Valley natives Mancini, Ginnetti set for D-III nationals
Mancini, Ginnetti OAC standouts
By Brian Dzenis
Nick Mancini has the final piece to complete his wrestling career — a chance to compete for a national championship.
While 24 Mahoning Valley’s high school wrestlers are competing for a state title, the Boardman graduate and Mount Union senior will be in Cleveland for the NCAA Division III wrestling championships. Also going for Baldwin Wallace is Poland’s Dante Ginnetti.
The road to the NCAA’s is tough, only the top three in regional play qualify. Mancini (125, 24-2) has come painfully close. He took fourth in regionals in his freshman and sophomore seasons and fifth last year.
“It’s an indescribable type of feeling,” Mancini said. “I put a lot of work in to get where I’m at and to finally feel the payoff at the right time, I’m really grateful.”
Mancini, the son of Boardman wrestling coach Dom Mancini, has put together quite the career in Alliance. A four-year starter, He’s been an first-team All-Ohio Athletic Conference member every year of his career and has just one loss in conference competition in four years, but he still had to keep improving to get over the regional hump.
“I have a predictable style and people were figuring it out. I had to change some things up and I put more work into figuring out how to beat my opponents,” Mancini said. “I’m more defensive than offensive. I don’t move as much as other guys in my weight class do. I’m slower and more methodical than an all-out attack.”
Ginnetti (133, 37-5) heads to nationals for first time in his sophomore season. Based in Berea, he doesn’t have too far to go to compete in Cleveland’s Public Auditorium and the No. 6-ranked Yellow Jackets are the host of the tournament.
“There’s a parade at the beginning and we’ll be the last guys out. It’s a squad of nine guys — the most in the country,” Ginnetti said. “My family is coming. My high school coaches are coming and my friends are coming. We’re going to have a big crowd and it’s going to be loud.”
Baldwin Wallace is quite the leap from Poland, whose wrestling operates as a club with small numbers. Ginnetti learned to love the Yellow Jackets’ culture.
“We were close at Poland, but it’s nothing like [Baldwin Wallace], you had part-time wrestlers who only wanted to wrestle during the season,” Ginnetti said. “Here it’s 35 guys with the same goal and none of us want to take credit for the stuff that we do. We just want to get better every day and wrestle as hard as we can for seven minutes.”
Both wrestlers compete on Friday and did well enough in regionals to not have to wrestle in a play-in round. Mancini will face Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Mike Tortorice and Ginnetti faces Wartburg’s Brock Rathburn.
“I just want to go out there and have as much fun as I can because that’s what it’s all about,” Ginnetti said.