MACEDONIA: The hostility toward the Wadsworth wrestling team was obvious Saturday at Nordonia High School.
The Suburban League Wrestling Championships featured eight teams, but one team was featured more than the others and heard boos from spectators.
Despite the angst, Wadsworth won eight of the 14 individual titles and earned the team championship with 250 points. The victory marks the 22nd season in a row that Wadsworth has won the Suburban League outright or shared the title.
“I am real happy with the kids,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “They won 11 of 11 in the first round, 13 of 14 in the second round . . . and then won eight in the finals. Everyone is booing against you. I love it. It is good for our team and it is good for our kids to have a little of adversity like that and know that people hate you when you win.”
Nordonia finished second in the team standings with 184.5 points. Green was third with 120 points and Copley took fourth with 103 points.
“We have been working hard in the room,” Wadsworth sophomore Darrin Gilkerson said. “We knew over the summer that people maybe thought we wouldn’t be able to do it this year. That motivated us. All throughout the summer we have been saying double deuces.”
Freshman Brandon Randolph won Wadsworth’s first title Saturday 16-0 over Copley senior Tanmay Shah at 106 pounds. Grizzlies sophomore Noah Baughman followed at 113 with a victory by pin in three minutes over Green senior Chris Doyle.
“It is always fun when people are rooting against you, especially in Nordonia’s home gym,” Baughman said. “Our team performed excellent.”
Copley freshman Antwon Pugh beat Wadsworth junior Connor Gray 3-1 in the 120 final.
“I tried to keep control of the match and slow down the tempo a little bit with my setups,” Pugh said. “I just kept moving and going.”
Gilkerson won at 126 over Nordonia junior Adrian Belli 15-0. Three Grizzlies in a row then placed second when Nordonia junior Nick Collica beat senior Devin Gilkerson 11-2 at 132, Green junior Ryan Kaminski topped senior Jordan Schleigh 7-2 at 138 and Nordonia senior Mike DeCesare won by injury default over senior Dominic Cart at 145.
Wadsworth senior Robbie Bosley (152) and freshman Alex Jones (160) won the next two titles. Bosley pinned Nordonia senior Heath Phillibert in 6:19 and Jones beat Green senior Jacob Bostic 7-3.
“I think the team feeds off the energy of everybody hating us,” Bosley said. “Hopefully, we can carry over this momentum and win the sectional [at Medina].”
Revere junior Zeck Lehman won at 170 over Wadsworth junior Shane Mast 3-1.
“This is my fourth time wrestling him,” Lehman said. “He has beaten me twice and I have beaten him last year at the league tournament and this year in the league tournament. Every time it is about being patient and looking for my opportunities and capitalizing on them.”
Wadsworth won three more titles with junior Timmy Knipl topping Revere senior Ahmad Khatib 12-5 at 182, senior Clayton Brandenburg beating Nordonia junior Nick Bina 5-2 at 195 and senior Jeremy Randolph pinning Revere senior Carl Roman in 1:38 at 285.
“It feels good when everyone is against you,” Knipl said. “It makes it that much sweeter.”
Nordonia senior Alex Woicehovich beat Copley sophomore Arman Samouk 11-5 at 220.
“This is a great warmup for the sectional,” Woicehovich said. “I am a senior and this is my last hurrah and everything. It is special to win this title at home.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.