No state qualifiers for Aurora High mat team

Published:

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Alliance -- Several wrestling coaches said they felt the Division II district tournament here was the toughest of the four districts.

However, eight Portage County-based wrestlers punched their tickets to the state meet this weekend, but Aurora will not send anyone for the first time in years.

The Greenmen placed 22nd as a team with 23 1/2 points. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy claimed the district title.

Freshman 106-pounder Josh Whitelaw was the Greenmen's lone placer at the district -- taking fifth. If any of the four state qualifiers cannot compete, he will step into action as an alternate.

"He will continue to work out and prepare, and will make the trip with hopes of competing," said AHS coach Dick Bliss.

Despite the struggles, Bliss said his team worked hard to improve this season, noting several of the district qualifiers were junior varsity wrestlers last year.

All eight of Aurora's district qualifiers were underclassmen and will return next year.

"All of the wrestlers deserve a big round of applause for their efforts and great improvement as the year went on," Bliss said.

Crestwood led Portage County schools with four qualifiers -- Jake Zemaitis (113), Conner Nemec (120), Dylan Kager (138) and Kenny Jackson (182).

Whitelaw began district action with a technical fall (17-2) over a Kenmore foe, then faced a West ranch wrestler who had upset a sectional champ in Round 1. Whitelaw trailed 5-2 halfway through the second period, earned an escape to end the period and then had an escape, takedown and a pair of 2-point near falls for a 10-5 win and spot in the semifinals.

He lost to the district runnerup and eventual third-place winner before recording an 11-3 major decision after going into overtime. He recorded a penalty point, reversal, 2-point near fall and 3-point near fall in overtime.

Freshman Danny Novak earned a major decision at 113 pounds, junior Andrew Petersen (12) won two matches, as did junior Brian Evans (145), sophomore Brian McNamara had one win at 182 and sophomore A.J. Suchovsky had a pin at 195.

District qualifiers junior Micky Carrasco (220) and freshman Josh Burger (285) competed well, but couldn't nab a any victories. Bliss explained there was a great deal of concern over Burger's final match, as he injured his ankle and had to default in the final period of a scoreless match.

Final records of the district qualifiers were: Whitelaw 25-11, Novak 16-19, Petersen 32-11, Evans 33-14, McNamara 21-17, Suchovsky 21-22, Carrasco 26-15 and Burger 28-12.

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