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Kenston pins down CVC wrestling title
Kenston pins down CVC wrestling title
By TONY LANGE
Winning their weight classes, seniors Tre Smith, Ben Kazimir and Pat Hanlon propelled Kenston to a second consecutive Chagrin Valley Conference wrestling title at Beachwood last Saturday. The Bombers tallied 227 points, followed by Aurora, a repeat runner-up, with 223.5 points.
In the 18-team competition, Kenston placed in the top six in all but the 103-pound weight class. There were 14 weight classes.
With five winners, Aurora crowned more champs, but that wasn't enough to top Kenston, which had more depth, pins and major decisions.
Smith, who defended his 125-pound title, said Kenston head coach Brian Malloy always coaches the team to get the extra points with pins, technical falls by getting ahead of an opponent by 15 points, and major decisions, which is winning a match by eight or more points.
"We're a pinning team," Smith said. "We like to score big points. We like putting people on their backs. When we can pin people, we're never out of a match. Molloy coaches us to be aggressive, to attack people constantly, to break people mentally and to pin people. That's his philosophy. He loves getting after people."
During the two-day tournament, Smith pinned both of his opponents on Friday before advancing to Saturday's semifinal and final bouts.
In the semifinals, Smith wrestled Dominic Marotta, of West Geauga. The two matched up earlier in the season and Smith won by major decision.
"This time, I think he was a little more ready for my style and I could tell the difference in the way he wrestled," Smith said. "He slowed my style down, but you just have to adjust to people who adjust to you. I just had to go harder and stay high tempo and be aggressive."
In the final bout, Smith beat Ryan Harris, of Beachwood, 9-6, for the title. The two matched up at the Kenston Invitational Tournament earlier in the season and Smith beat him 6-3 in the semifinals.
"In the first 10 seconds I could feel him almost wrestling as if it was a revenge match," Smith said about Harris in the final bout at the CVC tournament. "He took me down within like 20 seconds and when he took me down, I could hear their crowd erupt, and of course Aurora's crowd went crazy because we were in a tight team race with them. It was just a lot of things going on at the same time and I told myself if there was a time to pull the trigger, I've got to do it now. I went down, escaped and when I got out I just went, I pulled the trigger and I just didn't stop."
Meanwhile, Hanlon was testing his nerves on the 145-pound mats en route to his first CVC championship.
"I wanted to win. I expected to win," Hanlon said. "I went out there and did my job and out came good things."
After a bye, Hanlon wrestled only one bout Friday evening before advancing to Saturday's semifinal round against Aurora's Brian Wells. Hanlon went to bed nervous Friday night, he said.
"We wrestled before and it had always been really, really close matches," Hanlon said. "It went into overtime. The score was 1-1. We both had escapes and I took him down in overtime."
In the final bout, Hanlon defeated Orange's Daniel Gatalyak, 2-1. Gatalyak placed at the KIT earlier in the season, while Hanlon did not.
"Once again I was being really cautious," Hanlon said. "I wrestled the same guy last year for third or fourth and I beat him last year. I knew he wanted revenge, so I didn't want to give it to him, so I was being cautious watching what I did, because if I did take a shot, he would have just killed it."
Hanlon said his first CVC title was important just as much for his team as it was individually.
"If I hadn't won that match, our team would not have taken the title," he said. "We would have lost by a half of a point to Aurora."
At 135, Ben Kazimir wrestled for the title that his older brother, Jake, won during the CVC tournament last year. This year, Kazimir was seeded No. 1 and had a bye during the first round. After winning his only bout Friday, Kazimir was set to wrestle Alonzo Turner, of Painesville Harvey, in Saturday semifinal bout.
"I knew I would have a tough match the next day, so I had to get some rest and try not to worry and psych myself out," Kazimir said. "Before the match, I got into the mind-set to just go at him. The kid I wrestled, he was short and strong. I just went out there and had a couple takedowns on him. I felt good about that victory."
In the championship bout, Kazimir pinned Kirtland's Mike Pappas in the first period for the title.
"He was a very strong wrestler, so I knew strength-wise that he would beat me," Kazimir said. "So, I knew I had to use my speed and my body positions to get the edge."
It was his first CVC title.
"It means a lot because I've wrestled varsity all four years of high school, and to finally get the conference championship my senior year. It was a really big deal for me," Kazimir said.
Representing West Geauga as champion on the winners' podium was Mike November at 112. He also won the KIT tournament earlier in the season. At the CVC tournament, his high ranking gave him a bye the first round and he won by technical fall during the second round Friday before advancing to Saturday's semifinals bout against Berkshire's T.J. Malkus.
