Aurora wrestlers earn sectional title,10 continue on

by MICHAEL LEONARD | SPORTS EDITOR Published:

Austintown -- The Greenmen feasted on the competition during the first weekend of the state postseason wrestling tournaments.

Wrestling at the Division I level for the first time in school history proved to be no issue for Aurora, which claimed the sectional team title Feb. 15 at Austintown Fitch. Rounding out the top five were Solon, Austintown Fitch, Hudson and Kenston.

Aurora won the championship with 200.5 points. More importantly, the Greenmen advanced 10 wrestlers to the Division I district tournament at Mentor. The top four placers in each bracket advance.

Aurora took command at Austintown by going 7 of 8 in semifinal matches, pulling away from runnerup Solon. While the Comets closed the deficit to 12 points in the final session, the gap was too much to overcome.

"I was happy with the semifinal round," said Aurora coach Dick Bliss. "I've never left one of these things happy. We gave away three matches after we were leading. But our kids battled and battled and battled. They believe that they will be successful."

Aurora got individual titles from 106-pounder Jarrod Brezovec and 112-pounder Josh Whitelaw.

One piece of good news came in the return of 220-pounder Brian McNamara, who was only in his second week of wrestling after breaking his leg in three places during football season.

McNamara had a metal rod inserted into his left leg following the injury, but he still managed to reach the 220-pound title match, where he lost to Fitch's Jake Franks 4-3.

Four other Greenmen took second -- freshman Bubba Arslanian (152) and sophomores Danny Novak (120), Cole Gavin (138) and Josh Burger (285).

Junior A.J. Suchovsky (195) claimed third place, senior Brian Evans (160) and junior Angus Nietert (182) finished up fourth.

Senior Sal Petrash (126) won four of six matches, but came up short of qualifying, finishing in fifth place. "He's an alternate and will compete at Mentor if any of our 10 qualifiers cannot compete," said Bliss.

Sophomore Carter Driscoll won a match by pin. Also competing were senior Kevin Boysza and freshman J.T. Rose.

"The latter two gained some valuable experience; however, unfortunately for Kevin his high school career is over," said Bliss. "He represented us in many events, winning 37 matches. He will be missed."

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The district tournament will start Feb. 21 at 5 p.m., and Feb. 22 wrestling is at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. No passes will be accepted, and there is no presale of tickets. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students per session.

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Bliss' weekly awards are:

Top wrestlers -- Brezovec and Whitelaw; fastest fall -- Driscoll in 43 seconds; key match -- Whitelaw with a come from behind 8-5 decision; most exciting match -- Arslanian had two takedowns in the semifinals against a No. 1 seed and won 4-3.

Most takedowns -- Petrash with eight; coach's award -- Suchovsky. After losing his opening match, he posted four wins; top practice wrestler -- Evans; top sophomore effort -- Novak, Gavin and Burger, all of whom claimed second place; top freshman effort -- Brezovec.

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Records of the 10 Greenmen advancing to the district are: Brezovec 37-2, Whitelaw 28-4, Novak 26-15, Gavin 21-16, Arslanian 29-11, Evans 27-14, Nietert 18-16, Suchovsky 24-16, McNamara 4-2 and Burger 29-7. Petrash's record is 26-17.

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Greenmen JV leaders for the season were: most wins -- Kain Beaston 13, Matt Crissman 11 and Will Lovell 10; most pins -- Crissman and Brian Kingure 6; most takedowns -- Beaston 23; most escapes -- Beaston 24; most reversals -- Alex Nelson 8; most 2-point near falls -- Beaston 10; most 3-point near falls -- Nelson 8.

Winning JV records for the season are: Beaston 13-8, Crissman 11-5, Lovell 10-6, Nelson 9-4, Josh Loudon 9-5, Carter Driscoll 8-4, Kingure 8-5, Connor Rosselot 6-3, Aaron Ruiz 4-3, Jordan Pollard 3-0 and J.T. Rose 3-1.

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