Lorain County will get a treat this weekend when the third annual John McNulty Sr. Memorial tournament kicks off at Elyria Catholic High School.
The tournament, named for former Panthers coach John McNulty Jr.`s father, will feature one of the top Division III programs in the state in Monroeville, and several state qualifiers mixed in among the other 15 schools in the field.
"I had guys calling me this week asking if Monroeville was really going to be at the tournament," McNulty said. "A lot of people plan on coming just to see those guys wrestle."
Monroeville, which placed fifth in the 59-team field at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman tournament last weekend, had individual champions in freshman Hunter Stieber (103 pounds), sophomore Logan Stieber (119) and freshman Chris Phillips (171) - who was named the tournament MVP after defeating St. Edward senior Brian Roddy, the No. 1-rated wrestler in the nation at the weight and a state champion last season.
McNulty, who retired from coaching after last season due to an assortment of medical problems, returned to Ohio from his Tucson, Ariz., home on Thanksgiving, and decided to help Tom Evans and Dan Hornbeek run the tournament.
"We got all the volunteers back that make this tournament great," McNulty said. "The table workers, security, mat workers -- all the nuts and bolts that hold this event together."
McNulty said the tournament was created to showcase some of the premier Division III programs in the state - although the Panthers have been bumped to Division II by the Ohio High School Athletic Association - and a way to get the wrestlers a lot of matches early in the season.
"They could get up to 10 matches during the two days," he said.
The tournament will include area schools Admiral King, Wellington, Clearview, Columbia, Lutheran West, Oberlin and the host Panthers. Besides Monroeville, the rest of the field includes Jackson-Milton, Brookfield, Swanton, Greeneview, Cleveland Central Catholic, Trinity, Brooklyn and Independence.
Wrestling will begin today at 4:30 p.m. Saturday wrestling begins at 10 a.m. and runs straight through to the completion of the finals.
Our season preview focused on the many ways a wrestler can become one of the elite at the high school level, but Elyria coach Erik Burnett knows another way most wrestlers might not be too anxious to try.
"One of my favorite stories about last season was about Kodie Egnor," Burnett said. "He came in as a freshman and had some wrestling experience. We have an elite group of kids that train together - Stevie Mitcheff, the (Hunter and Logan) Stiebers (from Monroeville), (Jamie) Clark from St. Edward - all of these elite lightweights.
"Kodie says, â€˜Hey, can I get in that group? Can I train with these guys?` He just got pounded."
Egnor took his lumps, then took some more. But by the end of the season, Egnor was beating his competitors and advanced to the Division I district tournament out of the Southview sectional - considered one of the toughest sectionals in the state.
"If you would have told me at the end of his eighth-grade year that he would go to districts at the end of his freshman year, I`d have said you`re nuts," Burnett said. "The kid never turns down a workout. He puts all kinds of hard work in to achieve those results."
Egnor wrestled in a ton of summer tournaments and went 2-2 in the Ironman last weekend. He said that facing the toughest competition allows him to learn how to turn in a perfect performance.
"When you`re up against a good wrestler, you can`t make any mistakes," Egnor said. "If a kid was supposed to beat me easily and I came close, like 3-2 or something, I`d be proud of myself. Because he was ranked first and I was ranked zero."
WEEK IN REVIEW
Southview cruised to first place at the Book Master 10-team tournament at Ashland on Saturday. Winning individual championships for the Saints were Uland Ralston (103), David Gyorfi (119) and Zeno Inchaurregui (125). Other Southview placers included Tony Martinez (runner-up at 140), Paul Findley (runner-up at 160), Cisco Inchaurregui (3rd at 112), Jimmy Gyorfi (3rd at 135), Dustin English (4th at 189), Marlowe Burtin (4th at HVY) and Josh Parker (6th at 152).
* Admiral King finished sixth at St. Wendelin. Quentin Watson went 3-2 at heavyweight and Bishop Overton went 3-2 at 130 pounds.
* The Elyria White team captured the team title at the Golden Bear Invitational at Gibsonburg.
Capturing individual championships for the Pioneers were junior Phillip Egnor (five pins at 152 pounds) and freshman Doug Yonkings (103). Also placing were Corey Loesch (runner-up at 112), Thomas Finley (runner-up at 135), Tom Merrell (runner-up at 215), Ricky Webber (runner-up at 119), Myles Wright (runner-up at 125), Mitchell Fadenholz (third at 160), Jason Gott (thirrd at 171), Nate Jones (fourth at 119), Kris Marcum (fourth at 130), Caleb Shaffer (fourth at 215), Brett Godfrey (fourth at 171), Adrian Adams (fourth at HVY) and Jim Mackert (sixth at 145).
* Elyria Catholic finished fourth (2-3) and the host Longhorns finished third (4-1) at the Longhorn Super Quad at Lutheran West. Eric Bednash (130) and Colin Dennis (125) both went 5-0 for Lutheran West. Danny Accorti (140) went
4-1, and Dane Szente (189) and Zach Drews (HVY) went 3-2 for the Panthers.
* Black River placed fourth at the Hillsdale Invitational. Josh Pfister went unbeaten to win the 140-pound championship and was named the tournament MVP.
