BROOKLYN — To say Lorain County wrestlers and teams fared well Saturday at the Division III sectional at Brooklyn High School would be an understatement.
Thirty-one wrestlers representing six schools qualified for next weekend’s district at Garfield Heights, and local teams took three of the top four spots in the 13-team tournament, including first-place Wellington. Of the 31 district qualifiers, seven were sectional champions.
The Dukes’ team championship was a surprise to some.
While defending champion Keystone, coming off a berth in the Division III state team tournament last Saturday, will be well represented at districts with eight qualifiers and two sectional champs, their Patriot Athletic Conference rival stole the show.
With sophomore Alex Imhoff’s 145-pound championship leading the way, the Dukes led the tourney with nine district qualifiers and 180 points, good enough to hold off Cuyahoga Heights (170, eight qualifiers), Keystone (167.5) and Clearview (154.5, six qualifiers).
“What a great weekend,” Wellington coach John Sedlick said. “I guess this was a pleasant surprise. I knew we’d be competitive, but we really turned it on today. The guys really just wrestled great.
“Alex wrestled a great tournament, but this was really a team effort. We had nine qualifiers and two alternates. Everybody we brought placed. And we wound up with 18 pins and two techs.
“If we just get normal wins, I don’t think we beat Cuyahoga Heights. All of those bonus points really made the difference.”
Imhoff (26-15) was one of three Dukes who advanced to the championship match but the only one to emerge victorious. Imhoff pinned Chanel’s Kalil Evans in the semifinals in 5:34, then defeated Columbia’s Brandon Medina 6-3 for his first sectional title.
“We didn’t do too well starting off this season, but toward the end of the year, we just started working harder in practice,” Imhoff said. “To have nine district qualifiers and two alternates shows that the hard work pays off. Now, we’ve just got to go back and work even harder if we want to get everyone to state.”
Junior Jacob Downs (106) and sophomore Josh Kitko (152) also advanced to the championship bout. Downs was defeated by two-time defending champ Nick Orr of Cuyahoga Heights by major decision, 14-3, while Kitko was pinned by Clearview’s Derrick Fisher in 1:42.
Other district qualifiers for the Dukes were Nick Arnspaugh (fourth, 113), Josh Eschedor (fourth, 126), Ben Provoznik (third, 132), Matt Kitko (third, 160), Kaz Dec (third, 170) and Aaron Ferguson (fourth, 182). Sophomore Jacob Squire (195) and junior Alex Coker (138) finished fifth to become district alternates.
“We drill moves every day and we get frustrated because they don’t always hit them,” Sedlick said. “You just keep working and working. They started hitting things they weren’t hitting before. They’re making things work. They gained confidence and they had momentum and here we are.”
Keystone wound up with two individual champions in sophomores Josh Fisher (160) and Jacob Worthington (182). Fisher defeated Independence’s Nick Sia 7-3, while Worthington pinned Clearview’s Divante Holt in 1:39. Juniors Logan Stiner (132) and Jeremy King (160) were runners-up for the Wildcats.
“After taking second here last year, my goal was to definitely get first at sectionals, which would give me a good setup at districts,” Worthington said. “I think we’ve accomplished a lot as a team. I think we’ve shown what we can do both as a team and as individuals. We need to keep working. Everyone worked hard and everyone got the job done.”
Fisher’s title was especially rewarding, because he missed most of the season with an injury.
“(The run to state) really pushed all of us,” said Fisher, who improved to 5-9. “We all got jacked for all of our matches and we pushed ourselves even harder in practice. We gave it our all to get down to Columbus, and that confidence carried over to this weekend.”
Clearview led the area contingent with the most finalists (five) and champions (three). The Clippers tied fifth-place Independence (147) for the most champions, and both teams advanced five to the championship match, matching Cuyahoga Heights for the most finalists at the sectional.
For the Clippers, senior twins Mike (126) and Matt Hollingsworth (132) and junior Foster (152) claimed their first sectional crowns. Of the three, Mike Hollingsworth’s win was the most dramatic.
Trailing defending sectional champ Nate Frye of Cuyahoga Heights 5-2 with less than a minute to go, Hollingsworth nailed a tilt to get two points for the takedown and two more back points. Frye tried to scramble and reverse him, but time ran out before the officials would award the two points he needed.
“It feels good, but I just feel like I didn’t wrestle my finals match the way I wanted to,” Mike Hollingsworth said. “I was hoping to be more solid. I wasn’t in control of the match the way I wanted to be. I know I’m going to have to wrestle better than that if I want to get to state.”
Matt Hollingsworth followed with a 9-5 victory over Logan Stiner, avenging a 9-8 loss to Stiner two weeks ago in the championship match at the PAC Tournament.
“All my teammates motivate me,” Matt Hollingsworth said. “(Mike) winning is just that extra thing that makes you want to pick it up that much more. It’s nice to win it together. We want to finish out our senior season good.
“This is actually my first time ever being at sectionals. I missed all the others for injuries or weight issues. So to finally get my first crack as a senior, I was definitely motivated to do my best.”
Foster (41-5), whom coach Jason Steadman called his team’s “most complete wrestler,” got the job done with two pins and a default semifinal victory.
“My coaches were telling me if I went out and wrestled my way, I’d win it,” Foster said. “I had the thought in my head that I could win it. I never wrestled (Kitko) this year, and I liked that. I like wrestling guys who don’t know what I do. I knew I could do the moves I wanted because he had never been on the mat with me.”
Other Clippers to reach the finals were Holt and senior heavyweight Deion Arnold. Arnold lost to Independence’s Paul Deely 3-1 in the final match of the tournament.
Elyria Catholic junior Austin Kuchta rounded out the area’s individual champions. The 195-pounder pinned Cuyahoga Heights’ Bryan Jones in 3:38 to win a title in his first sectional appearance.
