Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
February 10, 2010
With the help of two champions, Kenston claimed the Chagrin Valley Conference wrestling crown as the Bombers tallied 256.5 points last weekend at Perry. Aurora was runner-up with 231 points.
Bomber champions were Tre Smith and Jake Kazimir. Smith won the title in the 125-pound weight divisions and Kazimir won in the 135-pound category.
Kenston gave an early indication of the strong finish it was going to make as the Bombers ended the first day of the tournament with 10 of its wrestlers qualifying for the semifinal round.
Smith, who entered the tournament with a record of 29-1, won his title when he pinned Tony Tartulli, of Orange, at the 1:32 mark of the first period.
Kazimir won his crown when he pinned Isaac Simmons, of Painesville Harvey, at the 1:07 mark of the first period.
Also for the Bombers, Ben Kazimir finished second in the 119-pound division when he was pinned by Ty Mitch, of Aurora, in the title match. Mitch is a four-time CVC titlist.
Kenston had another second-place finish when Jack Carson lost his title match to Danny Rose, of Beachwood, in the 215-pound class, 9-6.
Kenston also had five wrestlers finish third. They were Wesley Newell at 103 pounds, Andrew Sawayda at 112, Patrick Hanlon at 140, Jeremy Etling at 145 and Mike Russell at 189.
The Bombers’ Dennis DiSanto finished fourth in the 130-pound weight class and Louis Mantush was fourth in the heavyweight division.
Brendon Gilday at 152 and Weston Kondik at 171 were fifth for Kenston. In the 160-pound division, Mike Bruan was sixth for the Bombers.
This is the first time since 2007 that Kenston has won the CVC wrestling title. In last year’s CVC match, the Bombers finished third behind Aurora and Perry.
Kenston head coach Brian Malloy said that during the last few weeks at practice, he has noticed an added intensity in the manner that the team goes about its drills.
“The guys have really been working hard lately,” Malloy said. “They have a goal, and they’ve been working toward that goal.”
Kenston’s Smith said the season has been progressing so well that he upgraded his goals just a few weeks ago.
“At the beginning of the season I would have said that I want to do well at state,” Smith said. “But now that the season has been going so well, I thought I want to change my goal. Now I want to finish top three at state.
“This year, I haven’t been going for the big move right away. I stay on my feet more and figure out what my opponent is going to do.”
Jake Kazimir is a two-time CVC winner. Last year, he won the title in the 125-pound weight division.
“This year, I’m pleased with my aggressiveness. I’ve been giving it everything I got,” Kazimir said. “My moves are still working about the same. I’m just trying to do what my coaches tell me to do.”
Among other local schools in the tournament, West Geauga finished in fourth place with 119 points, behind Cuyahoga Heights which had 203.
West Geauga had two wrestlers finish in third place and three place fourth.
In the 119-pound class, West Geauga’s Dennis Leonetti finished third. He won his final consolation match by pinning Wickliffe’s Alex Alusheff at 1:17 of the first period.
In the 130-pound class, the Wolverines’ Scott Willis won his third-place match with a 7-6 decision over Kenston’s Dennis DiSanto.
Fourth place finishers for West Geauga were Jim Carlo at 125 pounds, Ben Ditto at 145 and Andy Bryan at 171.
West Geauga head coach Joe Marino said he is happy with the progress many of his wrestlers have made in the past few weeks, but this progress will come in most handy when postseason competition begins.
“We’re a little different at West Geauga, compared to most other schools around here,” Marino said. “We don’t put a lot of emphasis on the conference championships, as opposed to performing in the sectionals and the districts and the state.”
Orange, Hawken and Chagrin Falls finished 12th, 13th and 14th in the 17-team tournament.
For Orange, the top finisher was Tony Tartulli, who had a second-place finish at 125 pounds.
Orange’s Daniel Gatalyak finished fourth in the 140-pound division. He lost his final consolation match in a 15-5 decision to Kenston’s Pat Hanlon.
For Hawken, Eric Meisel at 135 pounds advanced to the semifinal round but he did not place among the top six.
Chagrin Falls had three sixth-place finishes, Tommy Kuenzig at 171 pounds, Hunter Phillips at 189 and heavyweight Thomas Texas.