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Five AHS matmen capture sectional titles

Nine advance to district tourney

by MICHAEL LEONARD | SPORTS EDITOR Published: March 1, 2017 1:00 AM
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BAINBRIDGE -- When it comes to wrestling's postseason, "survive and advance" isn't a slogan, it's a code to live by for three weeks.

That journey began for Aurora on Feb. 25 at the Division I sectional tournament at Kenston.

For Aurora, the postseason got off to a solid, if not perfect start, as the Greenmen advanced nine wrestlers to the district tournament at North Canton Hoover this weekend.

Aurora finished second in the team race at Kenston with 214 points, trailing only champion Austintown Fitch with 223.5 points. However, the Greenmen finished with five individual champions, which was tops in the 11-team field.

Aurora coach Johnny Papesh said he was pleased with his team "for the most part."

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"I told the guys I'm not concerned with wins and losses," Papesh said. "For the next three weeks, I want to see effort. For the most part, we gave everything we had in all our matches."

The Greenmen finished 5-1 in title matches as their senior leaders looked in dominant form.

Senior 132-pounder Jarrod Brezovec dominated the bracket, scoring a 10-1 major decision over Kenston's Chris Pavone to win his third sectional title.

"I'm very focused right now," Brezovec said. "It's my last year, so I've got to leave it all on the mat. It looks like an absolute meat grinder [at North Canton], but I'm ready. I've got to focus on one match at a time."

Meanwhile, 220-pounder Bubba Arslanian all but military-pressed Fitch's Brock Kimble in their final. Arslanian needed just 53 seconds to get the pin.

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"We call him 'The Smiling Assassin,' Papesh said. "Bubba smiles when he steps on the mat and just has fun. Between him and Brezovec, I've never seen two more confident kids."

Fellow senior Connor Bizjak pinned his way to the 195-pound title, as he used a cradle to lock up Solon's Kennard Hairston and stick him in 4:53.

In the 120-pound final, Aurora's Jack Gorman won 5-3 in a good match with Fitch's Gus Sutton, while Papesh called 170-pounder Colin McNamara's title a big step forward for his career. McNamara edged Twinsburg's Austin Cefaratti 3-1 in the final.

Aurora also had 106-pounder Kyle Peterson reach his title match, but he lost 6-3 to Kenston's Nick Nastasi.

Greenman 152-pounder Will McGhee advanced by taking third, while 182-pounder Jacob Loudon took fourth. The top four grapplers advance to the district.

The outcome of one other AHS match was unknown by press time. Because of the OHSAA's limit of five matches per day, 145-pounder Dominic Stuber's third-place match vs. Kenston's Dylan Sosnowsky had to be postponed. He was to wrestle for third place on Feb. 27 at Beachwood High.

No matter the outcome of that match, Stuber will advance to the district.

It wasn't all good for the Greenmen. Sophomore 138-pounder Andy Garr made his return to the lineup after an arm injury. In his first match against Roosevelt's Duncan Barr, he re-injured his arm and had to default.

"It's devestating," Papesh said. "There's a kid who's the hardest working kid on the mat."

Garr was the No. 1 seed at 138.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4190


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