MARION — There aren’t too many things tougher in the sport of wrestling than coming into the first day of a district tournament as a No. 4 seed and rolling into the semifinals. Yet two of the 20 area wrestlers that went unbeaten at the Division I tournament Friday night at Marion Harding did just that.
“I can’t believe it myself,” Midview
152-pounder Sean Pincura said. “Especially since I haven’t wrestled since I was in the eighth grade. I just wanted to focus on soccer the past three years and decided since this was my senior season, ‘Why not?’”
Pincura and Avon Lake’s Blake Jardonek both nabbed the final district spots available during the Southview sectional tournament, meaning they both had to face a sectional champion during their district-opening matches.
Pincura pinned Normandy’s Troy Glasko in 5:12 during his first match, then pinned Toledo Waite’s Tyler Derr in 4:26 in the quarterfinals.
“I feel there’s really no pressure on me,” said Pincura, who will face Elyria’s Zack Goins in today’s semifinal. “My goal now is to try and get to state. I want to be the first wrestler to get his picture up on the wall at school in 14 years.”
The Middies’ drought of state qualifiers has weighed on the program, so much that first-year coach Don Caramel said he had his toes crossed in his shoes before Pincura’s quarterfinal match.
“Fourteen years is a long time,” Caramel said. “Something like (sending a wrestler to state) could really jumpstart a program.”
Jardonek faced sectional champ Billy Irwin from Anthony Wayne in his opening match. The Shoreman senior tossed the sophomore around the mat for an easy 17-4 major decision then raced into the semifinals with a pin of Normandy’s Dan Glazer at 5:30 of their quarterfinal match.
“I’ve had a pretty difficult senior season,” said Jardonek, who will face St. Edward’s Jamie Clark in today’s semifinal. “I’ve had to wrestle a lot of difficult matches and have had some tough losses. So wrestling the way I did (Friday night) makes me feel a whole lot better.”
Also feeling better was Southview sophomore Uland Ralston, who defeated state-ranked Javon Wright from Lima Senior in the opening round and sectional champion Willie Long from St. Ignatius in the quarterfinals.
“Now I get to relax until (today),” said Ralston, who faces Sandusky’s Davion Caston in the semifinals. “I have a tough kid in the semis, we battled during a scrimmage before the season and I beat him 7-6 in the semifinals at the Toledo Waite tournament.”
Being one win away from the state tournament must seem like a dream come true for Ralston, who was stuck behind state qualifier Martin Cruz during his freshman season and was forced to play the role of cheerleader at last year’s district tournament in Mentor.
“I was there for moral support,” Ralston said with a laugh. “But this year there are junior varsity guys and kids from our biddie program here cheering me on.”
Also having a big Day 1 at districts was the Elyria Pioneers, who advanced four wrestlers — 112-pounder Steve Mitcheff, 130-pounder Dalton McHenry, Goins and 189-pounder Ryan Nelisse — to the semifinals and had four others stay alive in the consolation bracket. The Pioneers are second behind St. Edward in the team standings.
“We don’t like to lose any kids and Phillip Egnor has worked really hard this season,” said Pioneers coach Erik Burnett of Elyria’s only Day 1 casualty. “We got eight guys into the second day, so that’s pretty good.
“But the four that got beat (Friday) are now in a one-match season. They have to win or their season will be over.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
St. Edward 99, Elyria 51.5, St. Ignatius 48, Toledo St. Francis DeSales 36.5, Southview 32, Oregon Clay 31, Mansfield Madison 30.5, Westlake 28, Avon Lake 27.5, Findlay 26, Marion Harding 26, Sandusky 25, Toledo Waite 24, Berea 23, Olmsted Falls 23, Shaker Heights 22, Springfield 22, Normandy 21.5, Toledo St. John’s Jesuit 21, Fremont Ross 20.5, Sylvania Southview 18, Bowling Green 16.5, Parma 16.5, Amherst 12, Midview 11, North Ridgeville 10, Valley Forge 9, Toledo Start 8.5, Lima Senior 6.5, Cleveland Heights 6, Lakewood 6, Sylvania Northview 6, Toledo Whitmer 5.5, Anthony Wayne 5, Ashland 4, Toledo Rogers 4, Perrysburg 3, North Olmsted 2.5, Bowsher 0, Mansfield 0, Midpark 0.
103: Uland Ralston (Southview) vs. Davion Caston (Sandusky); Gus Sako (St. Edward) vs. Garrett Manley (Springfield).
112: Blake Jardonek (Avon Lake) vs. Jamie Clark (St. Edward); Steve Mitcheff (Elyria) vs. Narcisco Inchaurregui (Southview).
119: David Gyorfi (Southview) vs. Jerome Robinson (St. Ignatius); Scott Fuller (Toledo Waite) vs. Nick Lawrence (Westlake).
125: Callen Vanderhoff (Marion Harding) vs. Alex Marzec (Toledo St. Francis DeSales); Danny Urbin (Avon Lake) vs. Mike Varga (Olmsted Falls).
130: Alex Latham (Sylvania Southview) vs. Dalton McHenry (Elyria); Larry Countryman (Marion Harding) vs. Nick Sulzer (St. Edward).
135: Aaron Dietsch (Toledo St. Francis DeSales) vs. Josh Speelman (Mansfield Madison); Collin Palmer (St. Edward/Columbia Twp.) vs. Yohe Rojas (Fremont Ross).
140: Alex Herrick (Toledo Waite) vs. Neil Birt (St. Edward); Justin Yetzer (Mansfield Madison) vs. David Habat (St. Ignatius).
145: Jerrel Valliant (Sandusky) vs. Connor Suba (St. Edward); Kevin Caraballo (St. Ignatius) vs. Rudy Hendon (Bowling Green).
152: Devin Henry (Westlake) vs. Cory Martinson (St. Edward); Sean Pincura (Midview) vs. Zack Goins (Elyria).
160: Mark Tomanek (Avon Lake) vs. Justin Wharton (Oregon Clay); Marc Bryan (St. Ignatius) vs. Maks Babuder (Toledo St. Francis DeSales).
171: Jefferson Ajayi (Shaker Heights) vs. Brian Roddy (St. Edward); Aaron Winemiller (Amherst) vs. Joe Abujaradeh (Berea).
189: Matt Alexander (Findlay) vs. Joshua Robertson (Normandy); Greg Isley (Sylvania Southview) vs. Ryan Nelisse (Elyria).
215: Mike Green (St. Edward) vs. Ryan Smugala (Westlake); Jerry Knapp (Olmsted Falls) vs. Roman Lawson (Shaker Heights).
HVY: Delonne Baker (Sandusky) vs. Max Gladstone (Findlay); Greg Byrd (North Ridgeville) vs. James Meder (Valley Forge).