July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Wrestling notes: A look at area’s best

Elyria's Armando Torres scores a first-period pin against Oregon Clay's Chad Berning at 120 pounds Wednesday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Elyria’s Armando Torres scores a first-period pin against Oregon Clay’s Chad Berning at 120 pounds Wednesday. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Every year we take a look at the talent in The Chronicle-Telegram’s coverage area and see what kind of All-Star team we could put together with the pool of wrestlers available. Here’s our picks:

106 — Starter: Sebastian Vidika, Black River. Backup: Devione Edwards, Lorain. Analysis: Vidika is a two-time state placer who is expected to advance to the state final this season. Edwards missed a state berth by seconds during his freshman season.

113 — Starter: Stan Bleich, Elyria Catholic. Backup: Nick Mayer, Avon Lake. Analysis: Bleich is a highly touted freshman who took third at the tough Catholic Invitational and has only one loss this season. Mayer also has an impressive record and competes in a Division I lineup.

120 — Starter: Armando Torres, Elyria. Backup: Dave Brunner, North Olmsted. Analysis: Torres was the Division I state runner-up last season, and could be back in the state final again this year. Brunner has put together a solid record in a tough Southwestern Conference.

126 — Starter: Nico O’Dor, Elyria. Backup: Tim Mecklenburg, Lutheran West. Analysis: O’Dor and Mecklenburg are ranked in the state, so they narrowly edge out Lorain’s Xaevier Edwards for spots on the team. O’Dor has had injury issues, so Mecklenburg could see action on our team.

132 — Starter: Joey Bernosky, Avon Lake. Backup: Max Kuchenrither, Avon. Analysis: Bernosky has been impressive this season, starring for a Division I program in a tough SWC. Kuchenrither has posted a great record while leading the Eagles to a tie atop the West Shore Conference standings.

138 — Starter: Logan Stiner, Keystone. Backup: Adam Salti, Olmsted Falls. Analysis: Stiner has won over 100 career matches and breezes through the Division III sectional tournament annually. Salti won an SWC title last season and has put up an impressive record this year.

145 — Starter: Bryce Williams, Amherst. Backup: Jake Paul, Westlake. Analysis: Williams is expected to battle for a spot in Columbus, while Paul has wrestled at 152 during the season but is also expected to battle for a state berth at 145. It’s a tough weight class with Lutheran West freshman James Handwerk, Elyria’s Darrion Overall and Avon Lake’s Tyler Mayer also demanding attention.

152 — Starter: Ben Darmstadt, Elyria. Backup: Jake DeLorge, Lutheran West. Analysis: Darmstadt looked good during a state appearance as a 120-pound freshman, and looks even more dominant as a 152-pound sophomore. DeLorge is ranked in the Division III state rankings, giving him a slight edge over Amherst’s Austin Williams for the backup spot.

160 — Starter: Mike Wearsch, Amherst. Backup: Taylor Workman, Elyria. Analysis: Wearsch is a returning state qualifier and a tough test for anyone he faces. Workman narrowly missed a state berth last season, and is coming on strong late in the season.

170 — Starter: J.T. Brown, Elyria. Backup: Ricky Godri, North Ridgeville. Analysis: The Pioneers freshman wins a starting spot while the Rangers’ Godri will fill in if needed at probably the weakest area weight class.

182 — Starter: Jacob Worthington, Keystone. Backup: Austin Kuchta, Lorain. Analysis: Worthington is the area’s lone unbeaten and a returning state placer. Kuchta is a returning Division III state qualifier who is looking to repeat the feat in Division I. Amherst’s Derek Eibon gets squeezed out in a stacked weight class.

195 — Starter: Adam Kuchta, Lorain. Backup: Dennis Breeding, Amherst. Analysis: Kuchta gets the narrow starting nod over Breeding, who came close to matching Kuchta’s state appearance last season. Westlake’s Yousef Mustafa was also in the conversation for a team spot.

220 — Starter: Connor Kamczyc, Elyria. Backup: Ivan Mendoza, Brookside. Analysis: Kamczyc has been on fire lately, and could easily find himself in Columbus next month. Mendoza edges Avon’s Joe Travagliante for the backup spot after looking impressive during some late-season matches.

