You think you’re tough? Win the Walsh Ironman and then we can talk. Tabbed the “Toughest Tournament in the Nation,” the Ironman
starts Friday and ends Saturday in primetime. There will be bruises, blood and
plenty of guts. There will also be eight No. 1 nationally ranked wrestlers and six of the country’s top 8 teams in the fold. Wow.
You think you’re tough? Win the Ironman and then we can talk.
Tabbed the “Toughest Tournament in the Nation,” the Walsh Ironman wrestling extravaganza starts Friday and ends Saturday night at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls. There will be bruises, blood and plenty of guts on display from start to finish.
Started in 1994, the Ironman has morphed into the nation’s top high school tournament. No debate.
It’s common for this early season tourney to determine the eventual national champion and this year will be no different. Six of the nation’s top eight teams as ranked by the Amateur Wrestling News will be entered in this week’s rugged competition, including: defending national champion Blair Academy, NJ (No. 1); Graham (No. 2); Wyoming Seminary, Pa. (No. 3); Montini Catholic, Ill. (No. 6); Central Mountain, Pa. (No. 7); and St. Edward (No. 8).
Other teams of note are: Bishop Lynch, Tx. (No. 12); Wadsworth (No. 13); Blue Mountain, Pa. (No. 16) and Clovis, Cailf. (No. 20).
All told, 63 schools from 14 states will be competing.
The Ironman is still held at Walsh Jesuit, in a high school setting, and is contested in two gyms. Nearly 70 college coaches are expected to attend.
Since Walsh Jesuit won the first tournament, only three other teams have won the title: Blair, St. Edward and Graham (the only public school to do so).
How hard is it to win an Ironman title? There has only been one four-time champion – Graham’s David Taylor, the nation’s No. 1 overall wrestler last year (Dave Schultz Award winner), who is now a freshman at Penn State.
This year, individually there are eight wrestlers ranked No. 1 nationally in their weight class. And eight more ranked No. 2 or 3.
Did we mention this meet is tough?
TEAMS TO WATCH
Monroeville: Despite being a small Division III school, Monroeville is known nationally for its talent and deservedly so. The Eagles have four wrestlers who earned No. 1 seeds heading into the weekend, including juniors Hunter Stieber (119), Cam Tessari (135) and Chris Phillips (171) and senior Logan Stieber (125). Combined that quartet has nine Ohio state titles. Logan Stieber and Philips are raked No. 1 nationally at their weights.
Graham: The Falcons have the only wrestler in Ironman history to win four titles, but stud David Taylor is gone. Surprisingly, heading into the tournament, no Falcons garnered a No. 1 seed. They do however have two No. 2s in sophomore Felipe Martinez (135) and senior Max Thomusseit (189). How tough is this tournament? Defending D-II state champions Nick Brascetta (sophomore) and Kyle Ryan (junior) are No. 5 and 9 seeds, respectively, at 119 and 160.
St. Edward: The Eagles have won 13 straight Division I titles and were the 2007 national champions. If you want a dark horse for the team title St. Ed might be it. The Eagles are led by two-time state champion and senior Jamie Clark, the No. 1 seed and No. 1 nationally ranked wrestler at 130. Senior Nick Sulzer, a state runner-up last year, is the No. 1 seed at 160.
Blair Academy, NJ: Blair is the defending national champion and won this event last year. Blair is currently ranked No.1 in the country and has eight wrestlers that earned Top 10 seeds, including No. 1s Evan Silver (junior, 112), Chris Villalonga (senior, 140) and Michael Evans (senior, 189). Villalonga, undefeated last year, is a defending Ironman champion. Silver and Villalonga are also ranked No. 1 nationally at their weights.
Wyoming Seminary, Pa.: Wyoming finished fifth in the country last year and is currently No. 3. The Blue Knights are also three-time defending Pennsylvania state champs and finished national runner-up in 2007. Wyoming finished eighth at the Ironman last year and is looking for a Top 3 finish this season. The Blue Knights don’t have any wrestlers seeded No. 1, but sophomore Dominick Malone (112) and senior Michael McMullan (285) are No. 2 seeds.
