The winter break allowed the Independence wrestling team to work on some of the weaknesses identified during the early portion of the season in December.
The Blue Devils responded with a pair of wins at Ashtabula St. John on Thursday. They started out with a 48-30 win over Austintown Fitch B then beat their hosts, 45-21.
“I thought it was the best we’ve looked all year,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “The first three weeks of the season were pretty tough with three two-day tournaments so it was nice having a little break over Christmas break to regroup and see what we were doing well. We have a young team so we needed to work on being aggressive. We came out more aggressive than we have been all year. I was very pleased with our wins and our losses. Overall, the wrestling looked very good.”
Independence recorded eight pins in nine matches wrestled against Fitch.
Liam Walker (113), Michael Kucera (120), Luke Swauger (126), Jimmy Senick (132), Nick Rossi (145), Nick Mroczynski (170), Alex Nelson (182) and Josh Stasek (285) all recorded falls for the Blue Devils.
Rossi and Luke Clymer pinned their opponents from St. John and Mroczynski bumped up to 182 and won his match, 1-0, over Christian Blank.
“It was crazy,” DeAngelis said of the 182-pound bout. “We almost scored at the end of the first period but didn’t and then we rode the kid out in the second period. In the third period the ref noticed the kid had braces and wasn’t wearing a mouth piece so we got a penalty point and won 1-0.”
Walker, David Goldwin (120), Kucera, Swauger (132) and Senick (138) all won by forfeit against St. John.
“Nick Rossi had two matches and he pinned in the first period of both, so he did a nice job. The kid against St. John was the coach’s son and he did a nice job to work for the pin,” DeAngelis said. “Luke Swauger in the Fitch match pinned in the third period. It was 6-2 going into the third. He just outworked the kid and broke him for the pin. That was a nice job.”
The Blue Devils travel to Chagrin Valley Conference rival Berkshire for a triangular with the Badgers and Kirtland.