Beavers claim EOWL crown
Published: Sun, February 7, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.
Beaver Local edged West Branch for the team title at the league championships.
AUSTINTOWN — While the weather outside may have been frightful, the wrestling inside was brutal.
As bad as the man vs. snow battle was this weekend, it was no match for the grabbing, slapping and grappling taking place non-stop inside the Fitch High gym on Friday and Saturday.
Beaver Local won the overall championship and Division I crown, while West Branch was overall runner-up and Div. II titlist. Jackson-Milton and Pymatuning Valley claimed the Div. III and Div. IV trophies, respectively.
West Branch was the overall champion in 2009.
Boardman’s Jerry Pasquale was MVP for his success in the 119-pound class.
He was one of three Spartans sweeping his weight division. The others were Nick Mancini (103) and John Dillon (125).
Pasquale’s championship match was a 7-2 decision over Tim Wiseman of Jackson-Milton.
Last year, Pasquale was a 119 EOWL tournament runner-up to Canfield’s Robby Reed, who placed third at 125 on Saturday.
Pasquale said he expected a brawl from Wiseman and got one.
“I knew he liked to brawl and that’s what he gave me,” said the MVP. Asked if he had any scars, Pasquale replied, “I don’t know. I haven’t looked in a mirror yet. Hopefully not.”
The MVP is the son of former longtime Boardman coach Jerry Pasquale.
Another winning father-son combination from Boardman was Mancini, whose father, Dom, is the current Spartans coach.
Nick Mancini, a freshman, beat Girard junior Josh Barnes via first-period pin.
“I expected him to be real strong, but I knew I could pull it out because I had the right mindset all weekend,” Nick Mancini said of visualizing himself on the center mat on Saturday night.
Shawn Ague, 17 year-old Fitch senior, beat John McComas of Beaver Local for the 112-pound championship. It was a big improvement from Ague’s third-place in 2009.
Of his first period pin, Ague said he felt good while warming up and stayed focused.
“I thought it would be a lot closer, but I hit my fireman’s [takedown move] and got him on his back and put him away.”
Girard senior Nico Francis was less than thrilled to be runner-up for a second straight year after losing to Beaver Local’s Dylan Ice at 152, but Ice said it was a tough fight.
“I don’t usually go three periods because I mostly pinned everyone this year,” Ice said of his difficulty against Francis. Ice who will be 18 on Feb. 20, placed third at state at 140 in 2009. This season, most of Ice’s matches have been at 145, a weight he’ll maintain in the postseason.
“It could have gone either way,” said Francis, who will use the EOWL tournament experience to his advantage. “From here, I’ll just practice for district and state,” said the 17-year-old.
West Branch’s Adam Lamancusa decisioned Hubbard’s Anthony Nadeja for the 160 crown. Now 29-0, Lamancusa avenged a 2009 EOWL tournament championship consolation loss to Nadeja.
“I was winning by a point, so I wanted to ride him and stay on top,” Lamancusa said. “I wanted to make sure I won because I may see him at sectionals.”
Event director Brett Powell said that 1,000 fans showed on Friday night and another 600-700 on Saturday.
“We started the finals early [on Saturday] because people were stressed from driving and we didn’t want to put them in a bad position because we didn’t know what [kind of weather] was coming.”
Nearly 400 matches were contested over the two days.
Before the awards ceremony, the EOWL hall of fame inducted: Bruce Rohrer, former West Branch coach; Howland’s Drew Sparks, a two-time state placer; Boardman’s Steve Vallos, state runner-up in 2002 and current Seattle Seahawks lineman; Canfield’s Nick Brenner, who was third at state in 2000; Jackson-Milton’s Jon Gondol, a fourth-place finisher at state in 1998; Alliance’s Marcus Adelman, a two-time state placer; Warren Western Reserve’s Jack Raver, a two-time national qualifier at Ohio University, and Liberty’s Laszlo Szalay, a state runner-up in 1984.
Beavers take early lead at EOWL
Published: Sat, February 6, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.
West Branch was second in the two-day tournament, which finishes today.
By JIM FLICK
AUSTINTOWN – Tradition is the key to winning wrestling tournaments, agreed the coaches whose teams led after the first night of the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League Varsity Tournament.
“To be successful in wrestling, you have to have a family tradition,” said Beaver Local coach Rich Wright.
“Wrestlers need to have somebody at home who knows the ups and downs of wrestling, how disappointing it can be. Wrestlers need somebody to keep encouraging them.”
At the end of the first day of the two-day tournament, Beaver Local was in first place among the 18 teams in the EOWL with 91 points.
West Branch held second place with 86 points, Howland was in third place with 61.5 points, and Boardman ranked fourth with 57.5 points.
Wrestlers from the 18 schools wrestled about 175 matches Friday in the qualifying rounds.
Competition is scheduled to resume this morning, and EOWL titles will be awarded in the 14 weight classes, ranging from 103 to 185 pounds.
The wrestling tradition has brought eight state championships to Beaver Local, according to Wright.
His wrestling team finished eighth in the state last year, and ninth the year before.
“We have good, strong families that keep our tradition alive,” he added.
For instance, this year’s team features two set of brother, the Swartzes and the Millers.
Paul and Steve Swartz both won two matches Friday and remain alive in the tournament. Arizona Miller also won both matches Friday, but Cameron Miller lost a 5-2 decision in the second round.
West Branch coach Mike Helm agreed tradition is a key to a strong wrestling team.
“We have been solid in wrestling since the late 1970s,” Helm said. “West Branch is a wrestling community.”
Helm himself wrestled for West Branch High, graduating in 1977 and returning the school as coach.
“I’ve got a couple of kids on the team whose dads I wrestled with,” he said.
But Helm pointed out he’s not the only West Branch alumnus coaching wrestling locally.
Austintown Fitch coach Brett Powell and Salem coach Derek Beck are also West Branch alumni.
Eight West Branch wrestlers have won state championships, Helm added.
“And we’ve won this [EOWL] tournament before,” he said. “It’s a good place to coach.
“We have good parental and community help. That’s important.”
Howland is building its own strong wrestling community, according to coach Bill Beasom.
Howland graduates who wrestled for the school “keep coming in to wrestle with the young wrestlers,” he said. “The kids look up to the guys who wrestled before.”
Boardman coach Dom Mancini commended the strong wrestling traditions at the smaller Beaver Local and West Branch schools.
“They’re tough communities,” Mancini said.
Boardman, Mancini explained, “has so many opportunities for kids,” including other sports and school activities.
“We may not get all the toughest kids coming out for wrestling,” he said. “We have a fairly solid tradition of wrestling in Boardman.
“But Beaver Local and West Branch have deep roots in wrestling. They’re never down. We’re up and down, but they’re never down.”
“We’re not a fluke,” Helm said, smiling. “If all my kids wrestle hard [today], we’ll be in it.”
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