AVON LAKE - Amherst coach Bill Walker was a little worried about his team as it prepared to do battle in the 27th annual Knights of Columbus tournament Friday night at Avon Lake High School.
"I really didn`t know what was going to happen today because we`re kind of a banged-up team," Walker said. "Yeah, we`re the defending champs, but Normandy and Kenston are pretty tough foes."
The Comets have seven of their 14 wrestlers seeded in the tournament, yet it was an improbable performance by senior heavyweight Tom Chaszar that showed Amherst is once again going to be a local powerhouse.
Chaszar, who suffered a torn MCL during his sophomore football season, shook off two years of mat rust and upended No. 1 seed Kris Horton of Vermilion in his opening match, then pinned Willoughby South`s Dave Popik in 1:30 to go unbeaten into the championship round.
"I watched (the Comets`) matches the last two years and I just wanted to be out there," Chaszar said. "I wanted to just come out of the blue and make everyone see me."
Horton saw Chaszar take a 2-1 lead into the third period and then score a late takedown to seal the upset. Popik never saw Chaszar coming.
"I just came out and wanted to tear him up," Chaszar said. "I was ready."
The area heavyweights were breathing a sigh of relief because former Amherst heavyweight Jon Warford had been a monster, winning last year`s K of C title and not stopping until he earned a berth in the state tournament.
Chaszar said that his opponents shouldn`t expect a cakewalk now that Warford has graduated.
"Me and Warford always butted heads and that made me better," Chaszar said. "Now he`s coming out and watching me, supporting me and helping me out. I`m just a smaller Jon Warford that`s getting bigger and better."
The Comets trailed Kenston by one point, 63-62, after the Day 1 wrestling was complete. Several of those points came from a pair of dominating victories by senior 171-pounder Aaron Winemiller - one of the two state qualifiers in the K of C field.
"I definitely do," Winemiller said when asked if he feels a bull`s-eye on his back. "Everyone`s going, â€˜I don`t think Winemiller`s any good.` That`s all right, it`s part of the game."
The host Shoremen are also in the mix, finishing fourth with 50.5 points after the first day. They did it on the strength of flawless performances by a trio of top seeds in 112-pound Blake Jardonek, 160-pound Mark Tomanek and 119-pound Kevin Brunner - one of just two defending K of C individual champs in the field.
All three Avon Lake wrestlers scored a pair of pinfall victories, with Brunner spending just 27 seconds on the mat in his two wins.
"I`ve been thinking about winning this tournament again because I won it last year," Brunner said. "It`s really important to get a good start because one of our main rivals is here - Amherst. So it`d be nice to get a good jump on them."
Brunner expects the Comets` Ryan Cruz to be his main rival for the crown today. The pair wrestled at 103 pounds last season.
"I wrestled him four times last year and went 2-2 against him," Brunner said.
Another local team that had multiple top-seeded wrestlers remain unblemished during Friday`s competition was Vermilion. Both 215-pound Derrick Dillon and 152-pound Ryan Shupe are the No. 1 seeds in their weight classes, and won two matches during Day 1.
"It was definitely surprising (to get the top seed)," said Shupe, who was a district qualifier two years ago. "I have no idea how it happened but I`m happy to be the top seed. This is my last year, so I have to make it good."
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
TEAM STANDINGS: Kenston 63, Amherst 62, Holy Name 51.5, Avon Lake 50.5, Normandy 44, North Ridgeville 40, Lakewood 37, Padua 30, Avon 26, Willoughby South 25, Vermilion 23, Oberlin 12.
103: Romano (P) pinned Ramsey (A), 3:23; West (V) pinned Walters (HN), 1:47; West pinned Miles (WS), 5:04; Potts (AL) pinned Foor (AM), 4:12; Paratore (N) pinned Ramsey, :57; Kazimir (K) pinned Rozar (NR), 4:38.
112: Jardonek (AL) pinned Cataldo (V), :45; Saladonis (A) dec. Rios (AM), 6-1; Kazimir (K) pinned Troncoso (AL), :27; Brooks (HN) pinned Cataldo, 3:10; Evans (NR) def. Barr (HN) by default; Abdel-Salem (L) dec. Troncoso, 7-1; Jardonek pinned Brooks, 1:55; Glazer (N) tech. fall Evans, 2:23.
119: Brunner (AL) pinned Andrews (O), :14; Cruz (AM) pinned Gross (V), 1:08; Ferline (WS) dec. Zepp (NR), 6-3; Karras (HN) pinned Andrews, 5:50; Papa (N) pinned Gross, :32; Zepp dec. Cerda-Smit (L), 4-2; Dafonseca (P) pinned Kirresh (A), 1:45; Brunner pinned Karras, :13; Cruz dec. Papa, 9-2; Kocheff (K) pinned Kirresh, 1:22.
