FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- It was a fantastic week for the JAWs (Junior Aurora Wrestlers) team at the Northeast Ohio Youth Wrestling sectional tournament at Maple Heights High School.
The locals crowned seven champions, qualified 14 grapplers to this weekend's district tournament and won the team trophy. They tallied 261 points. Mayfield was second at 218.5.
"The team race was close heading into the finals, but we took matters into our own hands, winning 11 of 16 final matches," said coach Shawn McNamara.
Bo DiJulius beat a solid wrestler from Mayfield 1-0 to earn the 56-pound title after flattening his first two opponents.
Nic Willingham (64 pounds) and Kyle Petersen (67) won hard-fought final matches after beating top-seeded wrestlers from Maple Heights in the semifinals. Petersen went into the third period locked in a scoreless tie, but scored a reversal for a 2-0 win.
Sam Devito (90) and Carter Gerbrick (95) dominated their classes for championships. Devito beat a solid grappler from Kenston and Gerbrick flattened a foe from Maple in the finals.
Will McGhee also was a champion at 100 with a hard-fought 2-0 victory in the semis and a close bout against Cuyahoga Heights in the finals. Colin McNamara pinned his way to first place at 132.
Dante Leone was a bright star of the day at 150 pounds. A first-year wrestler, he beat the No. 2 seed from Kenston in the semis 3-0, but lost in the finals.
Justin Lovell (105) and Zach Flynn (110) also took second after losing to top-seeded opponents in the finals.
The Perez brothers -- Marcus (46) and Armen (49) -- won their first matches by one point. Eventually, Marcus placed third and Armen was fourth. However, they will not compete at the district tourney because wrestling there starts at 52 pounds.
Shane Cheatham went 3-1 for a third-place finish, beating a solid wrestler from Maple Heights for his final victory.
John Papesh also finished third, wrestling a number of exciting matches.
Ben Rogge came up short of the podium at 73 after he lost to a Mayfield wrestler. He trailed by two points with less than 10 seconds to go, but failed on an attempt for a takedown.
Mason Meurer wrestled well at 52 pounds, but did not place, and Brian Kennedy (79) and Jeffrey Burger (82) had tough brackets and didn't quite have enough horsepower to pull needed upsets.
Seth Stojetz wrestled in the loaded 120-pound division and lost to the eventual champion in his first match, but came back with a pin against a solid Nordonia grappler. Then he lost in the consolation semifinals.
The OYWA state finals will take place Feb. 10.