Central Mountain, Pa: Blair and Monroeville also have two No. 1 nationally ranked wrestlers, but CM’s pair are brothers – and both are headed to Penn State. Andrew Alton is ranked No. 1 nationally at 145, while Dylan is No. 1 at 152. Last weekend the duo wrestled against college competition in their future home at the Nittany Lion Open. Dylan went 1-2, while Andrew was 3-2.
NATIONALLY RANKED WRESTLERS IN FIELD (According to AWN News)
1. Evan Silver-Jr, Blair Academy, NJ
2. Jerome Robinson-Sr, St. Ignatius, OH
3. Alex Cisneros-Soph, Selma, CA
4. Jimmy Gulibon-Soph, Derry, PA
2. Hunter Stieber-Jr, Monroeville, OH
3. Kagen Squire-Soph, Wadsworth, OH
4. Ty Mitch-Sr, Aurora, OH
7. Nick Brascetta-Jr, St. Paris Graham, OH
8. Mark Grey-Soph, Blair Academy, NJ
1. Logan Stieber-Sr, Monroeville, OH
2. Devin Carter-Sr, Christiansburg, VA
5. Jesse Delgado-Sr, Gilroy, CA
1. Jamie Clark-Sr, St. Edward, OH
9. Simon Kitzis-Sr, Wyoming Seminary, PA
1. Josh Dziewa-Sr, Council Rock, PA
3. Cam Tessari-Jr, Monroeville, OH
4. Austin Ormsbee-Jr, Blair Academy, NJ
6. Colton Rasche-Sr, Montini, IL
7. Felipe Martinez-Soph, St. Paris Graham, OH
10. Luke Goetti-SR, Cottonwood Mingus, AZ
1. Chris Villalonga-Sr, Blair Academy, NJ
2. Josh Kindig-Sr, Blue Mountain, PA
1. Andrew Alton-Sr, Central Mountain, PA
5. Steven Hernandez-Sr, Bishop Gorman, NV
9. Cody Rodebaugh-Sr, San Lorenzo Valley, CA
1. Dylan Alton-Sr, Central Mountain, PA
6. Brandon Rolnick-Sr, Lawrenceville, NJ
7. Jason Luster-Soph, Blue Ridge School, VA
10. David Habat-Sr, St Ignatius, OH
12. Zach Skates-Jr, Broken Arrow, OK
5. Nick Sulzer-Sr, St Edward, OH
6. Josh Demas-Sr, Westerville North, OH
1. Chris Phillips-Jr, Monroeville, OH
3. Mike Evans-Sr, Blair Academy, NJ
4. Max Thomusseit-Sr, St Paris Graham, OH
12. Stephen McPeek-Sr, Bishop Lynch, TX
6. Mike McMullen-Sr, Wyoming Seminary, PA
2008 IRONMAN CHAMPIONS (italics means they are back)
103: Nick Brascetta – St. Paris Graham
112: Devin Carter – Christianburg
119: Jamie Clark – St. Edward
125: Sam White – Massillon Perry
130: Chris Villalonga – Blair
135: David Taylor – St. Paris Graham
140: Andrew Alton- Central Mountain
145: Dylan Alton – Central Mountain
152: Brandon Rollnick – Lawrenceville
160: Zack Toal – Troy Christian
171: Ed Ruth – Blair
189: Max Huntley – Blair
215: Joe McMullan – Wyoming Seminary
285: Jeremy Johnson – Brecksville
DEFENDING OHIO STATE CHAMPIONS IN THE MIX
(last season’s weight)
112: Jerome Robinson, Cle. St. Ignatius
119: Jamie Clark, Lakewood St. Edward
130: Shawn Fayette, Miamisburg
145: David Habat, Cle. St. Ignatius
152: Josh Demas, Westerville North
(last season’s weight)
103: Nick Brascetta, St. Paris Graham Local
112: Ty Mitch, Aurora
119: Johnni DiJulius, Cuy. Falls Walsh Jesuit
130: Felipe Martinez, St. Paris Graham Local
140: Harrison Hightower, Hunting Val. Univ. School
160: Kyle Ryan, St. Paris Graham Local
189: Max Thomusseit, St. Paris Graham Local
(last season’s weight)
119: Hunter Stieber, Monroeville
125: Logan Stieber, Monroeville
130: Cam Tessari, Monroeville
171: Chris Phillips, Monroeville