Girard’s Cardiero excels at J-M Invite
By TIM CLEVELAND
Saturday’s Jackson-Milton Invitational Wrestling meet could not have gone any better for Girard’s Nick Cardiero.
The senior was not only a perfect three-for-three on pins to win the 170-pound class (one of three Girard champions), but he helped the Indians place third in the team competition with 130 points. Rootstown won the team title with 198.5 points and Jackson-Milton’s White team was second with 181.
“I wrestled hard,” Cardiero said. “There’s some good kids, but I was just better than them.”
Cardiero’s three pins were achieved in a total of just 6:06 (1:06 over Crestview’s Morgan Johnston, :52 over Pymatuning Valley’s Collin Winkler, and 4:08 in the finals over Mike McKeon of Ledgemont).
Against McKeon, Cardiero was cruising with a 9-0 lead in the third period when McKeon hurt his right knee. After recovering, he was a sitting duck for a Cardiero pin.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt him, but it’s still a wrestling match,” Cardiero said. “I was still going to look for the pin.”
His record is now 11-1 this season with 98 victories in his career. He is two wins away from being the eighth Girard wrestler to eclipse the century mark.
“It would be really good,” Cardiero said. “There’s not a lot of people at our school that got 100 wins. That’s an honor. I’m just going to keep working hard and get those two wins and make history.”
While his Liberty team tied for eighth in the team competition, Logan Weinreber was the Leopards’ only champion, winning at 182 pounds.
After pinning his first four opponents, Weinreber (9-5) faced Jackson-Milton White’s Anthony Italiano for the title.
The two battled to a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime. Italiano took a one-point lead in the first of two 30-second overtimes, but Weinreber scored two points late in the second to gain a 3-2 victory.
“Guy was strong, that was probably the biggest challenge I had was he was just a little stronger than me,” Weinreber said. “We weren’t getting tired, so it really came down to who could last more.”
Weinreber suffered a small cut to high right temple, but overcame that obstacle in the extra periods.
“I thought I had gotten a reversal on him, but he was locking hands,” Weinreber said of his winning points. “That gave me a point and I also got an escape. It just came out lucky for me.”
Just a freshman, Girard’s Dakota McCloskey won four matches to take the title at 106 pounds. He is now 13-4 after his 4-0 victory over Dalton Leightner of Rootstown, having made a smooth transition from the junior-high squad.
“It was tough at first, but I think I wore him out and it just went a lot easier from there,” McCloskey said. “It’s very exciting and fun [being on the varsity team]. Just a lot of difference between high school and junior high.”
Other local weight-class winners were Mitch Tikkanen (Jackson-Milton White, 113 pounds), Zane Chase (Girard, 132), Tyler Staton (Jackson-Milton White, 145), Seth Bloor (Wellsville, 220) and Corley Lamb (Jackson-Milton White, 285).
Staton pinned Pymatuning Valley’s Gary Baker in 4:55 to improve to 10-3 this season. He also had a pin in 4:05 and a 6-1 decision in his other matches.
“I got too high, but I got a crucifix and just tried to stick him,” Staton said of his pin of Baker.