Aurora -- What personified this season for the Aurora varsity wrestlers? Youth and growth, according to coach Dick Bliss.
"We were very young, and all of our kids improved a great deal," he said. "The young kids battled, worked hard and improved. They never lost sight of the work and improvement. They grew as wrestlers and as young men."
Eight wrestlers qualified for the district tournament, including Josh Burger, Micky Carrasco, Brian Evans, Brian McNamara, Danny Novak, Andrew Petersen, A.J. Suchovsky and Josh Whitelaw.
The team's final dual meet record was 2-6. The best tournament finishes were at Salem (second out of eight team), Chagrin Valley Conference tournament (fourth out of 17) and fifth in the sectional tournament.
Here is a rundown of the Greenmen at each weight class:
• Whitelaw, sophomore at 106 pounds, was 25-11, first-team all-CVC, second at the sectional, fifth at the district and an alternate to state. "We are very proud of him and his improvement," Bliss said.
• Novak, freshman at 113, earned the job, according to his coach, but started at 4-12 on the varsity. In the last half of the season, he was 12-7, ending at 16-19, was third in the sectional and won a match at the district. "We were pleased with his improvement," Bliss said.
• Petersen, junior at 120, ended up at 32-11, was a Salem Tournament champion, third at the sectional, second-team all-CVC, won two matches at the district and was very close to qualifying for the state meet, according to his coach. He led the team in takedowns, 2- and 3-point near falls, and technical falls. "Although one of our returning starters, he also improved technically a great deal this year," Bliss said.
• SAL PETRASH, junior at 126, never had a winning season at any level up to this season, his coach said. "He was sitting at 1-3 on the JV team this year when he was called on to be a varsity wrestler," Bliss said. "All he did was respond with a 20-13 varsity season. We are very pleased with him and his progress."
• Carter Driscoll, freshman at 132, was "a small 132 and should have been at 126, but we had a need at 132," Bliss said. "Although it was not easy for him, he always battled and won 13 varsity matches for us, ending at 13-21. He improved greatly and will be a force in the coming years."
• Mitch Lackey, junior at 138, is only a second-year wrestler, one that had never wrestled a varsity match in his career, his coach said. "He won eight varsity matches, ended at 8-20 and grew as a wrestler," Bliss said.
• Evans, junior at 145, never had a varsity spot in the program going into this season, according to his coach. This year, he led the team with 33 wins and ended at 33-14. He won the Matteucci Tournament, was third at the sectional and won two matches at the district. "He loves it and will continue to improve," Bliss said.
• Kevin Boysza, junior at 152, is another wrestler that previously had no varsity experience, his coach said. "Kevin stepped in and battled," Bliss said. "He ended at 13-23 and pinned 11 opponents, truly helping us out a great deal. Kevin showed he is developing a solid foundation to build on going into his senior year."
• Andrew Seidel, freshman at 160. "Basically, we did not have a regular at 160 pounds," Bliss said. "We tried to use Andrew, a 152-pound freshman, in this spot for a few weeks. He then chipped a bone in his finger and was back out of the lineup. While he was in the lineup, he was 4-5 for the varsity."
• Angus Nietert, sophomore at 170. He won 13 matches, ending 13-19, pinned eight, was second in the Matteucci Tournament and fourth at the Salem Tournament. "We think he will be very good next season," Bliss said.
• McNAMARA, sophomore at 182. He had a 21-17 record. "He turned in a solid season, ending third at the sectional and won a match at the district," Bliss said. "He was one of a few regulars that returned from last year, again showing consistent improvement."
• Suchovsky, sophomore at 195. He had a 21-22 record, was second-team all-CVC and qualified for the district as a sectional fourth-place winner. He pinned one opponent at the district.
"A.J. battled in every match he was in all year," Bliss said.
• Carrasco, junior at 220. He won 26 matches this year -- 16 via pin, tying for first on the team -- against 15 defeats. He was second-team all-CVC and qualified for the district with a fourth place at the sectionals. "He improved from his sophomore year and added some maturity to the top end of our lineup," Bliss said.
• Burger, freshman at 285, did an exceptional job, according to his coach. He was 28-12, tied for the most pins on the team with 16, finished second in the sectional, third at the Paulie McGhee Tournament, third at the Matteucci Tournament and third in the CVC. "A freshman competing at this weight class seldom has a great deal of success," Bliss said. "He is a gamer and a scrapper with a huge future in wrestling."
Bliss said he is looking forward to next season.
"Those who work the hardest in the spring and summer will obviously give themselves more of an opportunity for success next year," he said. "We also expect the varsity to be improved by a number of kids from this year's eighth-grade class.
"We have some very good young kids coming up, from both Harmon School and from club wrestlers. Overall, the future of Aurora wrestling looks very bright."
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187