Thursday, February 2, 2023

Geneva soars at KIT

Geneva’s wrestling team continued its hot streak by winning the 2019 Kenston Invitational on Saturday.

The Eagles, who earlier this month won the Riverside Rumble followed by the Rebel Invitational, claimed a third straight tournament championship when they edged Fairfield for the team title at Kenston, 156-152. Boardman finished third with 148 ½ points.

“It’s very satisfying,” Geneva coach Chris Stamper said. “This is always the toughest tournament of the year for us and there’s always a lot of great competition, so being able to be in a position to win and hold the lead means a lot.”

Led by individual champion Jesse McElroy, six different Eagles earned a spot among the top eight at their respective weight classes.

McElroy went 5-0 with four pins to win the 138-pound weight class.

“Jesse had an amazing weekend,” Stamper said. “He’s really stepped up his game this season. We knew he would do well but he exceeded my expectations.”

Also placing for the Eagles were Johnny Wayslaw (3rd, 132), Caleb Selman (6th, 152), Cole Vennis (6th, 170), Brandon Thomas (3rd, 195), and Charles Taylor (2nd, 220).

“We have great depth right now,” Stamper said. “Historically, we’ve been placing three guys or less at Kenston so starting day two with nine guys and placing six of them was great. The whole team really surprised me. I went into the tournament looking for a top-five finish but never expected to win it all.”

The Eagles needed every point and bonus point to take the team title as Fairfield and Boardman were within striking distance throughout the tournament. Geneva wrestlers recorded 22 pins and three major decisions in the tournament.

“With only a four-point difference between us and Fairfield, every win counted, every effort to score extra points to get the major decision over a regular decision or to push a little harder to get the pin made a difference this weekend,” Stamper said. “The team wrestled harder than they have all season and I’m proud of them.”

Orange’s Yury Pozdneev was the only other Chagrin Valley Conference wrestler to win a title. He finished 5-0 with a pin and a technical fall to win the 126-pound championship.

Other CVC wrestlers to place among the top eight included Kirtland’s Will Davidson (2nd, 106), Anthony Gencarelli (6th, 220) and Jeff Kusar (2nd, 285), Lakeside’s Ethan Wannett (3rd, 126) and Jacob Lagoa (2nd, 170), West Geauga’s Jack Sparent (5th, 126), Josh Moriarty (7th, 170), Tyler Moriarty (4th, 220) and Lou Alesnik (5th, 285), Orange’s Jason Abounader (8th, 138) and Beachwood’s Elijah Durham-Harris (6th, 195).

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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