Sunday, February 5, 2023

Independence advances four to district tournament

INDEPENDENCE—Four Independence wrestlers extended their seasons during Saturday’s Division III sectional wrestling tournament on their home mats.

Kevin Clymer and Nick Mroczynski both finished second while Matt Mroczynski was third and Drew Benos finished fourth. Josh Stasek finished fifth and is an alternate for next weekend’s district tournament at Garfield Heights.

“We were pleased,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “This was a tough sectional. There’s kids wrestling in the consolation semis that would place in other sectionals so to get four out, especially my two seniors, it was important.”

Clymer pinned his first round opponent then scored a 16-1 technical fall in the 152 pound quarterfinals. He recorded his fourth win of the season over Cuyahoga Heights’ Jesse Woodall in the semifinals, 6-3, then forfeited to Warrensville Heights’ Anthony Scurry in the finals. Scurry is now 41-0 on the year.

“Clymer has been steady all year,” DeAngelis said. “He’s just a good technician and wrestles hard. We’ve wrestled Woodall from Heights four times this year and it’s tough to beat a kid four times in a row, especially a quality kid, so for him to battle and get a win there was important. “

Nick Mroczynski might have had the most impressive tournament run of all the Blue Devils. He dropped a 5-4 decision to Columbia’s Mike Jacobucci in the 160 pound final but he upset the No. 1 seed, Wellington’s Chris Miller, 6-4, in the semifinals and beat state-ranked Trevor Ulman of Akron Manchester, 6-1, in the quarterfinals.

“Nick has been bouncing between 160 and 170 all year,” DeAngelis said. “We were looking at what to do this weekend and we said he’s good enough to get out at 160 and good enough be in the finals and get down to Columbus so we said go 160 and wrestle hard and he did. The kid he beat in the (quarterfinals) match took third here, Ulman from Manchester; he’s a tough kid. His semifinal match, Miller, both those kids are state-ranked kids. We lost a one-pointer in the finals. He’s definitely trending in the right direction.”

While younger brother Nick had the most impressive tournament run, Matt Mroczynski had the most dramatic win for third place at 145.

Trailing Wellington’s Max Mohrman, Mroczynski used a lateral drop throw to put Mohrman on his back. He recorded a fall in 1 minute, 24 seconds.

“It’s just unconventional,” DeAngelis said. “I think that’s the first throw he’s ever had in his career. For him to have that in his bag somewhere and pull it out then, it’s just dramatic and not only to get the throw, but to stick the kid with it. That was fun. That’s a highlight reel move.”

Benos survived one of the most difficult weight classes in the tournament.

He finished fourth after losing two overtime bouts to Wellington’s Mason Wright, who improved to 31-8 on the year.

Wright won both matches by identical 2-1 scores.

Benos rebounded after the quarterfinals loss to win three straight matches, including one over Manchester’s Brayden Kirk, who has 27 wins on the year, in the consolation semifinals, also known as the go-to-districts bout.

“That just goes to the character of those kids,” DeAngelis said. “That’s been our MO all year, just work hard and good stuff will happen. Our two seniors have really led the way all year and it was the same today. They just worked hard.”

Stasek lost in the 285 pound semifinals to eventual champion Zack States of Mogadore then lost 3-1 in the consolation semis to Trinity senior Charlie Draucker, who finished third. He won by forfeit in the fifth place match.


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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