June 29, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Winning wrestling titles is a serious for Grizzlies’ Daryk Maki

Simply put, Daryk Maki doesn’t like to get pushed around. Don’t let the Wadsworth wrestler’s calm and carefree attitude away from the mat fool you, he’s not going to back down from any challenge he faces. That’s just not his style.

“I’m pretty calm for the most part,” Maki said, “but when I’m wrestling I just flip a switch.”

Normally a laid-back dude, Wadsworth heavyweight Daryk Maki knows when to get serious. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

That switch has sparked an impressive senior season for Maki in his first full varsity campaign at heavyweight.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder patiently waited his turn behind the likes of Nick Tavanello and Ben Buzzelli and wasted little time making a name for himself.

“It wasn’t that difficult being the backup (because) it made me better,” said Maki, also a standout two-way tackle for the football team. “Now the younger kids look up to me.”

It’s something that hasn’t surprised Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia in the least.

“We knew as a freshman that he was going to be a great heavyweight, but he was behind some great wrestlers and just had to wait his turn,” Gramuglia said. “He’s actually really agile for as big as he is, and that has helped him.

“He also is part daredevil, which makes me a little nervous sometime.”

Maki’s fearless approach has paid off, as he has 30 wins this season and is a favorite to not only advance out of this weekend’s Medina Division I Sectional, but win it.

And he’s done it by taking the fight to his opponent, not waiting to see how the other guy wants to wrestle.

“I think a lot of people underestimated me, but I would just go out and pin them,” he said. “They would know that the bear hug was coming and I still would pin them.

“If you come out all calm, you’re just going to get pushed around. You have to have that (aggressive) attitude.”

Maki’s style has included some calculated risks, something that was on display when he squared off with Green’s Mark Dahlman for the Suburban League title earlier this month.

A little over a month earlier, Maki found himself on his back after storming out to a 6-2 lead against Dahlman at the North Canton Holiday Invitational. He lost by pin after his opponent took control of him from the top position.

Despite that loss, Maki wasn’t afraid to select the down position heading into the third period of a scoreless bout with the SL championship on the line. The gamble paid off as he escaped to win 1-0.

“At the end of the second, Coach G was telling me to pick neutral, but I had to take down,” he said. “I wanted to prove he was not better than me.”

Now the 18-year-old is out to prove that he’s not only the best in the SL, but one of the top heavyweights in the state.

Call it a swagger, call it cockiness, call it what you will. Maki knows he’s ready for the next three weeks, but he is not looking past what he has to do this weekend at Medina.

“I’m not going to look over sectionals, because there are some pretty good wrestlers there,” he said. “I’m just going to do my best and hopefully come out on top and get a good seed for districts.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.