It’s nearing the point of the wrestling season where an injury can prove disastrous to an athlete and his team. It’s also the point where several area coaches are starting to see athletes who were injured to start the season rejoining their rosters and giving their programs some depth.
“I think we’re finally healthy for the first time this season,” Clearview coach Tom McCardle wrote in a recent e-mail.
The Clippers were without two returning district qualifiers — senior Jon Bill and sophomore Edwin Diaz — to begin the season. The holes in the lineup seemed gigantic to McCardle.
“You miss those guys because they are also the team leaders,” he said. “The younger guys feed off them. If they get an early win in a match or pull off a win against a tough opponent, it helps pump up the rest of the guys on the team.”
Diaz has just returned to the mats after healing from a shoulder injury, while Bill — who has qualified to districts twice — has been back a couple weeks after a back injury postponed his season start.
“I’m really happy to be wrestling again,” Bill said. “I’ve kind of been injured every season with something or other. It’s become very frustrating.”
Another prominent wrestler who is trying to shake off rust from an early season injury is Elyria sophomore Chase Churchill. The 140-pounder won a state title in junior high and qualified to the Division I district tournament last season as a freshman.
“Chase’s injury was severe enough that we felt we had to hold him out,” Pioneers coach Erik Burnett said. “Injuries are tough because a kid will be behind when they come back and spend the rest of the season trying to catch up. Chase had only one live practice before he had to compete in the Brecksville (Holiday) tournament.”
Burnett has seen a ton of injuries at all times during the season throughout his careers as a wrestler and coach. He said many injuries occur or become serious because athletes fail to know the difference between injuries and soreness.
“My college coach used tell me that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity,” Burnett said. “All athletes, and especially wrestlers, learn to have the attitude of, ‘suck it up and let’s go.’
“The next thing you know you have a guy that’s hurt and you’ve got a hole in your lineup you have to fill.”
If they were to ever award a “Best Wrestler You’ve Never Seen at a District Tournament” trophy, the hands-down winner would be Avon Lake senior Danny Urbin.
Urbin won over 20 matches last season, captured the Southwestern Conference tournament 130-pound championship and could only manage a sixth-place finish at the Division I sectional tournament at Southview. He had an equally impressive record his sophomore season, a runner-up finish at the SWC tourney and finished fifth at Southview.
“Yeah, it’s been pretty disappointing,” Urbin said.
Urbin’s weight class last season was filled with powerhouse wrestlers such as St. Edward’s Neil Birt, Midview’s Greg Johnson, Lakewood’s Pat Duffy and Elyria’s Dalton McHenry. The Southview sectional is widely considered one of the toughest high school sectional tournaments in the nation.
“It’s difficult to watch something like that happen to any of your wrestlers,” Shoremen coach Ken Weaver said. “You watch the kids put in the hard work and have a great year, and you expect to at least see them qualify to districts.”
Urbin has used the disappointing finishes as motivation this season, working to certify at 125 pounds — the weight class he plans to compete in during the postseason — and flying out to an 18-2 start this year.
“I think a lot about how the last two seasons have ended for me,” Urbin said. “I feel I’m really focused this year and I know I’m going to be anxious when sectionals come. I don’t want to get led down there again.”
Tournaments on tap
Elyria and Amherst will participate in the Mentor Duals on Saturday.
• Clearview will compete in the Perrysburg Invitational today and Saturday.
• Southview will be at the Porter Memorial at Hilliard Darby on Saturday.
• Brookside will be at the Western Reserve Academy Duals on Saturday.
• Berea will be at the Bulldog Invitational at Green High on Saturday.
• Midview will be at the Clyde Invitational on Saturday.
• Admiral King will be at the Lake Erie League Erie Division tournament on Saturday.
