ELYRIA — While Wadsworth freshman Noah Baughman was the lone Medina County wrestler to lock up a spot on the Ohio team that will travel to the national tournament in July, most of the area’s competitors at the Greco Roman and freestyle state tournaments found success this weekend.
“I’m very excited at the thought of wrestling (in Fargo, N.D.),” said Baughman, who placed fourth in the Cadet 113-pound bracket. “I know there are a lot of tough kids there, and I think it would be a fun time.”
Four other Grizzlies earned state placements in the freestyle tournament Sunday, Buckeye’s Brandon Nagy finished fourth in the Cadet 132-pound bracket and Highland’s Nick Corvo finished third at 195 in the Cadet Greco Roman tournament Saturday.
“Clay Wenger is our freestyle head coach, and he did an excellent job with our young kids,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “He wrestles at Kent State and he’s a former Grizzly. It was exciting … except for the fire alarm (that halted competition for about half an hour). We’re real excited about our future here.”
Gramuglia’s not joking when he uses the word “kids” and talks about the program’s future.
Robbie Bosley is a junior, Shane Mast, who went 1-2 at 170 pounds, is a sophomore, Darrin Gilkerson is also a freshman and Cody Surratt and John Kelbly are eighth-graders.
“They’re young,” Gramuglia said. “Plus, we had a lot of kids go to the schoolboy (state tournament) last week, so we have quite a few good wrestlers coming. That’s what it takes … it cycles through.”
Corvo earned the county’s top finish before any of the Wadsworth wrestlers showed up for Saturday’s opening freestyle action.
The Hornets sophomore opened with a 6-0, 6-0 technical fall over Thomas Bowles, was pinned in 44 seconds by Jerek Cropper and finished with a 7-0, 6-0 technical fall over Jaret Bunch.
“I like launching kids, that’s why I do Greco,” said Corvo, who didn’t compete in the freestyle tournament. “I have a lot of upper-body strength, and I think the throws are fun.”
Corvo also took third at the Greco Roman state tournament last year and plays defensive end for the Highland football team.
“I’ll do a lot of lifting this summer — it helps me get stronger for both of my sports,” he said.
Not many wrestlers looked stronger out the gate than Baughman, who earned 14 out of a possible 15 points in his three Saturday matches.
Baughman picked up five easy ones when opening-round opponent Josh Portillo defaulted after being injured an hour earlier in his Greco Roman final. Baughman then pinned Kyle West before handing a technical fall to Parker Buschelman.
Baughman split matches Sunday — losing a technical fall to eventual champion Jose Rodriguez and pinning Surratt — to earn a spot in the third-place match, where he lost 8-2, 0-2, 3-2 to Troy Christian’s Michael Sergent.
“Noah got beaten on freestyle,” Gramuglia said. “He dominated the kid and just got crotch-lifted for some of his points at the end.
“I think everyone did well, but I think Noah kind of stood out.”
Baughman didn’t earn an automatic spot on the national team with his fourth-place finish, but Gramuglia petitioned for him to grab a spot after the tournament.
The Grizzlies coach believes a spotlight on the national tournament will provide an enthusiasm boost.
“That’s why we want to get Noah on there because that’ll start the snowball again,” Gramuglia said. “Other kids will want to do it next year.”
The other state placers for Medina County were: Gilkerson (fifth at Cadet 138 pounds), Surratt (sixth), Kelbly (fourth at Cadet 195), Bosley (fifth at Junior 160) and Nagy (fourth at Cadet 132), who wrestles with the Wadsworth offseason club.
Contact Shaun Bennett at (440) 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.