by MICHAEL LEONARD | SPORTS EDITOR
Hudson -- The holiday tournament here has long served as a jumping off point for the second half of the wrestling season.
For Aurora and Streetsboro, the tourney could prove to be a good springboard.
Aurora finished second in the 15-team tournament with 178 points, although the Greenmen gave up a first day lead to champion Parma (198 points). Streetsboro was seventh with 110 points.
AHS coach Dick Bliss noted he brought 12 wrestlers to the tourney and 11 placed.
"It's early yet and we will get better," Bliss said. "The trophy is the least of my concerns. My biggest concern is getting the kids to perform. We'd rather learn things now than later in the season."
The 106-pound title match was an all-Portage County affair as Aurora freshman Jarrod Brezovec faced Streetsboro senior Sean Kuklisin.
Brezovec dominated the match, however, getting the only takedown in the first period and using a cradle to pin Kuklisin in 3:08.
"I just set it up," Brezovec said. "I plan on breaking guys before the match starts. I hit the cradle a lot back in seventh grade, and I just went back to it."
Aurora 113-pounder Josh Whitelaw also was in the title match, as he took on Mitch Tikkanen of Jackson-Milton. However, Tikkanen scored the pin at 3:36 to claim the title.
The Greenmen also won at heavyweight title, as Josh Burger narrowly beat Warren Howland's Mike Bell.
The match was tied at 1-1 after regulation and the first overtime, sending it to the tie-break rounds. Burger rode Bell for the entire first round. He then chose down, escaped and held on for a 2-1 win.
"It was a close one," Burger said. "He beat me twice last year, so it feels good. I knew I had to keep going.
Aurora also got a third-place finish from 152-pounder Bubba Arslanian
There was some bad news, as Aurora's 126-pounder Andrew Petersen suffered a foot injury and had to default to sixth place.