COLUMBUS — Lorain County had a strong showing on Day 1 of the Division I state wrestling tournament, going 10-1 during the first round.
“We’ve been starting to take it to a higher level in Lorain County,” said Amherst senior Aaron Winemiller, who scored a 4-3 decision in his opener. “You see Lorain County teams starting to travel to tougher tournaments and trying to schedule tougher competition during the season.
“Nothing compares to the wrestling in Northeast Ohio.”
Helping kick-start the performance was the Southview duo of Uland Ralston and Narcisco Inchaurregui. Ralston, a sophomore, came away with a 9-7 decision over Hilliard Davidson freshman Angelo DiSabato, and Inchaurregui, a freshman, rolled over Springboro sophomore Tyler Riegle for an 11-0 major decision.
“I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous,” said Inchaurregui, who was the first Division I area wrestler off the mat. “Everyone is nervous when you get down to state and wrestle at this level. But winning that first match definitely relieves some of the pressure.”
The Elyria Pioneers were perfect in their four matches. Senior 112-pounder Steve Mitcheff picked up an 18-1 technical fall on Hilliard Davidson senior Jimmy Millar, junior 130-pounder Dalton McHenry ground out a tough 5-2 decision over North Royalton sophomore Frank Calarco, junior 152-pounder Zack Goins dominated in a 10-3 win over Darby senior Chase Walton and junior 189-pounder Ryan Nelisse earned a 7-2 decision over Stow senior Frank Saranti.
“That was really big for us,” Pioneers coach Erik Burnett said. “Stevie started out a bit slow, McHenry started out fast and Goins is just Goins. Nelisse also went out there and did what he does to get the win.”
Nelisse had faced Saranti — the inaugural Northeast Ohio Conference champion — earlier this season and the Stow wrestler had him on the run.
“He was beating me pretty badly,” Nelisse said. “He was up 6-1 and I managed to come back and pin him. It was nice to be able to wrestle better against him this time.”
The other Lorain County wrestlers to go 1-0 were Avon Lake resident John Cobos of St. Edward, who earned a 9-3 decision at 119 pounds; Columbia Township resident Collin Palmer of St. Edward, who picked up a first-period pin at 135; and Avon Lake senior Mark Tomanek, who used an 8-4 decision to advance to the 160 quarterfinals.
“I think Lorain County may get overlooked a little bit,” Tomanek said. “I think we’re really starting to show we can compete with everybody else in the state.”
The only Lorain County wrestler who didn’t win in his opener was North Ridgeville heavyweight Greg Byrd. But he bounced back to capture a second-period pin over Cincinnati Elder’s Eric Berding in his consolation match.
The county went 2-2 in the other two divisions, with Elyria resident Brad Wukie of University School and North Ridgeville resident Colin Dennis of Lutheran West winning their openers, and Oberlin’s Nick Chmura and Vermilion’s Ryan Shupe falling in the first round.
Shupe rebounded to pick up a pin in his consolation match.
“You’re starting to see some of the kids in Lorain County come along — they’re going the extra mile,” Sailors coach Tony Budka said. “They are putting in the offseason work because they want to be the best.”
The 12 county wrestlers still in the championship bracket will have a chance to accomplish that during the rest of the weekend.
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.