Four Valley wrestlers advance to state finals
Canfield, Girard and Beaver Local chasing state tourney titles
By ERIC MAUK
Four area high school wrestlers will wake up Saturday morning in Columbus, Ohio and before the echo of the alarm disappears, their thoughts will snap to the floor of the Schottenstein Center and their impending chance to win an Ohio High School state championship.
The quartet includes one wrestler who has been to the summit before, one that is following in those championship footsteps, one seeking to make up for a missed opportunity a year ago, and one that is going where no person from his school has ever gone before.
All four title hopefuls will battle for Division II state crowns as Canfield wrestlers David Crawford (182) and Tyler Stein (220), Beaver Local’s Cole McComas (113) and Girard’s Jack DelGarbino (285) advanced to tomorrow’s championship round.
Crawford is the defending state 170-pound champion, but his move to the 182-pound class did nothing to blunt his charge for a second-straight title. The senior punched his ticket with three dominant victories including a 37-second pin on Thursday, a 13-1 romp on Friday morning and a 12-9 victory in the semifinals over Norwalk’s Gabe Phillips.
“I felt confident coming down here and thought that I could win every match if I did what I know how to do,” Crawford said after moving to 47-2 on the year. “I felt like I controlled each of my matches so far, but there’s one more left and I have to go out and take care of business.”
DelGarbino took care of 44 years of business for Girard as the heavyweight became the first wrestler in school history to advance to a state championship final. DelGarbino etched his name in the school record book with a 13-0 win on Thursday, an 88-second pin Friday morning and a 6-3 victory over Warsaw River View’s Sam Mitchell Friday night. The junior, who remains unbeaten through 48 matches this year, hit a big four-point move to take the early advantage and held on for the win.
“That move helped me a lot, because I was a little tight early, a little nervous,” DelGarbino said. “I had seen (Mitchell) wrestle earlier in the day (in a second-round pin of Howland’s Chris Julian), and saw a couple of things he liked to do, and I was ready to counter them.”
Girard coach Jim Cardiero may have been more excited about his Indians’ breakthrough but after a few minutes of soft-pedaling his accomplishment, DelGarbino agreed that tomorrow’s title opportunity was big for his team.
“You know, this could show our other guys that things like this can happen,” DelGarbino said. “There are a lot of people from our school and our program here and maybe it can make a difference.”
McComas (45-3) advanced to his second consecutive final by giving West Branch junior Christian Wayt his first loss of the season. In a repeat of their meeting in last year’s state tourney, McComas stopped Wayt 4-3 by using a pair of late reversals to advance.
“It feels great to move on to the championship,” McComas said. “We’ve prepared ourselves in the wrestling room all year for this and we are in a good spot to make it happen.”
Stein (48-3) moved to his first final with a 7-1 romp over Norwood’s Mikey Addis, using a single-leg takedown to get an early lead and controlling the action from there. The junior will wrestle in his first final, but has an idea what to expect after talking with 2017 champ Crawford.
“Yeah, he’s like a big brother to me as far as getting me ready for what to expect, so I feel much better in that regard,” Stein said. “My goal all year was to get to state and while there were moments when I wasn’t sure about it, I know that I am ready and David is a big part of why I feel that way.”