Ohiowrestling.net released its rankings for Division I last week and several area wrestlers are listed in the top 16 — which would project them to possibly earn a state berth. The list included Collin Palmer (Columbia Station) from St. Edward (first at 135 pounds), Steve Mitcheff from Elyria (third at 112), Aaron Winemiller from Amherst (third at 171), Zack Goins from Elyria (fifth at 152), Ryan Nelisse from Elyria (sixth at 189), Jose Martinez from Southview (seventh at 171), Nick Lawrence from Westlake (ninth at 119), Dalton McHenry from Elyria (10th at 130), Mark Tomanek from Avon Lake (11th at 160), Zach Laird from Olmsted Falls (11th at heavyweight), John Cobos (Avon Lake) from St. Edward (15th at 119), David Gyorfi from Southview (16th at 119), Chris Yutzy from Berea (16th at 130), Jerry Knapp from Olmsted Falls (16th at 215) and Greg Byrd from North Ridgeville (16th at heavyweight).
• Oberlin, which seems to have one of its best wrestlers suffer an injury every season, has two top athletes sidelined due to injuries. Senior Andy Miller — who was shelved last season with a broken arm — missed two weeks with a bruised rib, but should return to the mats this week, and senior Dalton Rimbert, in his first year of varsity wrestling, has either torn ligaments or a bone chip in his left wrist but also returned to practice this week. Phoenix coach Craig Enos was worried that Rimbert’s injury might require season-ending surgery.
• Vermilion held its third annual “Oddessey Night” on Thursday against Rocky River. The event included a live band, free t-shirts that were thrown into the crowd and the wrestlers competed under a spotlight during their matches.
• Amherst’s biddie program matches will begin Monday.
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dalton McHenry, Elyria
WEIGHT: 130 pounds
LAST WEEK: McHenry went
4-0 at the Jimmy Cook Duals last weekend. He finished with three technical falls and a major decision during the event. He also placed fifth at the Brecksville Holiday tournament two weeks ago.
DALTON’S THOUGHTS ON THE WEEK: “Wrestling with my mask made it a little tough. I got kneed in practice last week and had to get five stiches in my right eyebrow. I have to wear the mask to protect it until the cut heals.”
THREE THINGS I DO BESIDES WRESTLE: I like to watch football games, especially the recent bowl games, at my friends’ houses. I like to play video games, my favorite system is the Xbox 360. I like to golf, although I can’t really do it right now, and my favorite course — out of the few that I’ve played — is the Millstone Hills Golf Course in New London.
PARENTS: Arthur and Lori McHenry
FUTURE PLANS: McHenry is planning to go to college after his senior year and wants to pursue a degree in game programming and simulation.
Mark Tomanek, Avon Lake
WEIGHT: 160 pounds
LAST WEEK: Tomanek suffered both his losses this season at the Southview Holiday tournament two weeks ago, and has been on a tear since. He went 6-0 through a series of meets leading up to a 5-0 performance at the Shoremen’s Avon Lake Duals tournament last weekend.
MARK’S THOUGHTS ON THE WEEK: “Losing the two matches at Southview wasn’t the best feeling. I started pushing myself a lot more at practice because I had to do better. I started off strong at our tournament and then pretty much breezed through the rest of the tournament.”
THREE THINGS I DO BESIDES WRESTLE: I like to relax at home. I like to play video games with my friends, usually at my place. We play on the Playstation 2, but I want to upgrade to the Xbox 360. I lift a lot at Competition Body in Avon Lake, the gym my dad owns. I lift at least three or four days a week but I like to lift there as much as I can.
PARENTS: Mark and Linda Tomanek
FUTURE PLANS: Tomanek wants to wrestle for a Division II or III college program — Division I doesn’t excite him because, “it’s like a job up there” — and has already received a call from Mount Union. In college, he wants to study toward a nursing degree.
103 — Uland Ralston, Southview, 14-1 (.933); Alex West, Vermilion, 17-3 (.850); Brad Slater, Olmsted Falls, 11-2 (.846); Jacob Pierce, Black River, 6-2 (.750); Doug Yonkings, Elyria, 8-4 (.667); Rex Rozar, North Ridgeville, 11-7 (.611); Evan Potts, Avon Lake, 11-9 (.550).
