Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Three Huskies win championships at Berkshire

BURTON—Michael Lucarelli, Mason Lustig and Kyle Simms all won their respective weight classes and four other Cardinal wrestlers placed among the top four to lead the Huskies to a third place finish at the Berkshire Tournament on Saturday.

Madison finished first and Chagrin Falls finished second, just one point ahead of Cardinal.

“We didn't have numbers out there, which always hurts us in places but I think coming out with three champions and everybody placing except two kids is a good day for us,” said Cardinal coach Jeff Zeigler.

Lucarelli finished 5-0 with five pins to win the 120-pound title.

“Michael put together an outstanding day with five pins,” Zeigler said. “Me and (assistant coach) John (Mast) see it as coaches what Lucarelli is capable of. It's a lot of things, it's mental with him and a confidence thing and getting him to wrestle a full six minutes, he likes to coast, and he didn't today. He was aggressive the whole day, all day, every match and got five pins. It was a great day for him.”

Lustig also was 5-0 with three pins at 145.

“He's always in the thick of things,” Zeigler said of his captain. “He has placed in just about every tournament this year. He's stepping it up as a captain. He leads by example in here. He's not just yelling at these kids, like a coach he leads by example. The younger kids see that.”

Simms shined in his first action of the year after missing most of the season recovering from a knee injury he suffered during football season.

He went undefeated to win the 195-pound championship.

“It was nice finally getting him back,” Zeigler said. “He came back at the beginning of the season and tried wrestling a little bit but he wasn't ready mentally or physically. He was beat up from not being able to finish his football season, which is his sport, although I think wrestling is his sport if he'd dedicate himself. He came back last week in the room and really wanted to compete last week and I told him no. I wanted to see him get a week in the room to make sure he's 100-percent and he is. I rolled with him all week and pounded on him pretty good. He's right there. He's got some conditioning issues but we'll get him there the next couple weeks. He should be sitting pretty good at the end of the season for sectionals, districts and hopefully a state berth.”

Ryan Shanower (113) and Brandon Nevison (126) both finished second and Paul Byler (132) and Zane Drebus (138) were fourth.

“We placed everyone except Logan Lustig, who defaulted out, and Tim Baril and all of my guys, even the second-teamers, wrestled a good day,” Zeigler said. “We'll just keep plugging along. The team is coming together. The camaraderie is really good and the practice atmosphere is really good.”

Even Kayla Valentine, who wrestled her first varsity match of the year contributed to the Huskies’ top three finish.

Byler stepped into the varsity role vacated by Trent Mast, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

“He’s doing an outstanding job stepping in for Trent,” Zeigler said. “Those are some pretty big shoes to fill and not a real easy weight class either. He's only a second-year wrestler but he's doing an outstanding job. He won his wrestle off, which he lost last week, to get out there for the varsity spot for us.”

Cardinal travels back to Berkshire on Thursday for the 2017 87 Rumble.

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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