Where: Austintown Fitch High School
When: Friday: 3:45 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. & finals at 3:30.
Schools: (11) — Fitch, Boardman, Chardon, Howland, Hudson, Lakeside, Madison, Kent Roosevelt, Solon, Stow, Twinsburg.
Site manager: John Jones
Admission: $6 adults & seniors, $4 students.
Where: West Branch High School
When: Friday, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. & 5 p.m.
Schools: (11) — Alliance, Canfield, Crestwood, Field, Hubbard, Louisville, Marlington, Poland, Salem, Southeast, West Branch.
Site manager: Terry Romigh
Admission: $6 adults & seniors, $4 students
Where: Rootstown High School
When: Friday, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m.
Schools: (14) — Brookfield, Crestview, Garrettsville Garfield, Girard, Jackson-Milton, Liberty, Manchester, McDonald, Mogadore, Rootstown, South Range, St. Thomas Aquinas, Waterloo, Wellsville.
Site manager: Keith Waesch
Admission: $6 adults & seniors, 4 students.
Where: Beachwood High School
When: Friday 6 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Schools: 15 — including Pymatuning Valley and Grand Valley.
Site manager: Ryan Peters
Admission: $6 adults & seniors, $4 students.
By John Bassetti
Austintown Fitch wrestling coach Brett Powell expects more individual achievement than team accolades at the Division I sectional tournament in Austintown, which includes Boardman and Howland in the 11-team field.
Twinsburg, Boardman and Solon were the top three teams in 2010.
“The [Falcons are] probably not quite prepared to try to win it because it [sectional field] is very deep,” said Powell. “[Brian] Brakeman had it ranked as one of the toughest in the state. There’s a lot of depth team-wise and a lot of weight classes with stacked competition.”
Fitch’s top contender is junior Jamie Jameson (36-4). He recently won the EOWL championship at 171 pounds.
Jameson has had a reversal of fortune, Powell said.
“As a sophomore, he had a sub-.500 record going into the sectional and didn’t make much of a showing,” he said. “Now, based on his record and who he’s beaten, he stands a very good chance, despite a loaded weight class with about five state-ranked wrestlers with four qualifying. There’s no room for error.”
Jamie is the brother of Tony Jameson, Fitch’s four-time state champion.
Jamie Jameson went undefeated in both the Federal League and EOWL and his last loss came during the Hephner tournament semifinals in mid-January. Three of his losses were in overtime at Top Gun.”
He’s come a long way,” Powell said of Jameson. “His learning curve has been drastic. He trained all summer and traveled and put in a lot of time and I think he’s enjoying the sport more now.”
Another Fitch contender is junior Corey Balog (189), who is 25-9.
“He’s made strides in the offseason and he’s another real good student,” Powell said, “but he’s hot and cold. Being a junior, maybe he’s still working things out. By next year, he’ll be one of the top 215s in the area.”
Balog didn’t participate in the EOWL tournament due to injury.
Other Falcons who hope to move on include freshman Cameron Reseporian (25-8) at 160 and junior Lennie McGeachy (23-8) at 285.
At the Div. II sectional at West Branch, Robby Reed leads a Canfield contingent in which coach Dean Conley puts a lot of stock.
Reed (33-2) will compete at 125. Recently, he was the EOWL MVP. A two-time sectional champ, Reed was 40-6 in 2010 when he was a state alternate at 125.
Other Canfield hopefuls include Alex Benedict (26-3) at 135, Anthony Spencer (24-9) at 103, Michael Flanagan (13-11) at 189, Richard Rapone (20-10) at 140, Eric Mirto (23-5) and Lucas Saprile (21-14) at 145.
Poland coach Tony Stellato’s top wrestlers are Max Prizant (103, 16-11), Tad Duran (112, 23-11), A.J. Shields (119, 21-10) and Mike Audi (152, 18-15).
Shields and Duran placed fourth and fifth, respectively, at EOWL.
Audi missed placement in an overtime match to Beaver Local’s Dan Lattanzio, but Audi returned the favor, 4-2, on Feb. 9.
Stellalo had this advice for his guys: “It comes down to who wants it more and refuses to be denied.”
Jackson-Milton in Division III was the only area school listed in the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association state poll dated Feb. 2.
The No. 6 Bluejays will be at Rootstown where seniors are John Matacic (130, 30-2), Vinnie Pizzuto (119, 30-2), Tim Wiseman (125, 33-5), Alex Tomaino (140, 26-7), Tyler Collins (145, 24-10) and Dylan Tomaino (152, 17-12).
Matacic, Pizzuto and Wiseman had eye-opening losses last week at the EOWL tourney.
“It was a wake-up call,” coach Dave Tomaino said of trio’s runner-up finishes in the best matches of the night on Feb. 5.
“Those were state-level matches for them,” the coach said. “They came up a little on the short side, but maybe that grounded them. Now they know they need to work a little harder and get ready.”