Sunday, February 25, 2024

Blue Devils add sectional title to impressive season

Independence’s wrestling team already this winter set a new school record with 21 dual meet victories and on Saturday the Blue Devils added another impressive accomplishment by claiming a Division III sectional title for the first time since 1997 and just the second time in school history.

“Going in to sectiointo I was hoping we would wrestle up to our potential and we absolutely did,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “Our guys wrestled really well all day long. We also finished well going 7-3 in the finals with four pins. We just hope to carry the momentum into districts this week.”

The Blue Devils placed 10 wrestlers among the top six and advanced nine to the Garfield Heights District. Four Independence wrestlers won individual sectional titles.

Junior Jack Brocco won the 145-pound title with two byes and two pins that covered 59 and 38 seconds.

“I really just wanted to make sure I would get the No. 1 seed so I had the best opportunity to make it out of districts,” Brocco said. “I was just focused on getting the one-seed and nothing else.”

Brocco, who improved to 14-1 on the year, will wrestle Loudonville junior Brock Lowery in the first round on Friday. Lowery is 27-12 this season.

“I feel comfortable with where I am, even after missing half the season,” Brocco said. “I feel both my technique and conditioning is where it needs to be.”

Junior Nick Rossi claimed the 160-pound title after placing fourth at 145 last season. He finished sectionals with a 3-0 record and pinned all three of his opponents.

“My mindset for sectionals was to come out with the No. 1 seed,” Rossi said. “It’s important to get the best seed you can for districts. The draw is everything.”

Rossi, who improved to 44-5, will wrestle Newbury senior John Chambers in the district first round. Chambers is 18-10 this season.

“I’m confident, but not cocky about it,” Rossi said. “I’m going to just go into districts and wrestle my best.”

Senior Nick Mroczynski won his second straight sectional title and qualified for his fourth straight district tournament by finishing the day 4-0 at 170 pounds with one pin. He won the 160-pound title last season and finished second in 2016 (160) and 2015 (138).

“It’s pretty cool because not a lot of people get to accomplish that,” Mroczynski said about winning back-to-back sectional titles and punching his ticket to districts for the fourth straight season. “I was trying to be aggressive and score points from any position.”

Mroczynski, who improved to 43-4, will wrestle Triway senior Peyton Doan (15-14) in the first round at districts.

Senior Josh Stasek won his first sectional title in advancing to districts for the third time and he did it by avenging a loss in last year’s sectional championship match to Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s Pat Sheridan.

Stasek advanced to the championship bout with a bye, a technical fall and a pin then beat Sheridan, 12-7.

“It felt great,” Stasek said of avenging last year’s loss to Sheridan. “I just went out there, knowing I had put in the most work these past few weeks, and I could take down anybody. He has one main move, the fat man roll, which is done from the bottom position. After I’d take him down, I’d kick him out and take him down again.”

Stasek, who improved to 46-7 on the year, entered the sectional tournament as the No. 3 seed then beat the top two seeds, who are ranked as the No. 9 and No. 14 wrestlers in the state.

He’ll wrestle Springfield freshman Brady Brungard (7-17) in the first round of his third district tournament.

“I’m ready to make that push to states,” Stasek said. “I’ve been just below a lot of people before this season, but now I’m starting to surpass them.”

Junior Michael Kucera, sophomores Luke Clymer and Jimmy Senick, and freshmen Collin Patton and Richie DiGeronimo also qualified for the district tournament.

Clymer finished second at 195 while Kucera (126), Patton (106) and Senick (152) all placed third. DiGeronimo took fourth at 120.

Sophomore Liam Walker finished sixth at 132 pounds.

