Nick Rossi, Nick Mroczynski and Josh Stasek all went 5-0 to lead Independence to a third place finish at the 2018 South Side Dual Tournament in Hookstown, Pa., on Saturday.
Richie DiGeronimo and Luke Clymer both finished 4-1 and Michael Kucera won three matches on the day for the Blue Devils.
“We beat Mother Nature by getting there, she tried to stop us so that was a good win,” said Independence coach Ken DeAngelis. “We haven’t wrestled since the Waterloo Tournament on Dec. 15 so it was good to get back on the mats and get the rust off. Overall, I thought we did pretty well.”
The Blue Devils opened the tournament with back-to-back wins over Sharon (48-36) and Elwood City (48-18) then dropped a 58-22 decision to Hampton to finish second in their pool with a 2-1 record.
Independence then fell, 42-24, to Cambridge Springs but bounced back with a 39-36 win over host South Side in the third place match.
“Our juniors and seniors are leading the way for us, no doubt about that,” DeAngelis said. “We have a handful of guys ranked in the state. You go into a dual meet expecting them not only to win but to get some bonus points. We had a few young guys in the lineup, as well. They took some bumps along the way but they’re headed in the right direction.”
Rossi, a junior, pinned all five of his opponents at 160 pounds, while Mroczynski, a senior 170-pounder, recorded three pins. Clymer, a sophomore, pinned three of his five opponents at 195.
“Nick Rossi is a bonus point machine and sure enough he got five pins,” DeAngelis said. “Nick Mroczynski too, you expect him to go in and win every match and he got three pins. Luke Clymer did really well. He had a nice tournament. He’s a sophomore wrestling 195 and went out and went 4-1 for us. He had a really nice tournament.”
Stasek, a senior 285-pounder, finished 5-0 with three pins and a 9-3 win over South Side’s Bishop McCoy, a returning state tournament place winner who finished eighth at the 2017 Super 32, one of the top high school wrestling tournaments in the country.
“This was a big one,” DeAngelis said of Stasek’s win over McCoy. “Sometimes I forget he started wrestling when he was in eighth grade because his wrestling IQ has jumped by leaps and bounds.
He was a big, strong kid but Josh dominated the ties. We got the first takedown. They traded escapes and then we just stayed in good position. The kid made a bad shot at the end and Josh put him on his back.”
DiGeronimo, a freshman 120-pounder, finished 4-1 with three pins.
“The surprise for us was Richie DiGeronimo,” DeAngelis said. “He finished 4-1 for us. That was good to see. The future looks bright. He’s unlike anyone I’ve coached before. He doesn’t care about winning or losing, he just goes out and wrestles hard. He was dedicated all spring and summer and was in the weight room with us regularly three days a week and it shows out there. He goes out and wrestles hard. When he makes a mistake he’s very coachable and we try to fix it as we go.”
Kucera, a junior, finished 3-2 with three pins at 126 pounds.
Independence hosts Cuyahoga Heights and Ashtabula St. John on Wednesday then travels to Massillon for the Tuslaw Duals on Friday and Saturday.