Friday, February 23, 2024

Independence punches ticket to regional semifinals

Independence’s wrestling team already had claimed wins over both of their OHSAA Division III, Region 19 quarterfinals opponents earlier this season but Blue Devils coach Ken DeAngelis wasn’t going to allow his wrestlers to take those wins for granted.

He prepared them for whatever might come their way in the first two rounds of the state dual tournament on Wednesday and they responded with a 46-12 win over Beachwood and a 40-30 victory over Cuyahoga Heights to advance to next week’s regional semifinal against Wellington.

“We just did what we needed to do,” DeAngelis said. “The thing I was trying to guard against, we’ve already wrestled Beachwood and Cuyahoga Heights and we came out on the winning side of both of those duals but you can’t rely on what you’ve already done. All week it was preaching to the guys that it doesn’t matter who you beat or wrestled before, you go out and wrestle like it’s your match that makes the difference in the dual.”

The Blue Devils finished the night 10-0 in matches wrestled.

“The guys are just working hard in the room every day and in matches like this they come through and it shows,” DeAngelis said.

Michael Kucera (106) and Kevin Clymer (160) both recorded pins against Beachwood while Kyle Corsi (126) won by major decision and Matt Mroczynski (138) and Nick Mroczynski (170) both won by decision. Luke Swauger (132), Drew Benos (145), Alex Nelson (152) and Josh Stasek (285) all won by forfeit.

“Every team there was a little shorthanded because of injuries or whatever,” DeAngelis said. “In a situation like that you just try to maximize your points and minimize your opponent’s points. That’s the part I love about dual meets. That’s the math teacher in me coming out trying to figure out where we can pick up a point or two here and there.”

DeAngelis found the right algorithm in the win over rival Cuyahoga Heights.

He bumped Kucera up to 113, Corsi wrestled his second match at 126 pounds and Nick Mroczynski stayed up at 170.

“I teach my guys to be ready,” he said. “You might go out at your weight class or the weight class above and don’t question it. It’s about doing what’s best for the team. Michael Kucera was ready to go out at 106 if I sent him out but it was better for the team to bump him up to 113. Kyle Corsi was ready to go out at 120 but it was better for the team so he bumped up to 126. It was little things like that in a dual meet that come back to make a big difference.”

Kucera pinned David Stankiewicz in 51 seconds and Corsi pinned Mason Johnson in 1:09. Benos won by major decision at 145 and Clymer pulled out a decision over Jesse Woodall at 152. Nick Mroczynski beat Chad McDaniel at 170 and Swauger (132), Matt Mroczynski (138) and Stasek (285) all won by forfeit against the Redskins.

“In the Heights match, Kevin Clymer has run into Jesse Woodall, this is the fourth time I think they’ve wrestled, twice last year and twice this year, and it’s always a close match,” DeAngelis said. “Kevin is just such a fundamentally sound wrestler. He stays in good position and again today he wrestled with good fundamentals and good position. He made a close match look not as close as it could have been. Nick Mroczynski, I bumped him to 170 to try to maximize our points. He wrestled a tough kid from Heights, McDaniel. He’s solid and we’re giving up some weight. Nick just wrestled a good fundamental match. Those two matches really stuck out.”

The second-seeded Blue Devils advanced to wrestled No. 1 seed Wellington at a site to be determined. The semifinals likely will take place at Region 19B top seed Rootstown.

Wellington advanced to the semifinals with a 47-21 win over Warrensville Heights and a 45-30 victory over Columbia.

“There’s a reason their coach is going into the Ohio High School Coaches Wrestling Hall of Fame this year,” DeAngelis said of Wellington coach John Sedlick. “He’s a spectacular coach that continuously puts out solid team after solid team. They were sectional champs in our gym last year so we know how tough they are. We’ll just try to match up the best we can and bring our good attitude and hardworking guys and see what happens.”

Full Results:

Match 1
Cuy. Heights 35 – Brooklyn 30

106 Luke Hopkins 9 (Cuy. Heights) pin Jeff Rosin 9 (Brooklyn) 2:30
113 David Stankiewicz 10 (Cuy. Heights) Forfeit
120 Yasser Hamdan 12 (Brooklyn) maj. dec. Brandon Meade 9 (Cuy. Heights) 17
126 Carl Ramser 9 (Brooklyn) tech. fall Mason Johnson 12 (Cuy. Heights) 22
132 Andrew Zarins 10 (Brooklyn) Forfeit
138 Austin Zarins 12 (Brooklyn) Forfeit
145 Jordan Kruchek 9 (Cuy. Heights) tech. fall Saroun Chham 10 (Brooklyn) 17
152 Jesse Woodall 11 (Cuy. Heights) pin Alex Gucwa 10 (Brooklyn) 5:36
160 Nick Frye 11 (Cuy. Heights) Forfeit
170 Zack Reinecke 12 (Brooklyn) dec. Chad McDaniel 11 (Cuy. Heights) 6
182 Jake Mallos 11 (Cuy. Heights) Forfeit
195 (Brooklyn) (Cuy. Heights) FF
220 Andrew Outrich 9 (Brooklyn) pin Donald Jacubzak 9 (Cuy. Heights) 1:11
285 (Brooklyn) (Cuy. Heights) FF

Match 2
Beachwood 12 – Independence 46

106 Michael Kucera 9 (Independence) pin Will Henry 9 (Beachwood) 1:04
113 Paul Jacobs 9 (Beachwood) Forfeit
120 Double Forfeit
126 Kyle Corsi 9 (Independence) maj. dec. Michael Schmidt 9 (Beachwood) 13
132 Luke Swauger 11 (Independence) Forfeit
138 Matt Mroczynski 12 (Independence) dec. Melvin Kado 10 (Beachwood) 6
145 Drew Benos 12 (Independence) Forfeit
152 Alex Nelson 10 (Independence) Forfeit
160 Kevin Clymer 11 (Independence) pin Matthew Henry 11 (Beachwood) 1:19
170 Nick Mroczynski 10 (Independence) dec. Benjamin Osbourne 11 (Beachwood) 6
182 Josh Bialosky 11 (Beachwood) Forfeit
195 Double Forfeit
220 Double Forfeit
285 Josh Stasek 10 (Independence) Forfeit

Match 3
Independence 40, Cuyahoga Heights 30

106 Luke Hopkins 9 (Cuyahoga Heights) Forfeit
113 Michael Kucera 9 (Independence) pinned David Stankiewicz, 0:51
120 Brandon Meade 9 (Cuyahoga Heights) Forfeit
126 Kyle Corsi 9 (Independence) pinned Mason Johnson, 1:09
132 Luke Swauger 11 (Independence) Forfeit
138 Matt Mroczynski 12 (Independence) Forfeit
145 Drew Benos 12 (Independence) maj. dec. Jordan Kruchek 9 (Cuyahoga Heights) 15
152 Kevin Clymer 11 (Independence) dec. Jesse Woodall 11 (Cuyahoga Heights) 11
160 Nick Frye 11 (Cuyahoga Heights) Forfeit
170 Nick Mroczynski 10 (Independence) dec. Chad McDaniel 11 (Cuyahoga Heights) 7
182 Jake Mallos 11 (Cuyahoga Heights) Forfeit
195 (Independence) (Cuyahoga Heights) FF
220 Donald Jacubzak 9 (Cuyahoga Heights) Forfeit
285 Josh Stasek 10 (Independence) Forfeit

Steve Hare
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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