"I was really excited," November said. "I actually woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night and got a little excited and antsy, but my main mind-set was to go out there and have fun. Before, in the past, when I didn't have fun, that's what killed me. I had worked myself up too much and I knew I had to stay calm and go out and have a good time and whatever happens, happens."
November won an 8-5 decision against Malkus. "He was tough to beat. He's a solid wrestler all around. He's really tall and lanky, so it was harder to score points on him," November said.
He then beat Cardinal's Casey Johns 6-5 in the finals.
"I'm excited about it, but everything all the way up until now doesn't really mean anything," November said. "The season officially starts now. Sectionals, districts and states are the tournaments that mean something. Don't get me wrong, I love to have that title under my belt, but what I've been training for all year is about to come, so now it the time I need to step it up."
1. Kenston, 227 points; 2. Aurora, 223.5; 3. Perry, 193.5; 4. Cardinal, 124; 5. Independence, 95.5; 6. Beachwood, 91.5; 7. (tie) Hawken, West Geauga, 88; 9. Kirtland, 82.5; 10. Orange, 73; 11. Cuyahoga Heights, 59; 12. Chagrin Falls, 51; 13. Berkshire, 49; 14. Painesville Harvey, 44.5; 15. (tie) Newbury, Wickliffe, 23; 17. Fairport, 21.5; 18. Richmond Heights, 0.
Collin Dees (Perry), Nick Orr (Cuyahoga Heights), Sean McKinley (Hawken), Kyle Polman (Independence), Dakota Ward (Cardinal), Collin McLaughlin (Wickliffe).
Mike November (West Geauga), Casey Johns (Cardinal), Sammy Gross (Beachwood), TJ Malkus (Berkshire), Pat Thomas (Kirtland), Michael Pavone (Kenston).
Ryan Cash (Aurora), Cory Roth (Hawken), Brian Loxterman (Perry), Mike Peters (Cardinal), Grahm Montague (Independence), Wesley Newell (Kenston).
Tre Smith (Kenston), Ryan Harris (Beachwood), Dominic Marotta (West Geauga), Aaron Gessic (Perry), D.J. Lieberth (Aurora), Mike McManus (Cuyahoga Heights).
Alec Jacober (Beachwood), Tony Tarulli (Orange), Andrew Sawayda (Kenston), Logan Henderson (Berkshire), Matt Vendeville (Perry), Scott Sabolsky (Independence).
Ben Kazimir (Kenston), Mike Pappas (Kirtland), Jason Kaser (Berkshire), Alonzo Turner (Painesville Harvey), Tony Sansalone (Perry), Tim Maxwell (Aurora).
Kyle Brezovec (Aurora), J.C. Giffin (Fairpoint Harding), Alec Schenk (Perry), Dennis DiSanto (Kenston), Frank Mercuri (West Geauga), Landon Gates (Cardinal).
Patrick Hanlon (Kenston), Daniel Gatalyak (Orange), Brian Wells (Aurora), Ryan Sill (Perry), Mikey Baratz (Hawken), Mike Duffy (West Geauga).
Tommy Gallagher (Aurora), Sam Stretar (Independence), Ricky Kochert (Chagrin Falls), Jeremy Etling (Kenston), Ryan Sala (Hawken), Austin Mansfield (Newbury).
Chad Zeigler (Cardinal), Patrick Houlahan (Aurora), Matt Olson (Kenston), Tino Vargas (Painesville Harvey), Matt Ezzo (Independence), Bill Cale (Chagrin Falls).
Danny McNamara (Aurora), David Shapiro (Beachwood), Brian Deming (Perry), Micheal Braun (Kenston), Brian Deming (Perry), Mike Brettrager (Kirtland), Andy Bryan (West Geauga).
Andrew Weaver (Aurora), Zack Mackulin (Independence), Evan Brettrager (Kirtland), Evan Nichols (Perry), Hunter Auletta (Orange), Weston Kondik (Kenston).
Anthony Miller (Perry), Mickey Carrasco (Aurora), Andrew Tesler (Cuyahoga Heights), Jim Durst (Kirtland), Caleb Fry (Cardinal), Nate Lewis (Kenston).
Clayton Thurling (Cardinal), Louis Mantush (Kenston), Billy Miller (Perry), Andrew Thomas (Hawken), Erick Zuberer (Kirtland), Thomas Tesar (Chagrin Falls).
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