Cardinal kicked off the 2014-2015 wrestling season with a strong showing at the Paulie McGhee Invitational at Aurora over the weekend.
Led by third place finishes from Brandon Neikirk and Kyle Simms, five Husky wrestlers earned a spot on the podium.
“That’s a tough tournament for us to open with,” said Cardinal coach Jeff Zeigler. “Nobody was really in the right, proper weight classes but I was pleased with how we finished.”
Neikirk, a junior, finished 3-1 at 132 pounds.
He opened the tournament with a pin over Stow senior Anthony Valore then dropped a decision to Danny Novak, a returning district qualifier from Aurora. Neikirk rebounded with a 2 minute, 10 second pin over Geneva’s Jacob Rogerson in the consolation semifinals and a 6-4 win over Valore in the third place match.
“He did a nice job all weekend,” Zeigler said. “I know he was disappointed in the match he lost. I think he felt he didn’t wrestle well but he made up for it after that. He came back strong and finished strong. He wrestled a nice match in the finals.”
Simms, a sophomore, lost his first match then won his next three to place third at 170. He pinned Aurora’s Josh Kane in 1 minute, 22 seconds in the first round of consolations then beat Parma’s Mark Maciech, 7-5, and Tallmadge’s Cailen Jackson, 3-2.
“Kyle did a beautiful job all weekend,” Zeigler said. “He wrestled with a lot of confidence, much more than last year. He carried himself well and kept his composure, stayed focused in the finals match and pulled off a real close victory.”
Sophomore Brandon Nevison finished fourth at 113.
He opened the tournament with a loss then won his next two to earn a spot in the third place match, where he fell to Brush’s Ashton Peck, 7-2.
“He’s come a long way and did a really nice job placing in his first varsity tournament,” Zeigler said. “I’m excited about him. I’m real pleased with how he wrestled. Brandon will be an integral part of our lineup either at 113 or if we bump people around.”
Trent Mast, a sophomore, went 2-2 to finish fourth at 120 pounds, despite being undersized as he works his way down to 113.
He opened the tournament with a 1 minute, 19 second pin of Sugarcreek Garaway’s Trey Hershberger then lost to eventual tournament champion Kyle Jenkins of Stow in the semifinals. Mast rebounded with a 3-2 win over Mayfield’s Josh Rogowski to set up a third place showdown with Parma’s Anthony Ramos. Ramos won that match, 1-0.
“He’s not a 120-pounder. He was extremely outsized and weight-wise it was real noticeable,” Zeigler said. “He’s cutting to get to 113 for next week so it was a little bit of a disadvantage weighing about 115 pounds and wrestling 120 pounders. He wrestled well all weekend. He was disappointed in that finals match. He didn’t score and lost by a 1-0 score. That was a senior kid, a good wrestler.”
Like Mast, junior Bryn Havel was undersized at 195 pounds but he finished in fifth place.
“He’s going to be at 182 this weekend so he was about 185 wrestling the 195 pound kids and he did a real nice job placing,” Zeigler said. “I’m excited about him. He also is a varsity letterwinner with limited experience in the varsity lineup but he did a real nice job placing for us.”
Seniors Zachary Loze and Christian Noreika, junior Craig Shanower and freshman Mason Lustig also competed for the Huskies.
Senior Ian Mast did not wrestle in the tournament as he recovers from a soccer injury. The Huskies also expect to have several other wrestlers return to the lineup soon including Donovan Drebus and Mo Samir and Khaleel Samir.
The Huskies host the Cardinal Tournament on Saturday.
Paulie McGhee Invitational
How they finished: 1. Rootstown 244; 2. Stow 232; 3. Aurora 212.5; 4. Parma 169; 5. North Olmsted 147.5; 6. Sugarcreek Garaway 136.5; 7. Geneva 131.5; 8. Tallmadge 113.5; 9. Mayfield 109; 10. Cardinal 94.5; 11. Kent Roosevelt 78; 12. Valley Forge 70; 13. Brush 57; 14. Bedford 46; 15. Aurora "B" 39; 16. Cardinal "B" 13; 17. Tallmadge "B" 10.5; 18. Mayfield "C" 10; 19. Mayfield "B" 3; 19. Stow "B" 3.
106—Championship: James (Be) d. Leightner (R) 6-5; Third place: Craker (M) t.f. Rickenbacker (T) 16-1. 113 —Championship: Feuer (M) p. Harris (R) 5:44; Third place: Peck (Br) d. Nevison (C "B") 7-2. 120 —Championship: Koneval (St) p. Valimont (G) 0:52.126—Championship: Jenkins (St) m.d. Trescott (R) 11-3; Third place: Ramos (P) d. Mast (C) 1-0. 126—Championship: Brezovec (A) d. Paolucci (R) 12-6; Third place: Chockan (NO) p. Requa (G) 2:26. 132—Championship: Hayes (R) d. Novak (A) 11-6; Third place: Neikerk (C) d. Valore (St) 6-4. 138 —Championship: Workman (P) m.d. Wallace (KR) 12-1; Third place: Allen (St) p. Biggs (NO) 3:19. 145—Championship: Andrassy (St) d. Sadler (R) 4-2; Third place: Gavin (A) d. Anderson (Be) 6-5. 152—Championship: Siesel (T) t.f. Heygi (NO) 15-0. Third place: Hershberger (SG) p. Greer (KR) 2:01. 160—Championship: Weber (SG) d. Lovell (A) 13-7; Third place: Helper (T "B") p. Ahmad (NO) 2:35. 170—Championship: Sorboro (R) p. Finegan (St) 2:22; Third place: Simms (C) d. Jackson (T) 3-2. 182—Championship: Brown (G) p. Paonessa (T) 2:37; Third place: Gretz (R) d. Bodjanac (St) 1-0. 195—Championship: Lewis (P) p. Winston (NO) 3:06; Third place: Suchovsky (A) p. Blanch (Br) 1:00. 220—Championship: McNamara (A) d. Driver (P) 5-4; Third place: Hayden (A "B") p. Gaul (VF) 2:05. 285—Championship: Crosby (VF) d. Burger (A) 4-3; Third place: Tatgenhorst (St) d. Dahglas (G) 8-2.