125: Meade (AM) maj. dec. Hart (NR), 11-0; DiFrancesco (A) dec. Sclimenti (L), 9-2; Hazlett (K) pinned Disch (A), 1:20; Hart dec. Spenzer (AL), 9-7; Sclimenti pinned Luquette (V), 3:58; Ory (N) pinned Disch, 5:10; Meade pinned Spenzer, 2:15; DiFrancesco pinned Luquette, 4:44.
130: Morgan (AM) pinned Harrigan (HN), 3:05; Urbin (AL) pinned Gerhardinger (O), 2:22; Harrigan pinned Schmotzer (AL), 2:24; Mundell (NR) dec. Haumesser (N), 10-9; Long (A) dec. Gerhardinger, 7-4; Morgan pinned Schmotzer, 1:44; Ramsey (L) dec. Mundell, 9-5; Urbin tech. fall Long, 2:47.
135: Duffy (L) pinned Buckley (A), 1:11; Whipkey (NR) pinned Mauer (AL); Budka (V) pinned Buckley, 1:32; Mauer dec. Lewis (A), 2-1; Sustar (P) pinned Freas (O), :28; Karason (AM) tech. fall Zakowksi (N); Duffy pinned Budka, 5:04; Whipkey pinned Lewis, :23; Hayes (HN) tech. fall Freas; Karason dec. Savage (K), 10-8.
140: Szucs (HN) dec. Tabar (A), 2-1; Basinski (AM) pinned Rogers (NR), 5:32; Tarter (AL) maj. dec. Gallo (WS), 11-3; Szucs pinned Squires (V), 1:17; Newell (K) pinned Rogers, :48; Sclimenti (L) dec. Tarter, 5-4; Tabar pinned Squires, 1:29; Newell maj. dec. Basinski, 23-10.
145: Castaneda (AM) dec. Gorski (N), 10-5; Chernock (AL) dec. Hillen (V), 10-6; Hastings (K) pinned Wedell (AL), 2:48; Gorski pinned Styer (O), 3:46; Chernock dec. Winchell (WS), 7-3; Tapolyai (L) dec. Mylechraine (A), 8-4; Mees (NR) pinned Wedell, 2:48; Castaneda pinned Styer, 4:15; Winchell pinned Hillen, 1:38; Mylechraine pinned Platt (P), 1:38; Mees pinned Hastings, 4:46.
152: Shupe (V) def. Jacobs (N); Glasko (N) def. Partin (O); Jacobs dec. Odor (AM), 5-3; Hamidah (L) pinned Partin, 1:31; Mees (NR) pinned Ralston (WS), 3:51; Niro (P) dec. Wilcox (AL), 12-5; Shupe maj. dec. Odor, 15-2; Pischel (HN) pinned Mees, 3:10; Schabel (K) maj. dec. Wilcox, 11-0.
160: Tomanek (AL) pinned Gilday (K), :28; Carpenter (AL) pinned Phillips (NR), 4:23; Stergiou (N) maj. dec. Kohl (V), 16-5; Gilday pinned Pigott (O), 1:43; Bockley (AM) pinned Carpenter, 3:50; Tomanek pinned Pigott, 1:35; Bockley dec. Phillips, 9-3; Gaydosh (P) pinned Kohl, 3:15.
171: Winemiller (AM) pinned Mason (P), 1:44; Miller (O) pinned Cabral (V), :45; Kovach (AL) pinned Pensinger (A), :43; Canale (WS) pinned Cabral, 2:30; Lozano (NR) dec. Wooley (L), 5-3; Coleman (HN) pinned Pensinger, 1:02; Winemiller tech. fall Valvoda (K); Miller pinned Canale, :47; Lozano pinned Glasko (N), 3:27; Kovach pinned Coleman, 5:27.
189: Friend (NR) tech. fall Berner (AL), 15-0; Wenrich (AM) pinned Mannino (V), 3:11; Chmura (O) dec. Baker (P), 5-2; Blatnik (K) pinned Cornelius (A), :30; Viancourt (HN) tech. fall Berner; Suleiman (L) dec. Mannino, 9-5; Baker pinned Mead (V), 1:19; Perry (N) pinned Cornelius, 1:10; Friend dec. Viancourt, 4-3; Wenrich pinned Suleiman, 1:46; Chmura pinned Mead, 1:45.
215: Dillon (V) def. Carson (K); Cadrette (AM) def. Kiessling (A); Collins (WS) def. Conroy (AL); Samijlenko (N) def. Rodriguez (NR); Carson pinned Rimbert (O), 3:03; Cadrette pinned Sabeiha (L), 2:39; Gatto (P) pinned Conroy, :49; Lopez (HN) pinned Rodriguez, 3:21; Dillon pinned Rimbert, 1:13; Kiessling pinned Sabeiha, 1:28.
HVY: Chaszar (AM) def. Horton (V); Flesher (AL) def. Sabbarese (AM); Barton (L) def. Motyka (NR); Chaszar pinned Popik (WS), 1:30; Reeder (K) pinned Sabbarese, :40; Reisdorff (A) pinned Barton, :44; Horton pinned Popik, 1:49; Flesher pinned Reeder, 1:12; Motyka dec. Reisdorff, 9-2.