With the midpoint of the 2009-2010 wrestling season about a week away, Kenston’s new head coach already has led the Bombers to a 3-1 record in dual meets and a third-place finish in last week’s 45th annual Kenston Invitational Tournament.
Although this is Brian Malloy’s first season as head coach at Kenston, he is already a veteran of the local mats. Malloy was an assistant coach for the Bombers last season and previously was the head coach at Berkshire for three years. Berkshire finished fifth in the Division III state finals in 2004 under Malloy.
Kenston placed third in its own tournament, behind Mantua Crestwood with 192 points and Willoughby South with 183. The Bombers had 171.
In the two-day competition involving 28 teams, Kenston had one individual champion, one second-place finisher and three third-place finishers.
Senior Jake Kazimir was the winner in the 135-pound weight class. He went through his weight class with four victories and no defeats. Three of his wins came by pins and he won the championship bout with a major decision over Austin Sams, of Fairfield.
Kazimir is of 16-1 for the season and his career record stands at 99-26. Last March, he finished in eighth place in the Division II state championships in Columbus in the 125-pound class. He finished the season with a record of 26-7.
Kazimir said he and his teammates feel energized with the type of coaching style that Malloy brings to practices.
“Brian Malloy is great,” Kazmir said. “He’s just one of the greatest coaches. He just keeps on pushing us to do better.”
Kenston’s Pat Hanlon lost the 160-pound division championship when he was pinned by Adam Horowitz, of Crestwood. Hanlon won four straight matches in the preliminaries, including a 20-4 decision over Willoughby’s Joe Corsi.
The 16-point margin earned him a technical fall, which added more points to the Bombers’ overall score. Hanlon said that late in the match he was two points short of the margin needed for a technical fall, and he need one more takedown to gain the added points.
“There was only 10 seconds left on the clock. I had to get one more takedown for a technical fall,” Hanlon said. “I got the takedown with just one second left.”
Malloy said, “Pat Hanlon was the big surprise of the tournament for us. He wrestled the way he was coached.”
Ben Kazimir, who is Jake’s brother, Tre Smith and Brendan Gilday captured third-place finishes for Kenston.
In the 119-pound weight class, Ben Kazimir won third place with an 11-1 decision over Kasee McDougle, of Gahanna Lincoln. In the 125-pound division, Smith won third place with a pin over Zach Hall, of Willoughby South. In the 160-pound class, Gilday pinned Loveland’s Es Lawrence for third place.
In 2008, Kenston finished 13th in team standings. Malloy said he was happy with the team’s third-place finish, but said that both he and his team know they can keep improving as the season progresses.
“I knew it would be a tight race. I expected us to place no less than where we did,” he said. “The kids obviously know there’s room for improvement. Their attitude is positive. They see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
Prior to becoming Kenston’s assistant varsity coach last season, Malloy was the director of wrestling at Kenston Middle School. Brendan Gilday said some of the underclassmen on the team already were familiar with Malloys coaching tactics.
“Some of the younger guys on the team know him (Malloy) from before. He pushes us all the time,” Gilday said. “Every time we’re in the wrestling room, we just keep on drilling.”
Among other area wrestlers, West Geauga junior Mike November finished in second place in the 112-pound division after losing the title match by pin to Gahanna Lincoln’s Drew McDougle.
November was a state qualifier and finished 39-10 as a sophomore last season.
“I’m just working as hard as I can, so I can get down to state again,” November said. “For me and my wrestling partner, D.J. Leonetti (the 119-pound West Geauga wrestler), we both want to get down to state this year.”