Valley has 10 No. 1 seeds in EOWL Tournament
Canfield brings 2 wrestlers ranked No. 1 in Ohio
By Brian Dzenis
Familiarity doesn’t make things easy in the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League.
This year’s edition of the EOWL tournament — which starts today — features a couple high-profile rematches, with some short wait times between bouts.
“I kind of hate it. It’s funny because when you’re not wrestling them, you can go up and say hi and mess around because they’re on opposite sides of the bracket,” Canfield’s Tyler Stein said. “Then you see them in the next round and it’s ‘oh I can’t talk to them anymore.’”
Stein, an Ohio State commit and the state’s No. 1 wrestler in Division II at 220 pounds, will likely have to go through Louisville’s Blake Robbins to take home a title in a bout that wrestling experts consider to be the pairing in the state finals in March.
Stein has already beat Robbins, 7-4, in the 2018 Brecksville Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29.
“It’s hard enough wrestling guys on your own team in your own room. It gets harder to score because they’re used to you and know what you hit,” Stein said. “I wrestled [Howland’s Brandon Matlock] four times last year and the last time, it went to overtime.”
Stein is one of four No. 1 seeds the Cardinals are taking to the 27-team, six-county tournament at Austintown Fitch. That is fitting for the side that has won three of the last four EOWL tournaments in team scoring. The EOWL announced its seedings Thursday night in a Seed Release Party at The Manor in Austintown.
No. 1-ranked Anthony D’Alesio (182), returning EOWL champ David Reinhart (160) and Nick Crawford (195) round out the Cardinals top seeds. Stein, despite winning the 220-pound state title last year, has never won the EOWL. Neither has D’Alesio despite always being ranked high by the state.
“I told them in practice ‘geez, we better go get our first,’” Canfield coach Stephen Pitts said. “I think wrestling in front of your local crowd and kids you’ve been around your whole life. They’re going to want to win this tournament for sure.”
Stein had problems getting by former Pymatuning Valley star Gaige Willis in previous years. D’Alesio will probably see a familiar face to win it all: Boardman’s Mike O’Horo, the No. 2 seed. They met in the EOWL finals last year as 170-pounders and O’Horo won on a medical forfeit.
The two wrestled each other on Wednesday, with D’Alesio winning 2-0.
“He got a shot and he took me down in the last few seconds of the first period, then it was nothing for the rest of the match,” O’Horo said. “I’m excited to learn from that, adjust and wrestle more my style.”
The host team earned two No. 1 seeds, Gus Sutton (138) and Colin Roberts (113). Sutton has recently signed with Cleveland State to wrestle.
“Now he can just concentrate on training and his goal of making the state tournament and try to win a state title. He’s been there twice already and place,” Austintown Fitch coach John Burd said. “Hopefully, he can get there a third time and make that state finals match.”
Girard brothers Jack (285) and Alex DelGarbino (132) each earned No. 1 seeds, with the former coming in as a reigning state champion. West Branch’s Christian Wayt (120) is ranked No. 1 in the state and subsequently earned a top seed. Beaver Local’s Skyler Lasure (145) rounds out the list of Mahoning Valley wrestlers who have No. 1-seed status.