Solon's Garret Henry, ranked No. 3 by The Brakeman Report, twice rallied from two points down before going on to beat the analyst's projected state champion, Kyle Ciccarello of Lyndhurst Brush 9-6 in a key meeting at the Northeast Ohio Conference wrestling championships on Saturday. Mayfield, Brunswick and Twinsburg brought home divisonal titles.
GARFIELD HTS – Without rankings, there couldn't be upsets. The release of
independent analyst Brian Brakeman's annual wrestling forecast on Thursday
created a doozy in the 119-pound championship of the inaugural Northeast
Ohio Conference tournament Saturday night.
Solon's Garret Henry, ranked No. 3 by Brakeman, twice rallied from two
points down before going on to beat the analyst's projected state champion,
Kyle Ciccarello of Lyndhurst Brush 9-6.
Mayfield was the overall points leader with 202 points, giving the Wildcats
the overall championship in the Valley Division. Brunswick won the River
Division with 112.5. Twinsburg took the Lakes Division with 115.
The Northeast Ohio Conference features 18 teams divided into three divisions based on competitiveness. The divisions differ sport-by-sport and
year-by-year. All three competed in one tournament in wrestling, though
three different champions were crowned.
The three-division format provided a good launch pad for teams as they
prepare for sectional competition in two weeks.
“This is tougher than our sectional is going to be,” Mayfield coach Frank
Cikac said. “This is great. It shows us where we need to be going into the
next three weeks. We know what we have to work on. The competition is great for a conference tournament.”
It was a good showcase for Solon's Henry, who no doubt opened a few eyes
around the state in terms of who may or may not be the man to beat at 119.
“I like being ranked low on the Brakeman,” Henry said. “Last year I was
ranked 21st and ended up fifth (at the state tournament).”
Ciccarello, who lost for just the third time this season, didn't put too
much stock into the just-released rankings. Nor does he believe the top
ranking by Brakeman will necessarily put a target on his back in the coming
“Most of the other rankings didn't have me first,” he said. “I know where I
stand in my head. I don't really look where other people rank me or judge me as. I just need to wrestle my match.”
Against Henry he didn't, or couldn't.
The two bring contrasting styles to the matt. Ciccarello prefers wrestling
upright from the neutral position. Henry likes being on the mat, rolling
around. Henry's way is the way the match went.
With Henry trailing 2-0 in the second period after a late first-period
takedown, the pair traded reversals in about a five-second second-period
span. Another reversal evened the match for Henry heading into the final
Coming off the mat, Henry enthusiastically clapped his hands several times.
“I'm thinking, 'I'm in it,' and I knew I was going to win,” Henry said. “I
knew I had him. I think I broke him.”
Henry nearly turned Ciccarrello three times in the period, but could never
get the Brush wrestler on his back.
Another reversal gave the lead back to Ciccarrello with 1:05 left in the
match. Henry escaped to pull within a point, then hit a four-point move with
45 seconds left for the final points.
“He tried to throw me and I just (reversed him),” Henry said of the decisive
That's how close it was. Though Henry appeared to have the upper hand more than Ciccarello, they were about as evenly matched as their Brakeman
rankings would suggest.
“It was just one move that decided the match,” Ciccarello said. “If that's
turned the other way I probably would have won.”
In the team race, Mayfield had 11 of 14 wrestlers place to capture the first
NOC championship. Cody Hayes, who won the 215-pound championship, was the only Wildcat to win his weight class.
Anthony Zingale (103) Tom D'Allesandro (130), Michael D'Allesandro (145)
and Tylan Coleman (160) all finished second for the Wildcats.
“It was a great team effort,” said Cicak, who will retire following the
season after 29 years as Mayfield's coach. “At our school if you win the
conference you go up on the wall. This being my last year I want to go up
there with them.”
Brunswick's Richie Spicel was the only other Brakeman projected champion,
and he did not disappoint, winning the 140-pound title. The senior, along
with 152-pound runner-up David Doyle, helped Brunswick to its first
wrestling team championship of any kind since 1980.
“It's good for the kids who are here and the seniors here,” said Brunswick
coach Mike Koshar, whose team finished sixth overall, trailing four teams in
the Valley Division and Twinsburg.
Twinsburg had a pair of champions en route to its division title. Kevin
Kretz won at 125, while Mike Mencini captured the 135-pound championship.
Other individual champions included Dan Chorney (Solon, 103); Steve Mitchell (Elyria, 112); Frank Calarco (North Royalton, 130); Mike Haxton
(Strongsville, 145), Zach Goins (Elyria, 152), Darren Rhodes (Nordonia,
160), Tim Darlington (Stow, 171), Frank Saraniti (Stow, 189) and James Meder (Parma Valley Forge, 285).