Boardman's Steve Vallos took home the heavyweight title.
By MARK W. MILLER
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
AUSTINTOWN -- The Howland High wrestling team advanced seven athletes to next week's Division I district tournament.
Saturday at Fitch High, Madison was the superior team, accumulating 243 points to win the sectional title.
The top four athletes in each weight class earned spots for the district event at Perry High School.
Unbeaten Steve Vallos (27-0) of Boardman took his first step toward a return trip to state as he decisioned Stephen Britton (27-7) of Geneva 6-3 for the heavyweight title.
"I was pretty much in control of the match, but I thought I should have pinned him," Vallos said. "I gave it my best and I'll have to refine some things for the district."
The Spartans finished sixth in the 10-team field with 113 points.
Moving on: Tony Stellato (29-5) of Boardman decisioned Benny Barrette (14-10) of Madison for the 119-pound crown.
"I was fourth last year, so I wanted to come here and do this," Stellato said. "I was able to beat him on my feet and take him down. "He was balling up, not doing anything and stalling and when I was on the bottom," Stellato said. "I was able to get out with an escape."
Freshman Adam Chizmar (17-11) of the Spartans won a major decision over Jay Rivas of Lakeside, 11-2 for third place.
Sophomore Joe Murray (33-7) of Fitch won an 8-1 decision over Madison's Paul Compton (21-11) for the 125-pound championship.
"I beat him 1-0 at Top Gun and felt I could have done better there. I wanted to prove something today so I came out and turned it up a notch," Murray said.
Bryan Gray (15-2), out the past three weeks with a back injury, decisioned Justin Smith of Hudson 9-2 for the 160-pound title.
"Rehabilitation took care of the back problem," Gray said. "This was the first time I wrestled in competition in three weeks. The back was a little sore, but I am 100 percent."
Gray, a senior, won his other two matches by a technical fall and a pin.
"I was a little nervous, didn't know for sure about the back, but got by the first two matches without any problems and was able to make the kind of moves I wanted to," Gray said.
Other standouts: Freshman Fred Weidenthal (27-9) of the Falcons, who were fifth with 118 points, decisioned Chris Turner of Lakeside, 2-1 for the place in the 119 class.
Howland coach Brian Earich,said, "We are taking seven to district and our experience should help us there. We have another week to get our condition even better then it was here."
The Tigers, third with 165 points, saw junior Anthony Provonozac (24-7) drop a hard-fought 7-4 decision to Brad Suchomski (20-7) in the 130-pound title match.
Teammates A.J. Lamp (125, 22-6), Mike Kovacich (135, 22-7), Ryan Gilliam (140, 22-6), Nikolas Rubesich (145, 21-12) and Brandon Alexander (160, 27-6) placed third.