Tiger wrestling dominates Mayfield, performs well at Dies

by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor Published:

Akron -- After getting roughed up at the Mentor Duals Jan. 5, it might be easy for a young Twinsburg wrestling squad to get a bit discouraged.

However, the Tigers had two weeks to get the losses out of their system -- and they bounced back well over the weekend.

First, Twinsburg scored a dominant win over longtime rival Mayfield, beating the Wildcats 48-9 at Mayfield Jan. 17.

The match saw Twinsburg win 12 of 14 bouts. One of the losses was a forfeit at heavyweight.

"We've been struggling, but we've lost to some good teams," said Tigers coach Dave Mariola. "Against Mayfield, we won all of the close matches. It was good for our kids."

Twinsburg's dual meet record improved to 2-5, 1-4 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division.

Twinsburg took the momentum from the win into the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament Jan. 18 and 19 and narrowly missed a top 10 finish.

Twinsburg finished 13th at the Dies with 92.5 points, just 3.5 points behind ninth-place Beachwood. Brecksville dominated the field, winning with 255 points -- 109 points ahead of runner-up Barberton.

Given the strength of the field at the Dies, Mariola was happy with the outcome.

"We had the three place that we expected to," Mariola said. "When you look at tournament like this with the likes of Brecksville and Brunswick, at least a third of kids here are going to be state caliber or close to it."

Mariola said his team competed well, as all but one Tiger scored at least one victory.

The highlight of the weekend was the performance of senior Tyrone McGuinea.

McGuinea decided to move down to 145 pounds and, based on the tournament's outcome, the move looks like a sound decision.

McGuinea won the title at 145 pounds, earning his first podium finish at the Dies.

"I feel quicker at 145 than at I did at 152," McGuinea said. "I still feel strong though."

McGuinea scored major decision wins over his two opponents Jan 18, beating Kent Roosevelt's Raiden Foris 12-4 and Olmsted Falls' Brice Locklear 18-8.

On Jan. 19, McGuinea pinned Elyria's Alex Parker in 1:49, but then found himself in a dogfight with Archbishop Hoban state qualifier Michael Belknap. The match went to the tiebreaker round, but McGuinea pulled out a 4-3 win.

In the final, McGuinea faced an unfamiliar foe in Hebron Lakewood's John Gershom. The two wrestlers seemed mirror images of each other on their feet early on, but McGuinea got takedowns in the second and third period and claimed the title with a 5-2 win.

McGuinea noted he picked up his takedowns on the edge of the mat, which he prefers.

"I always shoot on the edge," McGuinea said. "A lot of times guys quit out there. I just assumed I was quicker than he was and kept the pressure on."

"He went to overtime in the semifinal; this match was a bit easier," Mariola said. "Tyrone seemed like he was relaxed this weekend. I think he wanted to be here. When he wants to, he's very tough to beat."

With McGuinea moving down to 145, senior 138-pounder Jimmy Hiller also shifted down to 138 pounds. He gave a very good account of himself by taking fourth place.

Hiller opened by pinning Mogadore's Ross Harmon in 2:31, beating Norton's Colin Hagenbush 10-0 and besting top-seeded Pat Dickinson of Woodridge 5-3 in overtime.

Hiller was just one point from making the final himself, but lost a 3-2 decision in the semifinal to Jefferson Area's Ricker Maple.

In the consolation semifinal, Hiller went to overtime again. This time, he beat LJ Yurick of Olmsted Falls 6-4. In the third-place match, however, Hiller ran out of gas against GlenOak's Nick Steed and lost 11-2.

Senior Alex Keller stayed put at 160 pounds and also took fourth place.

Keller started well with a pin in 1:39 over Canton South's Jake May and a 16-1 technical fall over Chippewa's Chuck Morlan.

However, against second-seeded Kurt Moore of Norwayne, Keller was pinned in 3:42.

Once in the consolation bracket, Keller turned into a pin machine, sticking Norton's Mike Nunez (4:05), Jefferson Area's Troy Stitt (4:33) and Revere's Zeck Lehman (2:42) to reach the third-place match.

In the third-place match, however, Keller was shut down by Brecksville's Danny Pushpak and lost 11-1.

Twinsburg 132-pounder Alex Netzband was one win away from the reaching the podium, but Netzband was pinned in 2:36 by Mogadore's Justin Chew.

Twinsburg was set to open the Division I team wrestling tournament Jan. 23 by taking on North Olmsted at North Royalton, but results were not available at press time.

Up next for the Tigers is the annual Cable 9 tri-meet, which will take place Jan. 26 at Aurora with first match at 11 a.m.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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