Massillon Perry Division I district wrestling round up


The Massillon Perry Division I District lived up to its hype over the weekend, but left some wondering if the vaunted tourney is just a little too tough.

Todd Stumpf has the details.

Akron Kenmore senior William Sheppard said it was “devastating.” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia called it a “shredder.” And Kenmore coach Lee Thompson labeled it “insane.”

The Massillon Perry Division I District lived up to its hype over the weekend, but left some wondering if the vaunted tourney is just a little too tough.

“It obviously is the toughest district, but at the same time, if we advance a kid out of our district, they’re going to be placing down there (at state),” said Perry coach Brent McBurney, whose team won the district title. “The tougher competition you wrestle the better it makes you.”

The problem is, the tougher competition weeds out the number of athletes even the best teams can advance. Perry, ranked second in the state poll, had five state qualifiers.

Fifth-ranked Wadsworth had just three. No. 6 Austintown Fitch had five and No. 9 Uniontown Lake had four. That four of the state’s top nine squads were in one district is telling.

Meanwhile, Lakewood St. Edward, in a supposed down year, will send 11 to Columbus out of the comparatively weak Marion Harding District, thus assuring the Eagles of winning their yawn-inducing umpteenth consecutive state title without breaking a sweat.

Thompson said the way teams are districted in Northeast Ohio needs to be examined.

“While I’m in (Division II) at Firestone, I’m in a meat-grinder,” the Kenmore coach said. “This year, we move up to D1 and we come here and in my years of coaching this is toughest district I’ve ever been in. This is, I think, just insane. I think if something isn’t done about it next year, then we have a serious problem in Northeast wrestling. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to seed the teams and spread apart.

“The proof is in the pudding. I could feel that way because I’m here and not at the other districts, but Saturday night if the same guys are on the podium that were on it here, then something needs to be done.”

While everyone agrees on having to beat the best to be the best, and all the other time-worn clichés, being able to beat the less-than-best can help advance a higher number of athletes to Columbus.

And while team state wrestling titles and placements in an individual sport are mythical at best, they make for nice banners in gymnasiums.

“It is what it is,” Perry’s McBurney said. “You’d always like to see different teams. But at the same time, you always have to meet that competition. You either get it done this weekend or you get it done next weekend

As for the on-mat action, it peaked in the 130-pound championship, where for the second time this year Perry junior Seth Horner stopped Wadsworth sophomore Brad Squire. This time it took overtime before Horner prevailed 5-3.

Horner trailed 3-1 late in regulation before an 11th-hour takedown, the move of which was a mystery even to Horner.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I just did it.”
What he did have an idea about was whether he would be meeting with Squire – the 2007 state champ at 119 – again in Columbus.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “Big time.”

Horner is responsible for both of Squire’s career losses. The first came earlier this season. The two bring contrasting styles to the mat, but Horner has succeeded by wrestling Squire’s more patient way of going about things.

“Every time we wrestle that’s how it is,” he said. “I guess I’m pretty good at it. I have to stay solid with him. I can’t get in that rolling around-style.

Horner expects a motivated Squire should the two meet next weekend.

“I will be too, though,” he said. “It’ll be him trying to beat me. I don’t want to count my eggs before they hatch, but my goal is to be a state champ.”

Horner led Perry to 149.5 team points, easily outdistancing runner-up Austintown Fitch’s 107.5. Sam White (112), Dan Genetin (125) and Nick Heflin (152) also won district titles for Perry. Nick Hannan was runner-up at 103.

Other district champs at Perry included Kory Mines (Maple Heights, 103), Kyle Ciccarrello (Lyndhurst Brush, 119), Mike Mencini (Twinsburg, 135), Richie Spicel (Brunswick, 140), Tony Jameson (Austintown Fitch, 145), Ethan Taylor (Cuyahoga Falls, 160), Pat Leahy (Brecksville, 171), Cody Lamberg (Akron Kenmore, 189), Adam Cogar (Barberton, 215) and Jeremy Johnson (Brecksville, 285).

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