Matmen open with third-place finish; three claim crowns

by MICHAEL LEONARD | SPORTS EDITOR Published:

Aurora --What do you call a full-scale one-day wrestling tournament that takes place two days after Thanksgiving?

Not ideal, perhaps, as all that turkey can play havoc with wrestlers' weights.

Nonetheless, Aurora kicked off the Portage County wrestling season Nov. 30 by hosting the second annual Paulie McGhee Memorial Invitational.

Aurora and Rootstown were right in the thick of the team championship race, but defending champion Parma retained its title with 214.5 points.

The race for second between the Greenmen and Rovers came down to the final match of the night.

When Garaway's Ben Sexton pinned Aurora sophomore Josh Burger to win the 285-pound title, it gave Rootstown the runnerup trophy with 195.5 points. Aurora settled for third with 194.

Among other area teams, Streetsboro finished eighth with 93 points, while Kent Roosevelt was ninth with 77.

AHS veteran head coach Dick Bliss was happy with his team's performance, but noted he had many football players in the lineup this year that he did not last year.

"We'll be all right," Bliss said. "We've got a lot of work to do, and we're not afraid to do it. Everybody has problems, but we're going to try to minimize them going forward."

AURORA HAD three individual champions in freshman 106-pounder Jarrod Brezovec, 113-pounder Josh Whitelaw and 126-pounder Andrew Petersen.

"It's tough, especially over the holiday weekend," Petersen said. "You just have to focus on your goal of winning the tournament. I think we can finish really well this year."

The Greenmen also had two third-place winners -- juniors Angus Nietert at 182 pounds and A.J. Suchovsky at 195 -- while taking fourth were Danny Novak at 120 and Brian Evans at 160.

Fifth places were earned by sophomore Cole Gavin at 132 and freshman Bubba Arslanian, while sophomore Carter Driscoll was injured in his second match and had to forfeit down to eighth place at 138. Freshman Josh Louden represented the varsity at 145 and recorded one win.

Aurora's Green team also competed and placed four wrestlers -- senior Sal Petrash was fourth at 126, freshman J.T. Rose was sixth at 160, sophomore Justin Rosselot was seventh at 113 and freshman Will Lovell was eighth at 152.

Parma's dominance of the middle weights earned them the team crown, as the Redmen won individual titles at 132 (Tyler Workman), 138 (Chase Csongedi), 145 (Kyle Workman), 152 (Docherty) and 220 pounds (Dylan Halaska).

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The varsity will travel to Columbus for the Upper Arlington pool tournament on Dec. 7, an event which features mostly Division I schools from the capital city. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. The Green team will travel to Cardinal for a varsity tourney, with action starting at 10 a.m.

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Bliss' weekly awards:

Top wrestler -- Whitelaw, who dominated his weigh class with a pin, two technical falls and a major decision; most exciting match -- Brezovec's 5-4 win in the championship match, which Bliss said "matches like that can turn your hair gray"; fastest fall -- Burger over a Mayfield foe in 9 seconds.

Key match -- Arslanian's 4-1 victory over a North Olmsted foe to earn a spot in the finals; most takedowns -- Whitelaw and Gavin had 13 each; coach's award -- Louden, who earned some points for the varsity; top practice wrestler -- Whitelaw. "He works very hard every day and his performance reflected his efforts," said Bliss.

Top Green team effort -- Petash's fourth-place finish; top sophomore effort -- Gavin with four wins (two pins, a technical fall and 8-1 victory); top freshman effort -- Brezovec, a champion in his first varsity outing.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4190

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