Sect. Tournament: Div. III – Independence Scores

1. Independence 193.5; 2. Mogadore 147.0; 3. Black River 123.0; 4. Luth. West 122.0; 5. Brooklyn 100.0; 6. Cuy. Heights 99.0; 7. Cle. VASJ 97.0; 8. Elyria Catholic 88.5; 9. Ak. Manchester 72.5; 10. Clearview 59.0; 11. Columbia 58.5; 12. Wellington 56.0; 13. Oberlin 27.5; 14. Trinity 16.0;

First Place
106: Jeffrey Rosin (Brooklyn) pin Aaron Honaker (Elyria Catholic) 1:12;
113: Zach Lahood (Black River) dec. Colten Stewart (Ak. Manchester) 7-5;
120: Jake White (Ak. Manchester) pin Reggie Bouchonville (Oberlin) 2:51;
126: Zach Larue (Ak. Manchester) Default Seth Majewski (Brooklyn) Default;
132: Parker Watson (Luth. West) dec. Andrew Zarins (Brooklyn) 5-0;
138: Mason Wright (Wellington) dec. King Seyou (Cle. VASJ) 7-3;
145: Jack Brocco (Independence) pin Carl Ramser (Brooklyn) 0:59;
152: Nick Skye (Mogadore) pin Carl Channey (Cle. VASJ) 3:44;
160: Nick Rossi (Independence) pin Logan Penix (Mogadore) 5:59;
170: Nick Mroczynski (Independence) maj. dec. Julian Colbert (Clearview) md14-6;
182: Jordan Krucek (Cuy. Heights) pin Devon Pritts (Mogadore) 2:41;
195: Jacob Campbell (Black River) dec. Luke Clymer (Independence) 6-3;
220: Paul Skye (Mogadore) pin Justin Bell (Columbia) 1:51;
285: Josh Stasek (Independence) dec. Pat Sheridan (Cle. VASJ) 12-7;

Third Place
106: Collin Patton (Independence) pin Logan Hummel (Mogadore) 1:45;
113: Brandon Meade (Cuy. Heights) pin Jonathan Karasik (Mogadore) 0:14;
120: Lachlan Thomas (Luth. West) pin Richie DiGeronimo (Independence) 1:50;
126: Michael Kucera (Independence) pin Austin Partlow (Mogadore) 2:02;
132: Tyler Wilfong (Wellington) def. Steven Ferguson (Elyria Catholic) Default;
138: Donavon Palmer (Luth. West) pin Hunter Yeaples (Black River) 2:58;
145: Justin Zacharayasz (Black River) pin Nate Oriani (Cle. VASJ) 4:48;
152: Jimmy Senick (Independence) dec. Kyle Calvey (Cuy. Heights) 8-3;
160: Josh Longstreet (Cle. VASJ) pin Jamie Kiousis (Black River) 3:47;
170: Nathan Glinka (Cuy. Heights) pin Garrett Frye (Luth. West) 2:04;
182: Alex Gucwa (Brooklyn) dec. Riley Bartolic (Black River) 13-7;
195: James Parker (Elyria Catholic) pin Dylan Gubanyar (Luth. West) 0:58;
220: Joe Connors (Cuy. Heights) pin Jack Novak (Elyria Catholic) 1:43;
285: J.D. McCardle (Clearview) pin Jack Decker (Elyria Catholic) 0:04:12;

Fifth Place
106: Sarah Powell (Black River) dec. Joshua Rader (Luth. West) 7-5;
113: Tommy Cassidy (Columbia) dec. Trayton Bowman (Wellington) 7-1;
120: Dawson Manley (Mogadore) pin Trent Sexton (Black River) 4:38;
126: Khalid Morales (Luth. West) maj. dec. Robert Bouchonville (Oberlin) md9-0;
132: Ray Velez (Cle. VASJ) dec. Liam Walker (Independence) 10-8;
138: Cody Sestito (Columbia) pin Zack Delong (Trinity) 0:44;
145: Neil Mahoney (Trinity) dec. Allyssa Pirro (Luth. West) 2-0;
152: Joe Governale (Columbia) pin Cameron Smith (Elyria Catholic) 2:00;
160: Donny Horsely (Clearview) pin Mickey Katona (Cuy. Heights) 3:15;
170: Gabe Gayheart (Wellington) disq. Riley Horning (Oberlin) Disq;
182: Robert McCardle (Clearview) pin Cole Nicholas (Luth. West) 0:50;
195: James Stockett (Mogadore) def. Kiras Kijauskas (Cle. VASJ) Default;
220: Kyle Stevanus (Black River) pin Sean Kessel (Luth. West) 1:08;
285: Elijah Caraballo (Columbia) pin Jerlmiah Sutton (Oberlin) 2:13;

Steve Hare
Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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