Tiger wrestlers finish in middle of field at Solon Comet Classic

By Michael Leonard | Sports Editor Published:

Solon -- The Solon Comet Classic usually isn't a tournament that allows young teams to have that much success.

Given how young the Twinsburg wrestling team is this season, its finish at Solon isn't too surprising.

Twinsburg finished 13th in the 25-team field at Solon with 91.5 points Dec. 1. Solon won the tournament with 182 points.

Tigers coach Dave Mariola was satisfied with his team's effort, if not the results.

"I was happy with the effort," Mariola said. "We definitely need to work with some of them. [Solon is] a good point to measure what you've got. This is kind of the tournament you use to see what kind of the team you've got."

As expected, Twinsburg's senior trio led the charge for Twinsburg, with state qualifier Tyrone McGuinea being the only Tiger to reach the finals.

Given the No. 2 seed at 152 pounds, McGuinea opened by pinning Walsh's Michael Parioanos in 5:54 and then squeezing out a 5-3 win over Orange's Justin Gildar.

In the semifinals, McGuinea faced NaCodie Barrows of Parkersburg, W. Va. It was a tight match, but McGuinea earned his spot in the finals with a 3-2 decision.

However, waiting in the final for McGuinea was his nemesis: Solon defending state champion Anthony Collica.

Collica put the exclamation point on his weekend by pinning McGuinea in 1:16. Collica was named outstanding wrestler of the tournament, as he scored five pins and spent only 7:12 on the mat.

"Collica is a great wrestler," Mariola said. "He's ranked pretty high in the country. Tyrone didn't perform as well as I would have expected."

Senior 145-pounder Jimmy Hiller showed he's ready for a big season, as he finished in third.

Hiller scored a 2-0 win over Nordonia's Jake Urich, followed by a decision win over Strongsville's Frank Tusick.

In the semifinals, Hiller dropped a tight 3-1 decision to top-seeded Josh Hillier of Crestwood.

However, Hiller rebounded quickly, pinning Solon's Billy Shaughnessy in 54 seconds.

Mariola said Hiller wrestled his best match of the weekend in the third-place match, as he pulled out a 4-1 over St. Ignatius' Dan Lynch.

"That was one thing that all the coaches expected," Mariola said of Hiller's performance. "We've seen him working out the last few weeks. He was our pick to be in the finals. The match he got beat in, he should have had a takedown at the edge of the mat. We're really happy with Jimmy."

Senior 160-pounder Alex Keller also reached the third-place match.

Keller opened by pinning Nordonia's Ryan Taylor in 1:24, followed by a tight 2-1 win over Chardon's Ian Taylor.

Keller then lost a 9-2 decision in the semifinal to Walsh Jesuit's Brad Ward, who eventually won the weight class.

Keller rebounded with a 3-2 win over Solon's Brian Hawkins, but in the third-place match, he lost a 9-6 match to Riverside's Jake Denman.

"Alex wrestled some good matches," Mariola said. "The last match, when you're leading, you should win. He's had to cut a lot of weight to make 160 this week, so we can't be upset at him."

Twinsburg also got a pair of eighth-place finishes from sophomore 138-pounder Eric Murdock and senior 182-pounder Jared Hulme.

Twinsburg will open its Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division schedule Dec. 6 when it hosts Strongsville. First match is set for 7 p.m.

E-mail:mleonard@recordpub.comPhone:330-541-9442

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