October 30, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
44°F

County trio looking good at state tourney

By BRAD BOURNIVAL

Staff Writer

COLUMBUS — Watching Brunswick’s Richie Spicel and the Wadsworth tandem of Brad Squire and Ben Buzzelli compete in the 71st annual state wrestling tournament looks almost as natural as an umbrella on a sandy beach.

The three have been to Columbus before. All of them know what it takes to win and each has the mental makeup to make a run at a title.

None of them put themselves in jeopardy Thursday in the Division I portion at Value City Arena.

“It’s my talent, my skills and my want that got me here,” said Spicel, who will face Lakewood St. Edward’s Neil Birt in the quarterfinals today. “The thing that gets most kids is seeing the bright lights and all the fans. You’ve just got to keep your head down and focus on your next match.”

Spicel can join Parma Padua graduate and Hinckley Township resident Pat McLemore and Chagrin Kenston alumnus Ricky Deubel as the only wrestlers to win the state tournament as a freshman and then again as a senior.

But first the four-time state qualifier and two-time state finalist had to break through Gahanna Lincoln’s Andrew Evans.

“It’s all about who can hit their basics more precise,” Spicel said. “Those are the ones that will win. You saw (Austintown-Fitch’s) Tony Jameson almost lose. You have to keep your head on straight down here.”

Jameson, who won 23-20 over Bowling Green’s Rudy Henron, arguably was pinned three times. That served as a wakeup call for Spicel, who stuck Evans just 1:50 into the first period to win his 140-pound opener.

““Ever since I was a sophomore, we looked at the bracket and concentrated on that match,” Spicel said. “We didn’t look at who was next. There’s always another match that can be dangerous.”

Squire didn’t waste time either in a 13-2 major decision over Sylvania Southview’s Alex Latham. Scoring two takedowns in the first period and grabbing three back points in the second, the returning state champion jumped out to an early 7-1 advantage and coasted to the quarterfinals where he will face Hamilton’s Matt Scheve.

At no time did Squire appear in danger of losing as the sophomore stayed on a semifinal collision course with West Chester Lakota West’s Ryan Fields, who he beat 1-0 last year to win the state title.

Buzzelli, who went two and out a year ago, made sure he stayed on the top half of the bracket this time.

Having got pinned twice last year and not seeing action on Friday, Buzzelli stayed true to his nerves with a decking of North Ridgeville’s Greg Byrd.

The 285-pound giant took a scoreless match after the first period and turned it into a 3-1 advantage in the second before putting Bryd to his back with just eight seconds remaining before the third period was set to begin.

Buzzelli will face projected third-place finisher Matt Prichard of Clayton Northmont in the quarterfinals.

Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia refused the media access to his wrestlers.

The quarters will start at 11:25 this morning with the semifinals to follow at 6:30 p.m.

Bournival may be reached at bournival929@sbcglobal.net or 330-721-4045.