MEDINA — Call it making up for lost time.
After not participating in postseason action last season, Brunswick sophomore D.J. Skiba finds himself — like a host of Medina County wrestlers — in a semifinal match after first-day action Friday at the Medina Division I Sectional.
Skiba was one of 10 Blue Devils to lock up spots in today’s semifinals, with a berth to next week’s Cleveland State District on the line. Wadsworth also has 10 semifinalists, while Medina has a pair.
“It feels great,” the 106-pounder said. “We have a lot of hard work in front of us and we have to keep pushing because every match is different.”
Skiba spent last season as Brunswick’s 106 during the dual-meet season, but found himself on the outside looking in when All-Gazette selection Josh Heil moved down from 113 for the final month of the year.
Skiba’s patience came out in a big way Friday, as he shut out Strongsville’s Nick Vaccarellio in the quarterfinals to move within one victory of a district berth.
“I think that probably helped me the most — not getting to show last year and not even getting a shot,” said Skiba, who will face Copley’s Tanmay Shah for the second time this year in the semis. “I was wrestling behind the third-best kid in the state (in Heil), so it gave me a big push to do my best here and show that I should’ve been here last year and I’m going to make a statement.”
Skiba defeated Shah by one point at the Bill Dies Tournament last month. Top-seeded Noah Baughman of Wadsworth is on the other half of the bracket against fellow state-ranked competitor Jarod Bronstrup of Brecksville.
Brunswick lightweights Ethan Rivera (113), Heil (120), Brett Thomas (126), Nicky Kiussis (132) and Christian Camacho (138) each won opening-round matches by pin. Heil moved on in the gritty 120-pound bracket that features six individuals that all have decent shots at the four district bids.
Blue Devils coach Mike Koshar was most impressed with upperweights Ray Floyd (152), Branden Bryant (160), Mike Bekeny (182) and Dean Warchak (195).
Bekeny posted a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nordonia’s John Iannetta in second-round action.
“I thought there was going to be six to seven tough quarterfinal matches and we lost one of them, but the rest we wrestled really tough,” Koshar said. “The ones (at the lighter weights), we thought it was business as usual, but I expected (our upper weights) to win, too.”
Wadsworth was equally impressive, as it sits in second behind Brecksville. Freshman Brandon Randolph won an intracounty showdown, pinning Medina’s Brandon Gandolf in 3:57, while Darrin Gilkerson (126) and Jordan Schleigh (138) won by decision. Gilkerson was a 4-2 winner over Strongsville’s David Erdelac and Schleigh held on in the final seconds for a 2-1 victory over Jake Urich of Nordonia.
“I knew he wanted to win the match just as bad as me, and I just held out to the very end,” Schleigh said. “I just want to make it to state more than anything for my senior year, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.”
The other Grizzlies alive in the championship bracket made quick work of their opponents. Robbie Bosley (152), Shane Mast (160), Tim Knipl (170), Alex Carrell (182), Clayton Brandenberg (195) and Jeremy Randolph (285) all recorded wins of major decision or better.
A year after Medina failed to have a wrestler qualify for districts, Marc Antonelli and Zach Defraine are one win away. Antonelli’s move down to 132 paid off, as he picked up a tech fall win over Berea-Midpark’s Austin Hopperton, while Defraine pinned county rival Austin Fallon of Brunswick in 1:37 to advance at 145 despite tweaking his knee late in the bout.
“We can definitely take a couple of guys out, but there’s no guarantees,” Medina coach Chad Gilmore said. “We have to be able to battle and we have to be able to win those close ones. We just have to bring up our game a little bit more.”
Three Buckeye wrestlers advanced to the D-II semifinals by making quick work of their opponents.
Artie Clark won his only bout of the day over Fireland’s David Vaughn at 145 by 17-2 technical fall, while 170-pounder Alex Wilk pinned Dan Mize of Brookside in 2:39. Freshman Eric Bartos (106) picked up a pair of byes to find himself in the semis against Patriot Athletic Conference foe Allen Tin of Fairview.
“They wrestled good competition and did what they needed to do,” Bucks coach Tim Maxworthy said of Clark and Wilk. “It was about what we expected.”
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.
MEDINA — Results Friday from the first day of the Medina Division I/II Sectional at Medina High School.
Team standings: 1. Brecksville 104½, 2. Wadsworth 90½, 3. Brunswick 79, 4. Nordonia 59½, 5. Cuyahoga Falls 46, T-6. Copley, Strongsville 28, 8. Medina 27½, 9. Berea-Midpark 15, T-10. Highland, Firestone, Midview 0.
