Saturday, September 30, 2023

Blue Devils fall in regional final

Forfeits cost Independence the chance to compete in the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Dual Wrestling Tournament.

The Blue Devils gave up four forfeits in a 39-31 loss to Applecreek Waynedale in Wednesday’s regional championship match at Independence.

“It was an exciting night of wrestling,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “We knew when the brackets came out weeks ago that Waynedale was the team to beat. They are a program that won a state title in 2012 and consistently produces quality individuals and teams. We didn’t have our complete roster but we definitely made it interesting.”

The Blue Devils won six of the nine matches wrestled and earned one forfeit. Waynedale won three matches and received a total of four forfeits in advancing to the state quarterfinals.

Michael Kucera (126), Jack Brocco (145), Nick Mroczynski (170), and Luke Clymer (195) all won by decision for the Blue Devils while Liam Walker (132) and Nick Rossi (152) won by pin. Collin Patton (106) won by forfeit.

“Against Waynedale, we knew it was going to be a battle,” DeAngelis said. “They have seven kids ranked in the state. It had to be the perfect scenario for us to pull out a victory and we almost got that scenario.”

Trailing 12-6, Kucera recorded a win over a state-ranked wrestler and Walker’s first period pin gave the Blue Devils a 15-12 lead.

“We got a big win from Michael Kucera, who beat state-ranked Jaden Varner 3-1,” DeAngelis said. “He got a first period takedown and controlled the pace of the match. Liam Walker really got the crowd pumped with a first period pin. He caught his opponent with a chin whip and didn’t let him off his back.”

Waynedale recorded a pin at 138 to take an 18-15 lead.

Brocco and Rossi won back-to-back matches to put the Blue Devils back in front, 25-18. Waynedale earned a forfeit at 160 but Mroczynski responded with his 7-1 decision to keep Independence in the lead, 28-24.

Waynedale took a 30-28 lead after receiving a forfeit at 182.

Clymer’s 1-0 win at 195 gave the Blue Devils their last lead, 31-30.

“Jack Brocco, Nick Rossi, and Nick Mroczynski did what we expected and got three nice wins, “DeAngelis said. “After Luke Clymer won at 195, we were winning 31-30 but we knew we were going to forfeit 220. With one match left, we needed a pin from Josh Stasek (at 285) as we were losing 36-31.”

Stasek was paired up with senior Ben Farrar, who is ranked sixth in the state.

With the score tied, 2-2, late in the final period, Stasek attempted a desperation move and came out on the short end of the score, 4-2.

The Blue Devils advanced to the regional finals with a 48-36 win over Beachwood.

Kucera (126), Walker (132), Brocco (145), Rossi (160), Mroczynski (170), and Clymer (220) all won by pin while Stasek picked up a forfeit.

“Our regional runner-up finish was the best finish in Independence history,” DeAngelis said. “We are looking forward to building off this performance on Saturday at the CVC Tournament.”

Independence 48 – Beachwood 36

106 Jeremy Leizman 9 (Beachwood) pin Collin Patton 9 (Independence)3:12
113 Aadi Dutt 10 (Beachwood) forfeit (Independence)Forfeit
120 Zach Kudroff 11 (Beachwood) pin Richie DiGeronimo 9 (Independence)3:03
126 Michael Kucera 11 (Independence) pin Paul Jacobs 11 (Beachwood)4:32
132 Liam Walker 10 (Independence) pin Jelani Byrd 10 (Beachwood)2:24
138 Will Henry 11 (Beachwood) pin Ben Vitron 9 (Independence)3:58
145 Jack Brocco 11 (Independence) pin Michael Schmidt 11 (Beachwood)5:00
152 James Flowers 10 (Beachwood) pin Nathan Coudriet 9 (Independence)1:41
160 Nick Rossi 11 (Independence) pin James Henry 10 (Beachwood)1:41
170 Nick Mroczynski 12 (Independence) pin Taylor Balasz 12 (Beachwood)3:45
182 Elijah Durham-Harris 10 (Beachwood) pin Vinnie Bucci 10 (Independence)1:49
195 Jack Corrigan 9 (Independence) forfeit (Beachwood)Forfeit
220 Luke Clymer 10 (Independence) pin Gavin Lever 11 (Beachwood)0:29
285 Josh Stasek 12 (Independence) forfeit (Beachwood)Forfeit

Waynedale 39 – Independence 31

106 Collin Patton 9 (Independence) forfeit (Waynedale)Forfeit
113 Gabe Mathias 9 (Waynedale) forfeit (Independence)Forfeit
120 Storm Stanley 9 (Waynedale) pin Richie DiGeronimo 9 (Independence)1:31
126 Michael Kucera 11 (Independence) dec. Jaden Varner 9 (Waynedale)Dec 3-1
132 Liam Walker 10 (Independence) pin Dillon Charbonneau 9 (Waynedale)0:57
138 Evan Hostetler 12 (Waynedale) pin Ben Vitron 9 (Independence)1:09
145 Jack Brocco 11 (Independence) dec. Jarrett Varner 11 (Waynedale)md10-0
152 Nick Rossi 11 (Independence) pin Micah Hershberger 10 (Waynedale)4:13
160 Max Lemon 11 (Waynedale) forfeit (Independence)Forfeit
170 Nick Mroczynski 12 (Independence) dec. Nathan Shaw 10 (Waynedale)Dec 7-1
182 Logan Stanley 12 (Waynedale) forfeit (Independence)Forfeit
195 Luke Clymer 10 (Independence) dec. Ben Wilkinson 11 (Waynedale)Dec 1-0
220 Ty Straits 12 (Waynedale) forfeit (Independence)Forfeit
285 Ben Farrar 12 (Waynedale) dec. Josh Stasek 12 (Independence)Dec 4-2

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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