recognize East rugby,
By Greg Gulas
As Canfield High School’s only two-time individual state wrestling champion, David Crawford knows a little something about dedication and preparation, and what it takes in order to rise to the top of the podium.
Teammate Tyler Stein, also a state individual wrestling champion for the Cardinals, will have the opportunity next winter to duplicate Crawford’s feat.
Individual champions Seth Dunn of Lakeview, Crestview’s Dominic Perry and Girard’s Jack DelGarbino joined Crawford, Stein and the East High rugby state champions honored Monday by the Curbstone Coaches during their meeting at Avion Banquet Center.
Crawford, a 182-pounder who will attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall on a wrestling scholarship, went 49-2 last season, won his final eight matches at state in Division II and finished an outstanding scholastic career with four straight (he finished sixth as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore) state appearances.
“Former coach Dean Conley, current coach Stephen Pitts and our entire coaching staff really care about us, not just as athletes but individuals as well,” Crawford said. “From our youth program, to middle school to high school, they encourage us to be the best that we can be every time we practice or have a match.
“Falling short as a freshman and sophomore made me want to work harder and after winning last year, the goal was to get back to state and try to repeat. Every single day it was work hard in order to reach that goal.”
Stein won the 220-pound title as a junior in Division II after earning a state berth as a sophomore, when he went 1-2 in three matches.
Like Crawford, he also plays football, went 49-3 overall last season and is 81-14 during his scholastic career.
“Winning the state championship really didn’t sink in for me that first month, but it has now and feels very special,” Stein said. “Playing football is a carryover to wrestling for me as both are hard-nosed sports. They both take a lot of preparation if you expect to be successful.”
The Cardinals were the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League champions last season, won sectional and district titles while finishing second as a team at state for the third year in a row.
“Both David and Tyler are stoic, quiet kids and I saw it in both of their eyes after their sophomore seasons,” Conley said. “They went to state, fell short and I just saw a big change in them as they prepared for their junior seasons, which resulted in state titles.”
Dunn won the Division II bowling title with a 703 series — he rolled 277, 211 and 215 — while leading Lakeview to a sixth-place finish at state.
The architect of 11 strikes in a row on six separate occasions, his three-game set was highest at state last season.
“Our coach, Jason Smith, has a way of keeping everyone calm while surrounding himself with some excellent bowling people,” Dunn said. “The goal is for the team to get back to state. I will spend the offseason working on my spares, specifically my 10-pins.”
A senior this fall, Perry won the Division III shot put title with a 56-feet, 8-inch heave after finishing third overall in Division II his sophomore season.
“After my sophomore year, I trained twice as hard in order to get better and be prepared for state this year,” said Perry, whose career best throw is 59-1.
DelGarbino, a 4.0 student who will also be a senior this fall, won a Division II state title at 285 pounds to become the first ever Indian to win a state wrestling crown.
He finished 49-0 last season, went 50-4 as a sophomore when he finished fourth at state and is 135-12 during his scholastic career.
“It’s really tough to put into words. I’m glad to be the first wrestler from Girard to win a state title, but I must work twice as hard now if I expect to get back to state,” DelGarbino said.
Girard head coach Jim Cardiero just completed his 28th season.
“Jack’s support starts with his family, which includes mother Michelle and father J.T.,” Cardiero said. “They are committed to all four of their children, stress academics and make a lot of sacrifices for all of them.”
The East High rugby team went 7-1-1 overall to capture the Division III state title in their inaugural season in the sport. The Golden Bears defeated Shaker Heights for the title, a team that gave them their only tie during the regular season.
“We were all new to the sport, but adapted to one another,” flanker Antwan McWhorter said.
Elijah Smith was the starting fly half.
“The key was that we developed a team chemistry as the year went on,” Smith said.
Next week, the high school spring sports champions will be honored.