“It feels pretty good,” said Kuchta, who was one of three district qualifiers for the Panthers, along with twin brother Adam (runner-up at 220) and freshman Andre Torres (fourth, 285). “I was so motivated heading into this. I was really hyped up. I wanted to wrestle last year and they wouldn’t let me. Now I got my chance, and now I can shine.”
Medina was the only other area wrestler to reach the championship bout. He was one of three district qualifiers for the Raiders.
Oberlin, led by Tyler Thomas’ third-place finish at 152, will have two wrestlers at Garfield Heights.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
1. Wellington 180, 2. Cuyahoga Heights 170, 3. Keystone 167.5, 4. Clearview 154.5, 5. Independence 147, 6. Lutheran West 107, 7. Brooklyn 91, 8. Elyria Catholic 87, 9. Columbia 69, 10. Oberlin 40, 11. Cleveland Central Catholic 24, 12. (tie) St. Peter Chanel, Trinity 21.
(Top 4 advance to Garfield Heights district)
106 — FIRST: Nick Orr (Cuyahoga Heights) maj. dec. Jacob Downs (Wellington), 14-3; THIRD: Justin Clark (Columbia) pinned Jarrett Hylton (Clearview), 4:16; FIFTH: Mike Filiaggi (Elyria Catholic) dec. Jacob Ressler (Lutheran West), 5-3.
113 — FIRST: Dominic Meehan (Brooklyn) pinned Cory Pucci (Cuyahoga Heights), 2:48; THIRD: Matt Mroczynski (Independence) dec. Nick Arnspaugh (Wellington), 2-1; FIFTH: Isaiah Gohagan (Clearview) pinned Matt Dobrilovic (Keystone), 1:29.
120 — FIRST: Tim Mecklenburg (Lutheran West) pinned Jacob Spino (Independence), 1:40; THIRD: Dillon Stiner (Keystone) pinned Noah Kadas (Cuyahoga Heights), 4:37; FIFTH: Mason Harsar (Elyria Catholic) pinned Jacob Corcino (Clearview), 2:52.
126 — FIRST: Mike Hollingsworth (Clearview) dec. Nate Frye (Cuyahoga Heights), 6-5; THIRD: Lewis Roginsky (Brooklyn) def. Jon Eschedor (Wellington) by inj. default; FIFTH: Bryce Deblock (Lutheran West) pinned Nick Jacobucci (Columbia), :46.
132 — FIRST: Matt Hollingsworth (Clearview) dec. Logan Stiner (Keystone), 9-5; THIRD: Ben Provoznik (Wellington) pinned Luke Roginsky (Brooklyn), 1:30; FIFTH: Sean Kilbane (Elyria Catholic) maj. dec. Morgan Bremke (Oberlin), 17-8.
138 — FIRST: Graham Montague (Independence) def. Nick Chuha (Cuyahoga Heights) by default; THIRD: Matt Gatto (Brooklyn) dec. Chris McKenzie (Keystone), 7-2; FIFTH: Alex Coker (Wellington) pinned Adler Vasiloff (Lutheran West), 1:35.
145 — FIRST: Alex Imhoff (Wellington) dec. Brandon Medina (Columbia), 5-3; THIRD: Kalil Evans (Chanel) dec. Anthony Blogna (Cuyahoga Heights), 10-6; FIFTH: Clay Hartley (Keystone) pinned Gevin Maxwell (Lutheran West), 1:59.
152 — FIRST: Derrick Foster (Clearview) pinned Josh Kitko (Wellington), 1:42; THIRD: Tyler Thomas (Oberlin) pinned Tanner Hadick (Independence), 1:52; FIFTH: Ben Huff (Cuyahoga Heights) pinned Josh Reddy (Brooklyn), :47.
160 — FIRST: Josh Fisher (Keystone) dec. Nick Sia (Independence), 7-3; THIRD: Matt Kitko (Wellington) pinned Chandler Holesovsky (Cuyahoga Heights), 2:11; FIFTH: Marvin Beavers (Brooklyn) dec. Bill Hensley (Columbia), 12-8.
170 — FIRST: Andrew Liese (Lutheran West) pinned Jeremy King (Keystone), 3:27; THIRD: Kaz Dec (Wellington) dec. Caleb Pope (Cleveland Central Catholic), 6-4; FIFTH: Clinton Cooper (Clearview) def. Jose Morales (Chanel) by forfeit.
182 — FIRST: Jacob Worthington (Keystone) pinned Divante Holt (Clearview), 1:39; THIRD: Chris Weck (Trinity) pinned Alex Ferguson (Wellington), 1:31; FIFTH: Alex Shumaker (Columbia) pinned Dominic Montes (Lutheran West), :52.
195 — FIRST: Austin Kuchta (Elyria Catholic) pinned Bryan Jones (Cuyahoga Heights), 3:38; THIRD: Corbin Chizmadia (Keystone) pinned Jose Caraballo (Columbia), :32; FIFTH: Jacob Squire (Wellington) pinned Daryl Graham (Brooklyn), 2:47.
220 — FIRST: Alex Scotton (Independence) dec. Adam Kuchta (Elyria Catholic), 6-3; THIRD: Jason Bustance (Keystone) pinned Wesley Gallion (Oberlin), :33; FIFTH: Eddie Melikian (Cuyahoga Heights) def. Kristian Bremer (Lutheran West) by default.
285 — FIRST: Paul Deely (Independence) dec. Deion Arnold (Clearview), 3-1; THIRD: Ian Long (Lutheran West) pinned Andre Torres (Elyria Catholic), 1:38; FIFTH: Cameron Hill (Cleveland Central Catholic) def. Michael Piearczyk (Trinity) by default.