112 — Narcisco Inchaurregui, Southview, 16-1 (.941); Steve Mitcheff, Elyria, 20-3 (.870); Justin Bockmore, Wellington, 19-4 (.826); Conner Dempsey, Westlake, 12-3 (.800); Blake Jardonek, Avon Lake, 16-6 (.727); Jay Lucas, Black River, 3-2 (.600); P.J. Mueller, Olmsted Falls, 6-4 (.600); Calvin Knowlton, Black River, 7-5 (.583); John Debth, Berea, 7-6 (.538).
119 — Colin Dennis, Lutheran West, 24-1 (.960); Nick Lawrence, Westlake, 22-3 (.880); David Gyorfi, Southview, 14-2 (.875); Kevin Brunner, Avon Lake, 18-4 (.818); Kodie Egnor, Elyria, 16-6 (.727); Matt Zepp, North Ridgeville, 11-6 (.647); Josh Meade, Amherst, 9-6 (.600); Travis Wells, Clearview, 10-7 (.588); Joe Hough, Olmsted Falls, 7-5 (.583); Andrew Schuschu, Berea, 7-6 (.538); Josh Fralick, Wellington, 12-11 (.522).
125 — Zeno Inchaurregui, Southview, 15-0; Danny Urbin, Avon Lake, 18-2 (.900); Mike Varga, Olmsted Falls, 12-2 (.857); Cory Campbell, Black River, 12-3 (.800); Josh Ayers, Midview, 6-3 (.667); Mason Butler, Columbia, 14-7 (.667); Nolan Grame, Berea, 11-6 (.647); Myles Wright, Elyria, 13-10 (.565).
130 — Eric Bednash, Lutheran West, 18-2 (.900); Dalton McHenry, Elyria, 21-4 (.840); Brandon Morgan, Amherst, 14-3 (.824); Chris Yutzy, Berea, 11-5 (.688); Josh Taylor, Elyria Catholic, 14-7 (.667); Mike Daniels, Admiral King, 15-8 (.652); Naseem Merhi, Westlake, 13-8 (.619); Shane Gareau, Olmsted Falls, 8-5 (.615); Jeff Schaffer, Columbia, 11-8 (.579); Tylor Hall, Black River, 11-9 (.550); Brandon Mundell, North Ridgeville, 8-7 (.533).
135 — Josh Malave, Lutheran West, 24-1 (.960); Anthoney Budka, Vermilion, 16-4 (.800); Nate Russian, Avon, 6-2 (.750); Ryan Wells, Clearview, 14-5 (.737); John Whipkey, North Ridgeville, 13-5 (.722); Jimmy Gyorfi, Southview, 12-5 (.706); Brandon Perrott, Elyria, 11-5 (.688); Sheldon Stuckart, North Olmsted, 13-6 (.684); Brad Wukie, University School (Elyria), 4-2 (.667); Chaz McGrain, Olmsted Falls, 10-6 (.625); Jared Wise, Midview, 10-6 (.625).
140 — Josh Pfister, Black River, 19-0; Danny Accorti, Elyria Catholic, 20-1 (.952); Jon Bill, Clearview, 10-1 (.909); Cody Dieckman, Olmsted Falls, 12-2 (.857); Alex Tabar, Avon, 15-5 (.750); Brendan Rinehart, Wellington, 10-4 (.714); Tony Martinez, Southview, 10-5 (.667); Steve Selage, Columbia, 13-7 (.650); Sean Escolas, Westlake, 13-8 (.619); Chase Churchill, Elyria, 4-3 (.571).
145 — Zach Novosielski, Firelands, 11-1 (.917); Ramon Casteneda, Amherst, 13-3 (.813); Phillip Egnor, Elyria, 18-5 (.783); Brian Bush, Black River, 3-1 (.750); Tom Lemons, Midview, 8-3 (.727); Michael Mees, North Ridgeville, 13-5 (.722); Cliff Hickerson, Olmsted Falls, 10-4 (.714); Ben Bogan, Wellington, 17-8 (.680); Matt Mylachraine, Avon, 10-8 (.556); Eddie Holecko, Berea, 6-5 (.545).
