Covelli Centre will host Junior High State Tournament
By Greg Gulas
For the third consecutive year the Covelli Centre will cover the ice and add additional matting when they play host this weekend to the Ohio Athletic Committee’s 15th annual Ohio Junior High Wrestling Tournament.
The event, which will get under way at 10 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday, originally played host to more than 2,200 wrestlers statewide who competed in eight district qualifying events across the state.
This year’s event will attract 864 hopefuls, who will compete in 18 weight classes with state champions set to be crowned Sunday evening.
“We are very excited to once again be able to bring our event to Youngstown and most especially the Covelli Centre,” said Jared Opfer, the OAC’s executive director. “Both the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Eric Ryan, director of the Covelli Centre have been very helpful in assisting us with the planning of our event.
“The Covelli Centre remains the perfect venue for our state wrestling championships because every seat in the arena has a great view of all of the action.”
Set to defend their crowns this year are champions Dylan D’Emilio (78 pounds) of Curtice; Jaden Mattox (84) of Grove City; Bruce Hrynciw (96) of Fremont and Kaleb Romero (134) of Mechanicsburg.
Area wrestlers will also be well-represented while the North Akron Wrestling Club, which travels all over the country in order to compete, will feature locals David Beatty (78) of North Jackson; Matthew Cardello (96) of Poland; Andy Garr (90) of Canfield and brothers Drew (102) and Brent Fairbanks (176) of Austintown.
Area wrestlers have enjoyed past tournament success, and this year Christian Wayt (74 pounds); Sean Frisbie (84); Giorgio Puollos (114); David Crawford (120); Braxton Madison (132) and alternate Tanner English (102), all of Canfield, have qualified.
“This tournament is all about the kids; a great competition and without question the top junior high tourney in the state,” Canfield Wrestling Club coach Dave Crawford said. “Those competing will be going up against some of the top wrestlers in the state while this event serves as a precursor to what you will see the next four years at the state wrestling championships in Columbus.”
Boardman entries include Carlo DeNiro (138), Donovan Turney (209) and alternate Karl Nail (114), all coached by former Spartan state wrestling champion, Justin Powell.
Other area wrestlers include Billy Robinson (78), Justin Mitchell (90), Dylan Miller (102) and Cameron Thorn (126) of Salem; Dakota McCloskey (90) and R.J. Davis (132) of Girard; Matthew Cardello (96) of Poland, Marcus Davis (138) of Alliance and Jacob Nail (154) of Hubbard.
“This event is truly beneficial for the entire Mahoning Valley. Hotels and restaurants throughout the region feel the effects from the influx of attendees and we love hosting this event,” Eric Ryan, executive director and president of JAC Management Group noted.
Three rounds of championship wrestling and one round of consolation will take place on Saturday while championship semifinals will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, with finals action set to take place at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Special guests this weekend will include Bo Jordan, Dean Heil and Nathan Tomasello, all of whom were four-time state high school wrestling champions.
Next weekend, grade schools will take center stage with 1,312 kids, aged sixth-grade and under set to compete in 41 different age divisions and weight classes, all for the right be crowned state champion.
The Ohio Athletic Committee (OAC) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that was established in 1999 and formed to promote youth athletics by creating and providing state level events.
Their events aim to provide valuable transferable experiences for student-athletes and over the past five years have awarded more than $45,000 in college scholarships.
Last year, over 90 organizations raised funds through OAC sponsored events.
Tickets are $15 each per day and further information can be obtained by calling the Covelli Centre at 330-746-5600.