Also placing for the Pirates were Jay Lucas (runner-up at 103), Cory Campbell (runner-up at 125), Nate Orrick (runner-up at 189), Tim Sexton (third at 119), Tylor Hall (third at 135), Jared McFadden (fourth at 112), Doug Baughman (fourth at 145), Chad Muetzel (fourth at 152) and Billy Spooner (sixth at 215).
* Brookside placed 14th at the Hawken Invitational. Adam Thompson placed fifth at 215 pounds for the Cardinals.
* Keystone participated in the Cougar Classic at Crestview High - a dual-meet format tournament. Winning performances for the Wildcats included Anthony Chizmadia (6-1), James Gerkin (5-1), Casey Gawen (5-2), Jordan Smith (3-2) and Alex Ross (4-3).
* North Olmsted placed 17th and Midview placed 15th at the Solon Comet Classic. Alex Feador placed fifth at 152 pounds and Chris Kelly placed sixth at 160 for the Eagles. Jordan Smith placed third at 171 pounds and Brandon Dean placed sixth at 215 for the Middies.
* Olmsted Falls finished second at the Findlay Duals with a 4-1 record. The Bulldogs downed Fostoria, Wapakoneta, Chippewa Valley (Mich.) and Napolean. Their only loss came to the host Trojans. Going undefeated for Olmsted Falls were Brad Slater (112), Mike Varga (130) and Cody Dieckman (140).
* Firelands placed ninth at the Edison Invitational. Earning individual placements for the Falcons were Zack Novosielski (third at 145), Aaron Sterk (fifth at 103), Joe Flynn (sixth at 130) and Paul Garcia (sixth at 152).
TOURNAMENTS ON TAP
Southview will be at the Hoppel Memorial at Beaver Local on Saturday.
* Elyria and North Olmsted will be at the North Coast Classic at Independence on Friday and Saturday.
* Keystone, Avon and Bay are at the Cuyahoga Heights Invitational on Saturday.
* Amherst is at the Super 10 at Strongsville on Saturday.
* Berea is at the Midwest Classic at Worthington Kilbourne on Friday and Saturday.
* North Ridgeville and Vermilion are at the Bellevue Invitational on Saturday.
* St. Edward will host the St. Edward Super 8 Duals on Saturday.
Elyria sophomore Chase Churchill - a district qualifier last season - was unable to participate in last weekend`s Ironman tournament at Walsh Jesuit due to a shoulder injury.
* North Ridgeville heavyweight Greg Byrd - a district qualifier last year as a junior - was not in the lineup at the Knights of Columbus tournament at Avon Lake and will miss the beginning of the season due to an eligibility issue.
* Keystone senior Chris Rybarcyk tore a tendon in his right lower leg. He`ll be out for three weeks and then be re-evaluated.
* Terry King is assisting first-year Admiral King coach Jim Black this season. King was a long-time wrestling coach at Lorain High before the school closed.
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEKÂ
Collin Palmer, St. Edward
WEIGHT: 135 pounds
LAST WEEK: Palmer, a Columbia Station resident, went 5-0 with a pin, three decisions and an injury default to pick up his first Ironman championship at Walsh Jesuit High School. Palmer has suffered two losses in his high school career, each coming at the Ironman during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
COLLIN`S THOUGHTS ON THE WEEK: "It was getting really annoying (not winning a title at the Ironman). There seemed to be some bad luck when it comes to the Palmers wrestling at the Ironman. Hopefully I`ll be able to come in next year and win two."
THREE THINGS COLLIN DOES BESIDES WRESTLE: Spend time with his girlfriend, hang out with Johnny Cobos at Starbucks and work out at Bally`s Total Fitness in Strongsville.
PARENTS: Dwayne and Rita Palmer
FUTURE PLANS: Palmer knows he wants to wrestle in college and thinks a degree in business sounds like something he`d be interested in. He said Ohio State - where older brother Lance wrestles - is probably his No. 1 choice, but he`s leaving his options open. He also mentioned Iowa State, Northwestern and Cornell as schools on his list. After college, he hopes to either coach wrestling or open his own wrestling school.
Aaron Winemiller, Amherst
WEIGHT: 171 pounds
LAST WEEK: Winemiller went 5-0 to win his weight class at the Knights of Columbus tournament at Avon Lake High School. He finished with two pins, a technical fall, a forfeit and a decision.
AARON`S THOUGHTS ON THE WEEK: "We were a little banged up as a team. We had some question marks in our lineup. But everyone pulled through and we had nine wrestlers finish in the top four at the tournament."
THREE THINGS AARON DOES BESIDES WRESTLE: Fishing, perch is his favorite; theater, he last played Judge Danforth in "The Crucible"; and football, he was the Comets` nose tackle, earning first-team county, second-team Southwestern Conference and the team`s defensive player of the year awards.
PARENTS: Terry and Annette Winemiller
FUTURE PLANS: Winemiller did well on the science portion of the ACT and wants to do study physics. He has not decided where he wants to go to college and isn`t sure if wrestling in college is something he`d like to pursue.