152 — Ryan Shupe, Vermilion, 18-2 (.900); Devin Henry, Westlake, 16-2 (.889); Bobby Cruz, Southview, 5-1 (.833); Mark Fishburn, Olmsted Falls, 4-1 (.800); Zack Goins, Elyria, 16-5 (.762); Chad Muetzel, Black River, 12-5 (.706); Paul Garcia, Firelands, 12-6 (.667); Austin Smith, Wellington, 15-8 (.652); Sean Pincura, Midview, 8-5 (.615); James Mees, North Ridgeville, 11-7 (.611); Alex Feador, North Olmsted, 12-8 (.600); Scott Magnani, Berea, 9-6 (.600); Matt Phillips, North Ridgeville, 6-4 (.600); Jeremy George, Avon Lake, 4-3 (.571).
160 — Mark Tomanek, Avon Lake, 19-2 (.905); Matt Ramage, Wellington, 18-3 (.857); Derek Lozano, North Ridgeville, 14-3 (.824); Chris Kelly, North Olmsted, 15-5 (.750); Larry Tischler, Berea, 12-5 (.706); Jim Randolph, Black River, 7-3 (.700); Paul Findley, Southview, 10-5 (.667); Jason Gott, Elyria, 14-8 (.636); Patrick Bockey, Amherst, 9-6 (.600); Josh Derrick, Black River, 6-4 (.600); Austin Tackett, Brookside, 3-2 (.600); Cody Smith, Olmsted Falls, 7-5 (.583).
171 — Dane Szente, Elyria Catholic, 19-2 (.905); Aaron Winemiller, Amherst, 14-2 (.875); Jose Martinez, Southview, 14-2 (.875); Ben Kovach, Avon Lake, 19-3 (.864); Shane Friend, North Ridgeville, 13-4 (.765); Eugene Mercado, Admiral King, 14-5 (.737); Joe Abujaradeh, Berea, 11-4 (.733); Andy Miller, Oberlin, 8-3 (.727); Jordan Smith, Midview, 13-8 (.619); Nick Rados, Brookside, 8-7 (.533).
189 — Cody Wenrich, Amherst, 14-2 (.875); Nick Chmura, Oberlin, 19-4 (.826); Ryan Nelisse, Elyria, 23-5 (.821); Cody Peacock, Open Door, 6-2 (.750); Nate Orrick, Black River, 5-2 (.714); Joe Goff, Olmsted Falls, 5-2 (.714); Steve Church, Berea, 8-4 (.667); Vinnie Mannino, Vermilion, 9-6 (.600); Dustin English, Southview, 10-7 (.588); David Cooper, Clearview, 11-9 (.550).
215 — Ryan Smugala, Westlake, 17-4 (.810); Ethan Garofolo, Columbia, 17-6 (.739); Jerry Knapp, Olmsted Falls, 8-3 (.727); Tony D’Abato, Open Door, 5-2 (.714); Colin McHugh, Lutheran West, 18-8 (.692); Dalton Rimbert, Oberlin, 7-4 (.636); Matt Cadrette, Amherst, 10-6 (.625); Jack Moytka, North Ridgeville, 9-6 (.600); Jordan Kaspar, Brookside, 6-4 (.600); Tom Merrell, Elyria, 10-7 (.588).
HVY — Heinrich Brumenschenkle, Amherst, 9-2 (.818); Zach Laird, Olmsted Falls, 12-3 (.800); Patrick Flesher, Avon Lake, 17-5 (.773); Quentin Watson, Admiral King, 19-6 (.760); Adrian Adams, Elyria, 11-6 (.647); Marlowe Burton, Southview, 6-4 (.600); Kris Horton, Vermilion, 10-7 (.588); Kevin Reisendorff, Avon, 9-8 (.529).