taken home a title.
“The win last week (at the John McNulty Memorial tournament) was a big boost,” Malave said. “I didn’t have a lot of confidence early in the year and now I’m believing in myself. I’m working hard, conditioning hard and listening to my coaches.”
Though Rocky River did not have any individual titles, it took second as a team, finishing behind champion Northwestern, 160-129.5.
“We had seven wrestlers place but no titles,” said coach Eric Tuokkola. “The best finish we had before this was another second five years ago at Avon. I don’t ever recall a team placing this high without having at least one wrestler win.
“I think, though, as a team, we showed that we’re right there.”
North Ridgeville also finished without any individual crowns but took fourth as a team on the strength of third-place finishes by Rex Rozar (103), James Mees (152) Jack Motyka (215) and a pair of fourths by Mike Mees (145) and Derek Lazano (160).
TEAM STANDINGS: Northwestern 160, Rocky River 129.5, South Central 122, North Ridgeville 119.5, Valley Forge 100.5, Black River 99.5, Wellington 97.5, Lutheran West 96, Port Clinton 96, Mansfield Senior 80.5, Columbia 51, Hillsdale 47, Oberlin 25, Open Door 6.
OUTSTANDING WRESTLER: Josh Pfister, Black River —
3-0 with a two tech. falls and a major decision.
103 — Jarrod Stine (Hillsdale) maj. dec. Zack Hollo (Rocky River), 14-4.
112 — Cody Henderson (Mansfield) pinned Justin Bockmore (Wellington), 4:52.
119 — Colin Dennis (Lutheran West) pinned Derick Johannsen (Port Clinton), 5:48.
125 — Payton Oney (South Central) maj. dec. Cory Campbell (Black River), 21-8.
130 — Anthony Ferber (South Central) dec. Eric Bednash (Lutheran West), 12-6.
135 — Josh Malave (Lutheran West) dec. Jordan Smith (South Central), 9-2.
140 — Matt Snyder (Port Clinton) pinned Joe Tayeh (Valley Forge), 5:46.
145 — Josh Pfister (Black River) tech. fall Jared Chandler (South Central), 19-4.
152 — Zach Brumfield (Mansfield) dec. AJ Mark (Northwestern), 3-1.
160 — Matt Ramage (Wellington) disqualification win over Milo Miljus (Valley Forge).
171 — Mat Schaefer (Northwestern) dec. Mark Voll (Rocky River), 8-4.
189 — Kurtis Schaefer (Northwestern) dec. Adam Voll (Rocky River), 6-2.
215 — Jake Ewing (Northwestern) pinned Ethan Garofolo (Columbia), 2:26.
275 — James Meder (Valley Forge) dec. Nick Hamilton (South Central), 12-8.
103 — Rex Rozar (North Ridgeville) pinned Paul Krause (Valley Forge), 2:47.
112 — Jacob Fleming (Port Clinton) pinned Pantelis Agalianos (Valley Forge), 1:27.
119 — Matt Mahoney (Rocky River) pinned Josh Fralick (Wellington), 2:38.
125 — Mason Butler (Columbia) maj. dec. Tyler Topp (Northwestern), 12-4.
130 — Pat Mahoney (Rocky River) dec. Logan Hershey (Northwestern), 9-4.
135 — Elias Agalianos dec. Steven Lesiecki (Rocky River), 7-0.
140 — Chuckie East (Northwestern) pinned Dan Sherck (South Central), 3:23.
145 — Ben Bogan (Wellington) maj. dec. Mike Mees (North Ridgeville), 13-4.
152 — James Mees (North Ridgeville) maj. dec. Austin Smith (Wellington), 16-3.
160 — Josh Derrick (Black River) default Derek Lazano (North Ridgeville).
171 — Shane Friend (North Ridgeville) pinned Tim White (Black River), 2:23.
189 — Mike Rasnake (Valley Forge) dec. Nick Chumra (Oberlin), 3-2.
215 — Jack Motyka (North Ridgeville) dec. Colin McHugh (Lutheran West), 7-3.
275 — Ben Brady (Port Clinton) dec. Kevin Orris (Rocky River), 4-2.