By John Bassetti
Jackson-Milton’s Vinnie Pizzuto, Tim Wiseman and Johnny Matacic plus Girard’s Josh Barnes and Jacob Carpenter won twice in the championship round of Saturday’s Division III wrestling tournament at Garfield Heights.
Matacic registered two pins.
Saturday’s rounds included championship first round and quarterfinals plus consolation first and second rounds.
Today’s schedule begins with championship semifinals and consolation third round (quarters), followed by consolation semifinals and finals.
Pizzuto will take on Pymatuning Valley’s Zachary Campbell today in the championship semifinals, while Barnes will start against Zack Durbin of Mapleton.
Although they didn’t wrestle at the EOWL tournament earlier this month, Pizzuto took second while Campbell placed third.
For the day, 25 local wrestlers competed and 16 were eliminated. Four — Girard’s Nick Cardiero and Dave McNatt, Jackson-Milton’s Tyler Collins and South Range’s Max Brooke — must win today to earn a place. The top four places advance to state next weekend.
Josh Barnes (103) won his opening match by pin over Tuslaw’s Zack Kuhlins.
“The kid was tough and I couldn’t get in the shots I wanted to,” Barnes said of the first period. “In the second period, I did what I naturally do and that’s break him down. I saw that a half-Nelson wasn’t working, so I went to my cradle and stuck him [pinned him].”
Barnes appreciated the good start because in 2010 at the Maple Heights district, Barnes also started with a win before losing his second and third bouts.
He also qualified for districts as freshman. As a sophomore, Barnes had mononucleosis.
Vinnie Pizzuto (119) and Tim Wiseman (125) gave Jackson-Milton back-to-back on the same mat when Pizzuto beat VASJ’s Mato Vunak by a 17-2 technical fall, followed by Wiseman’s pin in 1:55 over Elyria Catholic’s Justin Tomlin.
Pizzuto got a quick takedown for a 2-0 lead and then kicked [let go] Vunak to give his opponent a point.
Pizzuto started down for the second period, but got a quick reversal for a 4-1 lead, then he got two back points for a 6-1 spread before adding a cradle for three more back points for a 9-1 advantage.
In the 2010 district, Pizzuto won his first match, lost in overtime to Keystone’s William Spangler in the semifinals before coming back to take third.
Wiseman’s pin of Tomlin was his best start in a district. Wiseman said he hit a “fireman’s dump” — or put his opponent down on his stomach — before putting Tomlin’s arm between his legs and driving him over on his back.
Matacic gave Jackson-Milton another opening-round win when he pinned Hawken’s Alex Harrison in the second period. Matacic was up, 2-0, on a single-leg takedown, then got two more points on a reversal.
Prior to the finish, Matacic was on top when he did a “chicken wig” to Harrison’s back before pinning him with a half-Nelson. Matacic had a 3-1 record at Maple Heights last year en route to winning the state 130 crown.
Girard’s Jacob Carpenter was a 6-1 winner over Waynedale’s Brad Wardell.
“The first match is always the worst,” Carpenter remarked of being tired after the steady-paced battle. A takedown gave the Girard junior a 2-0 lead before he got a two points for a reversal and two more on back points for a 6-0 edge.
When Wardell almost had a reversal on a lock-up, Carpenter let him up.
“That’s when I gave him one,” Carpenter said of giving up a point instead of two to bring Wardell within 6-1.
Carpenter finished third at district last year before going 1-2 at state as a sophomore.
Collins won his opening 145-pound match over Brooklyn’s Casey Bishop, 15-12.
“I got pretty sloppy out there because I went out flat,” Collins said of not having his A-game. “I could have had my way with him if I wasn’t flat,”
In the third period, Collins got a point when Bishop slapped him.
“I was cross-facing him over because he was on top of me and the referee gave me a point for him losing his cool.”
Liberty’s Justin Hideg (152) had a 4-3 decision over Ricky Kochert of Chagrin Falls.
In the first period, Hideg, a senior, got a takedown for a 2-0 lead, then Hideg let Kochert up for an escape to allow Kochert his opponent within 2-1.
Hideg chose the down position to start the second period and Kochert got two back points to take a 3-2 lead. Hideg then got a reversal to go ahead, 4-3. In the final period, Kochert chose down and Hideg rode him the whole period to prevail.
Hideg went 1-2 and didn’t place at the Maple Heights district last year after going 0-2 as a sophomore at the Firestone district when Liberty was in Div. II.
In his second match of the day, Barnes decisioned Lewis Roginsky of Brooklyn, 14-0.
“He got to my legs pretty deep and I didn’t know if I’d be able to get out,” Barnes said of Roginsky, a freshman. “But I did a throw-by and got two points, but from there, I had to go to work and I got a couple back points,” Barnes said of the end of the first period.