285 — Starter: Kevin Vough, Elyria. Backup: Jordan Lee, Olmsted Falls. Analysis: Vough is another freshman sensation that has pulled off some big wins this season. Westlake’s Ahmad Mustafa and North Ridgeville’s Nick Bailey were pushing for a spot on the team.

The Lowe down

Intermat’s Josh Lowe, the online wrestling guru known as Bucksman, released his State Tournament Predictions Report on Thursday night — it has unofficially taken the place of the discontinued Brakeman Report for most high school wrestling fans in Ohio — and many area wrestlers made Lowe’s rankings.

In Division I — Lorain’s Devione Edwards is No. 5 at 106 pounds; Elyria’s Armando Torres is No. 4 at 120; Elyria’s Nico O’Dor is No. 16 at 126; Elyria’s Jesse Orantek is expected to battle for a 132-pound state berth; Olmsted Falls’ Adam Salti is expected to battle for a 138-pound state berth; Westlake’s Jake Paul is expected to battle for a 145-pound state berth; Elyria’s Ben Darmstadt is No. 5 at 152; Amherst’s Mike Wearsch is No. 10 at 160; Elyria’s Taylor Workman is No. 11 at 160; St. Edward’s Kevin Khoma (from Sheffield Lake) is No. 13 at 170; St. Edward’s Gabe Dzuro (from North Olmsted) is No. 6 at 182; Lorain’s Adam Kuchta is No. 12 at 195; Amherst’s Dennis Breeding is No. 13 at 195; St. Edward’s Mike O’Malley (from Westlake) is No. 14 at 195; St. Edward’s Parker Knapp (from Olmsted Falls) is No. 6 at 220; Elyria’s Connor Kamczyc is expected to battle for a 220-pound state berth; Elyria’s Kevin Vough is No. 5 at 285; and Olmsted Falls’ Jordan Lee is No. 15 at 285.

In Division II — Keystone’s Jacob Worthington is No. 5 at 182.

In Division III — Black River’s Sebastian Vidika is No. 3 at 106; Elyria Catholic’s Stan Bleich is No. 16 at 113; Lutheran West’s Tim Mecklenburg is No. 10 at 126; Lutheran West’s James Handwerk is No. 10 at 145; and Lutheran West’s Jake DeLorge is No. 11 at 152.

League breakdown

  • Elyria went unbeaten in Northeast Ohio Conference dual meets, and is the prohibitive favorite to win the league tournament tonight and Saturday at Garfield Heights. The championships are awarded by division and the Pioneers sit in the top division — the Valley Division — with Mayfield, Mentor, Solon, Strongsville and Twinsburg. Brunswick and Parma are the favorites in the other two division races.
  • Lorain will compete in the Lake Erie League tournament Saturday at Maple Heights. The LEL did not have regular-season dual meets and the Titans will be seeing many of the LEL teams for the first time, with the conference crown being decided on the tournament results.
  • North Ridgeville and Avon tied with 6-1 records in dual meets during the regular season, so one will need to win the West Shore Conference tournament Saturday at Elyria Catholic to capture the outright championship. Bay is third with a 5-2 record.
  • Brookside won the Stars Division trophy given to the dual meet champion, and Lutheran West took the Stripes Division trophy. But the Patriot Athletic Conference overall championship will be decided Saturday at Lutheran West in the league tournament.
  • Brecksville swept the regular-season dual meets, and is a near-lock to capture its ninth straight Southwestern Conference tournament title Saturday at Westlake. Amherst and Olmsted Falls have solid lineups and both have a legitimate shot at second place.

Whizzers

  • Clearview senior 160-pounder Derrick Foster earned his 100th career victory during a home Patriot Athletic Conference dual meet against Oberlin. He won No. 101 the same night against Columbia.
  • No coverage programs will wrestle next weekend in the second annual state dual meet tournament in Columbus. Olmsted Falls fell to St. Edward — several area wrestlers start for the Eagles — in the regional semifinals, and Elyria finished as regional runner-up in a narrow loss to Oregon Clay.

Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or sbennett@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @ShaunBennettct.