FARGO, N.D. — This time, second isn’t good enough.
That’s the expectation from a Team Ohio squad loaded with Lorain County wrestlers as it prepares for the U.S. Marine Corps Junior Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, N.D., in the upcoming days.
Runner-up to Illinois last season, Ohio knows it has the horses in 2018 to hang with the big boys and expects nothing less than a title at the FargoDome.
“This is the most loaded we’ve been and we’re all excited,” Elyria High 120-pounder Dylan Shawver said. “We just got back last month from winning the Junior National Duals, so I’m hoping we can come back and win it here.”
That’s not just talk as the two-time Fargo All-American is on a team that features a two-time freestyle national champion in CVCA’s Jordan Decatur (132) and one-time freestyle titlist in Brecksville’s Julian Tagg (120).
Add high school state champions in Ethan Turner (Troy Christian, 120), Dylan D’Emilio (Genoa, 132), Jordan Crace (Elyria, 138), Gabe Tagg (Brecksville, 138), Bryce Andonian (St. Edward, 145), Vic Voinovich (Brecksville, 145), Gavin Stika (160, Norwayne), Carson Kharchla (Olentangy Liberty, 170), Vic Marcelli (Massillon Jackson, 182) and Jack Delgarbino (Girard, 285) to the scads of returning Fargo All-Americans and high school state placers and Illinois should take notice.
“Expectations are pretty high, especially after how we performed at Junior Duals,” Crace said. “Looking at the fact we did it without Decatur and the Taggs, were able to perform as well as we did, adding them to the lineup has me excited to see what we can do here. I think we can win a title for sure.”
With area wrestlers Blake Bartlome (Lorain, 100) and Trever Begin (Midview, 182), joining the Elyria High contingent of Colin Noel (100), Shawver, Crace, Matt Zuckerman (138) and Enrique Munguia (145), the county will have a definite say in whether or not the Buckeye state brings home a team title.
“It would definitely be awesome to win this after being runners-up last year,” Begin said. “The first day definitely means everything. We need to get the ball rolling and finish strong. If we start winning early, the rest of the team can feed off of that.”
The Cadet freestyle team, which includes Peyton Fenton (Elyria, 100), Cael Saxton (Avon, 106), Cade Robertson (Avon, 120) and Mick Burnett (Elyria, 126) along with Avon residents Evan Bennett (138) and Bryce Hepner (145) of St. Edward, hopes to feed off the expectation of the junior freestyle team as they begin the tournament Saturday.
“It’s definitely a learning experience,” said Burnett, who was an All-American last season. “Getting out here and winning a couple of matches makes you a better wrestler. Getting to see the best guys in the country wrestle next to you or with you is definitely a good experience.”
The area isn’t only restricted to the two tournaments as Midview’s Ariah Snyder, who was injured in Fargo last season, will give it a go for the women in junior freestyle, while Elyria’s Farouq Muhammed (160) competes in Junior Greco-Roman.
What: U.S. Marine Corps Cadet Junior Freestyle and Greco-Roman Nationals
When: Cadet freestyle — Saturday through Monday; Junior Freestyle — Sunday-Tuesday; Junior Women Freestyle — Tuesday and Wednesday. Junior Greco-Roman — Thursday and Friday.
Where: FargoDome. Fargo, N.D.
Lorain County competitors: Cadet freestyle — Peyton Fenton (Elyria, 100), Cael Saxton (Avon, 106), Cade Robertson (Avon, 120), Mick Burnett, (Elyria, 126), Evan Bennett, (Avon/St. Edward, 138), Bryce Hepner, (Avon/St.Edward, 145). Junior freestyle — Blake Bartlome (Lorain, 100), Colin Noel (Elyria, 100), Dylan Shawver (Elyria, 120), Jordan Crace, (Elyria, 138), Matt Zuckerman, (Elyria, 138), Enrique Munguia (Elyria, 145), Trever Begin (Midview, 182). Junior Women Freestyle — Ariah Snyder (Midview, 127). Junior Greco — Farouq Muhammed (Elyria, 160).
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