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WRESTLING Joe Murray EOWL's top choice



Published: Fri, February 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Austintown Fitch sophomore wrestles at 215.

Joe Murray, a sophomore at Austintown Fitch High School, was named Eastern Ohio Wrestling League wrestler of the week following a stellar outing at the Josh Hephner Memorial tournament.

The 215-pound Murray (24-5) had his season accelerate when he won at the 20-team Ashland Invitational, then placed fourth at the 42-team Brecksville Invitational. Two weeks ago he finished fourth at the Top Gun tournament in Alliance.

Championship loss: Posting a 7-1 record at Hephner, he lost 5-0 to Keith Wilson of Akron Springfield in the championship match.

A Division I state qualifier a year ago with a 36-13 record, Murray said he's still trying to improve and build up for the postseason and a possible return trip to state.

"It felt great finishing second in the tournament the caliber of Josh Hephner," said Murray. "The guys that placed in the top four were tough."

He said he puts everything else out of his mind to focus on every match in order to be successful.

"Everything we are taught in the practice room, we use in our matches to pick up points," said Murray.

"Wrestling keeps you disciplined and hard work plays off. We have a strong team mentally and our wrestlers have a fierce will to win. My goal is to return to state and place."

Murray says Fitch coach Brett Powell is one of the best in the state and that assistant coaches Jamie Gondolo and Frank Giordano have helped him immeasurably.

"Joe is top notch and he wrestles whether he's injured or not," said Powell. "When he steps on a mat, he's all business. He's a good student and a role model for all the kids in our program."




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