It’s never too early in wrestling to start preparing for the postseason.
Highland’s Adam Kluk and Thomas Gabyak put themselves to an early-season test over the weekend when they took part in the Ironman Tournament at Walsh, an event that draws not only the top grapplers in the state, but in the country.
Kluk placed fifth after a 5-2 weekend, with three pins. One of his losses came to Spencer Neff of Good Counsel (Md.), who made the honorable mention list in the hswrestling.net national rankings.
The 160-pound Gabyak failed to place, but did pick up three victories in the consolation bracket and brought home some valuable experience.
“Adam and Thomas have been preparing year round for this season,” Highland coach Paul Casey said. “Opponents at the Ironman also have that high level of year-round preparation and experience. Facing them helps to identify areas where improvements can be made. The energy, excitement and anticipation of matches there is great preparation for the big matches down the road.
“We hope that the difficulties and successes coming out of Ironman will propel and motivate them to compete at an even higher level.”
After opening the season with a fourth-place finish at the Hillsdale Invitational, the Pirates are in the midst of a two-week layoff prior to the annual J.B. Firestone Invitational, to be held next weekend at the Black River Educational Center.
• Senior Mike Hozan picked up his 100th career victory en route to winning the 126-pound title at Hillsdale. The All-Gazette selection, whose record currently stands at 102-29, took fourth overall at the D-III state meet last winter to become one of just three two-time state placers at the school.
Behind the leadership of crafty veterans Brett Thomas and Zack Taylor at 113 and 126, respectively, Brunswick could be a factor in the Northeast Ohio Conference River division race this season. Adding to the success at the top of the lineup is Josh Heil. The freshman, a junior high state runner-up, has lost just one match in his first two varsity tournaments.
• Returning state qualifier Tyler Hughes, a 170-pounder, is 13-0 with wins at the Ken Briggs Memorial and North Coast Classic.
Anthony Kisiday looks to have picked up where he left off a year ago. The 145-pounder, a district qualifier last season, has won nine of his first 10 matches, highlighted by capturing the Mike Lewis Invitational. The MLI crown was the third for the senior.
• A pair of sophomores are coming on for the Bucks in the early going as Kyle Fowler (132 pounds, 8-2) and Josh Camper (220, 7-3) are well on their way to building on solid freshman seasons.
Coach Neal Nutter has had six rookie wrestlers take to the mat for 46 total matches. The group has posted a combined mark of 29-17, which includes a pair of 9-1 grapplers in Greg Briggs at 113 and Anthony Kozma at 138.
• After being sidelined last season with an elbow injury, Marc Heidelman is making up for lost time. The junior has already won a pair of individual titles, taking top billing at the Madison Coke Classic and the Mike Lewis Invitational.
Nick Corvo, 182, battled his way back to finish fourth at the North Coast Classic. It was a big step for the sophomore, who got a handful of varsity matches under his belt as a freshman.
• The Hornets and county rival Wadsworth will take part in the North Canton Holiday Invitational this weekend at Hoover High School, starting Friday. The
30-team event features teams from across the state and a handful of squads from West Virginia and Michigan.
It was a big week for the Bees, who notched a thrilling four-point victory over Highland in the annual Battle of Route 18 and followed by taking the team title at the Jeremy Ammons Kilted Klassic for the second year in a row.
• Freshman lightweight Austin Provost went 7-0 over the two events, capped by winning his weight class at the Kilted Klassic. His pin of Highland’s Ethan Suran in 5:25 earlier in the week tied the match and helped Medina take home the victory.
Mathais Zollinger and Noah Baughman have made their opponents work this season. Zollinger, a senior state qualifier, has 62 takedowns and a team-high 10 reversals this season in winning all nine of his matches at 138 pounds. Baughman has been equally impressive in his freshman season, posting an 8-0 mark with 62 takedowns and nine escapes.
•The Grizzlies gained two wrestlers in the offseason when Ronnie and Corey Tisdal moved into the district from Ocala, Fla. The senior and junior, respectively, were born in Ohio but moved when they were young. Ronnie has appeared in three varsity matches at 160, winning two.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.