Semifinal pairings: 106 — Noah Baughman (W) vs. Jarod Bronstrup (Bre); Tanmay Shah (Cop) vs. D.J. Skiba (Bru). 113 — Ethan Rivera (Bru) vs. Brandon Randolph (W); Andrew Coghill (N) vs. Garrett Lambert (S). 120 — Austin Assad (Bre) vs. Mitch Hannan (CF); Jermy Rezabek (S) vs. Josh Heil (Bru). 126 — Justin DeMicca (Bre) vs. Darrin Gilkerson (W); Antwon Pugh (C) vs. Brett Thomas (Bru). 132 — Austin Hiles (Bre) vs. Marc Antonelli (M); Nicky Kiussis (Bru) vs. Nick Collica (N). 138 — Sonny Lucas (Bre) vs. Jordan Schleigh (W); Christian Camacho (Bru) vs. Cole Oldham (CF). 145 — Mike Decesare (N) vs. Zach Defraine (M); Sam Delashmitt (BM) vs. Grayson Davis (Bre). 152 — Heath Phillibert (N) vs. Luke Strnad (Bre); Ray Floyd (Bru) vs. Robbie Bosley (W). 160 — Austin Stmad (Bre) vs. Branden Bryant (Bru); Nick Disalvo (S) vs. Shane Mast (W). 170 — Tim Knipl (W) vs. Anthony Perrine (N); Bucky Hendershot (CF) vs. Troy Lang (Bre). 182 — Alex Carrell (W) vs. Jimmy Suhayda (Bre); Charles Roland (F) vs. Mike Bekeny (Bru). 195 — Josh Murphy (Bre) vs. Clayton Brandenburg (W) ; Dean Warchak (Bru) vs. Austyn Wilson (CF).
220 — Alex Woicehovich (N) vs. Eddie Sternad (Bre); Arman Samouk (Cop) vs. Rudy Ware (CF). 285 — Samson Demand (CF) vs. Jeremy Randolph (W); Jovahn Fair (F) vs. Chris Burke (Cop).
Team standings: 1. Lexington 84, 2. Bay 58, 3. Keystone 49, 4. Brookside 42, 5. Mansfield Madison 42, 6. Rocky River 37½, 7. Vermilion 28½, T-8. Clear Fork, Fairview 27, 10. Buckeye 24½, 11. Clearview 21, 12. Firelands 3.
Semifinal pairings: 106 — Eric Bartos (Buc) vs. Allen Tin (Fair); Brad Huhn (Bro) vs. Mike Baumberger (Mad). 113 — Aaron Kelly (RR) vs. Justin See (V); Jarrett Hulton (Cle) vs. Jonah Schropp (Lex). 120 —Trae Coopwood (Mad) vs. Jesse Todd (CF); Markus Cruz (Cle) vs. Dan Mahoney (RR). 126 — Brandon Leynaud (Lex) vs. LeConte Merrell (Mad); Brad Sprau (RR) vs. Vince Zitello (Bay). 132 — Zane Speelman (Mad) vs. Tommy Palisin (Fair); Brandon Bellman (Bro) vs. Connor Kloepfer (Bay). 138 — Drew Kinzel (CF) vs. Jake Taylor (Fair); Logan Stiner (K) vs. Jon Watkins (Lex). 145 — Chuck Mikelait (Lex) vs. Anthony Chambers (Bro); Artie Clark (Buc) vs. Chris Thompson (CF). 152 — A.J. Parr (Lex) vs. Sean Meaney (Bay); Mike Repko (V) vs. Zach Deems (RR). 160 — Derrick Foster (Cle) vs. Cullen Wolford (Bro); Jordan Dalton (Lex) vs. Dom Ruma (Bay). 170 — Jimi Smith (RR); Alex Wilk (Buc); Aaron Rice (V) vs. Gabe Benjamin (Lex). 182 — Jacob Worthington (K) vs. Darrin Cox (Mad); Cody Wright (Bay) vs. Drew Kasper (Lex). 195 — Bailey Faust (Lex) vs. Cole Kaucheck (Bay); Zach Freis (Bro) vs. Jeremy King (K). 220 — Matt Beniard (Bay) vs. Kendall Kuhn (Lex); Ivan Mendoza (Bro) vs. Corbin Chizmadia (K). 285 — Michael Holzworth (Mad) vs. Casey Huhn (Bro); Nate Temple (Lex) vs. Jason Bustance (K).