Independence went undefeated on the second day of the Tuslaw Duals tournament on Saturday to finish in second place overall.
The Blue Devils went 2-2 on Friday and 5-0 on Saturday.
“We entered this tournament to wrestle teams like Tuslaw, Orrville, and Fairless who we’ll see at districts,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “We battled well and even though we got beat up by Tuslaw some of my guys now know what kind of effort they’re going to need to bring to beat that caliber of kid. This was a great lead-in to the state duals which start Wednesday.”
Independence opened the tournament with a 39-35 win over Orrville then dropped back-to-back matches to Tuslaw, 66-4, and Fairless, 42-36. The Blue Devils closed out the first day with a 48-11 win over Canton Central Catholic.
Day 2 started with a 36-25 win over McKinley and the Blue Devils followed with a string of victories over Buchtel, 51-12, Wooster, 39-24, Tuscarawas Valley, 48-24, and Garaway, 45-21. They finished tied with Orrville but won second place based on the head-to-head victory.
Nick Mroczynski finished 6-0 while Nick Rossi and Josh Stasek both ended the tournament with 8-1 records. Rossi recorded seven pins while Stasek flattened five of his opponents.
Richie DiGeronimo and Michael Kucera both went 7-2. DiGeronimo pinned five opponents while Kucera ended three of his matches with a fall. Jack Brocco also saw his first action of the season, although he was limited by illness.
“It was good to get Jack Brocco into the lineup, unfortunately, he was battling the flu bug and was only able to wrestle three matches,” DeAngelis said. “It was also good to get Nick Mroczynski back in the lineup after a minor injury. Nick Rossi was very impressive over the weekend going 8-1 with seven pins. He’s just fun to watch out on the mat. His only loss was a decision to (Steven) Skeens from Tuslaw who is ranked 15th in the state.”
Nathan Coudriet and Seth Patterson also contributed to Independence’s second place finish.
“Both of them wrestle at whatever weight class I ask them to and go out and fight hard,” DeAngelis said. “Both won tough one-point matches at different points during the weekend. Those are matches that build character and confidence.”
Independence opens the OHSAA state duals on Wednesday by hosting a Region 19 quarterfinal. The top-seeded Blue Devils wrestle the winner of the match between No. 4 Wellington and No. 5 Columbia. The first match begins at 6:00 p.m.