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Young Aurora matmen fare well at year-end tourneys

Published: February 19, 2014 12:00 AM
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Aurora -- Junior Aurora Wrestlers finished the 2013-14 wrestling season very strong.

On Feb. 2, JAWs took 10 wrestlers to the district tournament in Garfield Heights and advanced six to the state tournament. Nic Willingham won a district title at 64 pounds by tech falling his first two foes, then finishing with 4-0 and 2-0 victories.

Shane Cheatham took second at 70 pounds with a first-round tech fall, followed by a 6-0 decision and a fall. In the finals, he wrestled a solid opponent from Brunswick and came up short 6-2.

The other four qualifiers went through the consolation brackets. A.J. Barner placed third at 95, while Bo DiJulius (56), Ben Rogge (76) and John Papesh (79) all placed fourth.

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In the consolation semifinal matches to determine who advances to the state tournament, the locals were a perfect 4-0.

DiJulius flattened a Mayfield wrestler, and Rogge pinned a West Shore wrestler, leading to the two most exciting matches of the day.

Papesh squared off against a Twinsburg wrestler who beat him the previous week, and earned a solid 9-6 win. Barner faced off against a Maple Heights wrestler who had beaten him three times this year and won 3-2 in overtime.

Armen Perez (52), Dylan Delrosa (73), Brian Kennedy (82) and Jeffrey Burger (86) also competed, but couldn't get through. All will be back next year.

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On Feb. 8, six JAWs wrestlers competed at Akron Firestone High School in the Ohio youth wrestling championships. Willingham captured a crown at 64, DiJulius (56) was fourth and Papesh was sixth. As a team, Aurora was 10th out of 109.

Willingham began with two major decisions and was tied at zero heading into the third period against a North Akron wrestler. With seconds left, Willingham scored two points to win.

In the finals against a Copley wrestler, he scored a takedown in the first period to jump to a 2-0 lead. The score remained 2-0 heading into the third period, and Willingham went on to win 3-1.

DiJulius won his first match by fall, then had a solid 4-0 decision, lost to the eventual winner, had a tech fall in the consolation semis and lost his final match.

At 79 pounds, Papesh flattened a top seeded wrestler in the third period, lost 6-0, rebounded with a 23-second pin and rallied from behind to win 15-12.

Coach Shawn McNamara said, "No wrestler has more heart than John Papesh. He is never out of a match, no matter the odds."

Heartbreak awards went to Rogge and Cheatham. In their podium-deciding matches, both had chances for victory elude them, as they had last-second calls go against them.

Barner, feeling under the weather, battled byfore losing 3-2, followed up with a pin and then was knocked out .

The coaches were very pleased with the accomplishments of the team this year. The numbers were down in the upper weights; however, the quality of wrestlers shone brightly with the 10th-place finish. "We placed higher than any other community team in our area," said McNamara.

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