Monday, February 6, 2023

Blue Devils advance to regional semifinals

Independence’s wrestling swept a pair of dual meets in Wednesday’s Division III, Region 20A quarterfinals to advance to next week’s semifinals at a site to be determined.

The Blue Devils opened the quarterfinals with a 48-15 win over Mogadore then knocked off Manchester, 39-29, to advance to the semifinals for the second straight year.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “The wrestling dual meet is exciting when you get two good teams and fans in the stands. It was definitely exciting. Mogadore and Manchester traditionally have really good programs. We knew we had our work cut out for us.”

Liam Walker (113), Luke Swauger (132), Nick Rossi (145), Luke Clymer (195) and Josh Stasek (285) all recorded pins in the win over Mogadore while Michael Kucera (126) and Nick Mroczynski (160) both won by decision. Kevin Clymer (170) and Alex Nelson (182) both won by forfeit.

Stasek’s pin came over Paul Skye, who finished sixth in the state at 195 last season. He bumped up from 220 to wrestle Stasek.

“He just weathered the storm,” DeAngelis said of his heavyweight. “He got taken down, I think four times, but we just gave up two and not four or five points. We'd get an escape and then we kept snapping his head and wearing on him, making him hold our weight. In the third period we got a nice double and finished to drive him to the mat. He ended up in a scramble position and caught him in a head and arm and just glued him to the mat. That was very big. The dual meet was in hand but it put an exclamation point on a pretty nice match.”

Kucera (120), Rossi (152), Mroczynski (160), Nelson (170) and Luke Clymer (195) all won by pin against Manchester while Swauger (132) won by decision and Stasek received a forfeit.

“It was back and forth,” DeAngelis said of the Manchester win. “They've got some hammers down low and we weathered the storm early. There were some crazy matches. Michael Kucera got taken down and we're losing 2-0 going into the second. The kid takes down (position) and we turned him and pinned him. We went from possibly losing three points to getting six. Luke Swauger bumped up to 132. He got caught and put to his back. He fought off his back and ended up winning the match. That was a nine-point swing. Nick Rossi, we bumped him up to 152 and he got caught at the beginning of the first period and put to his back. He ended up pinning the kid and that was a 12-point swing. We had some huge momentum swings there.”

Independence will wrestle Massillon Tuslaw on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 5:00 p.m. The location will be announced later.

Tuslaw, the No. 1 seed, advanced with an 82-0 win over Kirtland and a 72-9 win over Lutheran West.

DeAngelis believes his Blue Devils are ready for the challenge.

“My guys are just believing in themselves,” he said. “They just keep clearing every hurdle put in front of them.”

Independence 48, Mogadore 15

113: Liam Walker (Independence) pinned Tyler Abbot, 1:12; 120: Joey Hancock (Mogadore) by forfeit; 126: Michael Kucera (Independence) dec. Austin Partlow, 6-5; 132: Luke Swauger (Independence) pinned Noah Whetstone, 3:49; 138: Adam Hutchens (Mogadore) dec. Jimmy Senick, 12-7; 145: Nick Rossi (Independence) pinned Dylan Henline, 1:02; 160: Nick Mroczynski (Independence) dec. Andrew Graska, 4-1; 170: Kevin Clymer (Independence) by forfeit; 182: Alex Nelson (Independence) by forfeit; 195: Luke Clymer (Independence) pinned Anthony Lupo, 1:18; 220: James Stockett (Mogadore) pinned Chris Roan, 1:21; 285: Josh Stasek (Independence) pinned Paul Skye, 5:33.

Independence 39, Manchester 29

113: Jake White (Manchester) pinned Liam Walker, 2:44; 120: Michael Kucera (Independence) pinned Colten Stewart, 2:15; 126: Jimmy Bowen (Manchester) by forfeit; 132: Luke Swauger (Independence) dec. Michael Deventure, 8-7; 138: Bailey Hunt (Manchester) dec. Jimmy Senick, tf19-4; 152: Nick Rossi (Independence) pinned Mitchell Bock, 3:20; 160: Nick Mroczynski (Independence) pinned Paul Presutto, 1:21; 170: Alex Nelson (Independence) pinned Cole Silveous, 0:59; 182: Jake Baker (Manchester) by forfeit; 195: Luke Clymer (Independence) pinned Michael Kirk, 0:46; 220: Braden Massaro (Manchester) pinned Chris Roan, 0:13; 285: Josh Stasek (Independence) by forfeit.


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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