By Joe Catullo Jr.
Each weight class for the Canfield High wrestling team had different methods of training and preparation for the Canfield Holiday Duals on Saturday.
For 120-pound Korey Frost, he had to lose as much weight as possible. Jacob Esarco, who had to be over the 216-pound mark, was eight pounds short since Friday. He mostly drank water.
Bryan Batton, a 152-pound competitor, stood right in the middle. He was two pounds light on Friday but consumed enough to reach that mark. Nothing greasy or heavy, mainly fruit along with Pedialyte and water.
“My perspective on that is I try to stay as hydrated as possible without going overweight so that I’m not completely fried the next day,” Batton said.
Not only did the wrestlers have to watch their weights, but they also had to keep track of what went into their bodies during the 10-hour, five-match day. The Cardinals planned this on Friday, jotting down every hour and every match what they would ingest.
“Our kids have to be disciplined enough to moderate and eat healthy all day,” Canfield coach Dean Conley said. “As soon as they’re done wrestling, they know they have to compete again in an hour, so they’ve got to get something in them. Then, they stretch and train again in order to be ready for the next round.”
The Cardinals’ preparation earned them three victories and a third-place finish. Canfield (8-2) defeated Ravenna Southeast, 52-15, in its first contest. The Cardinals then overpowered Rootstown, 42-24.
In the third round, Richmond (Mich.) stunned Canfield on a final pin, winning 31-30. Richmond, which won four state championships in a row before finishing second last year in Michigan, placed second.
The eventual victors, St. Paris Graham, routed the Cardinals, 67-4, in the fourth round. Graham has won the previous 13 state championships along with three national titles.
“After our Graham match, the coaches just told us to go out on a good note and take it to Revere,” Esarco said.
The Cardinals did just that with a decisive 67-12 victory.
“Now we have a measuring stick of where we are,” Conley said. “We want to be the champions in February and March. We don’t want to be the champions in December.”
Esarco led the Cardinals by winning five matches. Frost and Daprile each finished 4-1 while Batton won three.
“We got our act together toward the end,” Daprile said. “We really stepped it up against Revere. Richmond could have gone differently, but I was glad to see that we rose to the occasion.”
When it was all said and done, everybody was anxious to leave the gymnasium.
“It felt great because I’m going to eat sushi,” Frost said laughing.
The Cardinals begin training again on Thursday, which Frost is not looking forward to because it’ll be his birthday.
Wrestlers such as Frost, Daprile and Batton will watch their weights and lose as much Christmas meals as possible before the team’s next weigh-in on Saturday. Esarco won’t be dropping anything.
“The coaches would be the happiest people in the world,” he said. “They want me to gain as much as possible.”