Twinsburg wrestling's form at a Division I sectional meet at Austintown Fitch mirrored the season as a whole.
The Tigers are not the monster they've been the last few years, but even in a rebuilding year, they've had some bright spots.
Twinsburg finished fifth at the sectional meet with 136 points. Hudson won the team title at Austintown with a score of 198.5.
The tournament took place Feb. 15 and 16 at Fitch. The top four finishers in each weight class at Austintown advance to the district meet.
Twinsburg coach Dave Mariola said he was pleased with his team's effort, particularly in the finals Feb. 16. Twinsburg was able to leapfrog Boardman and Fitch into fifth place, thanks to a perfect record in placement matches.
"We were in seventh place before the finals Saturday night and we won all seven matches," Mariola said. "We were really happy with that outcome. Fifth place before that night was inconceivable, but they did it."
Twinsburg's seven placers included two individual champions.
Not surprisingly, senior 145-pounder Tyrone McGuinea was one of the them.
Given the top seed at 145, McGuinea got a bye and a default win in his first two matches, McGuinea had to squeeze out at 3-2 win over Kenston's Andrew DiSanto.
"He had one match that wasn't a great match," Mariola said. "I think he was a little flat in the semis. In the finals match, he looked great."
Indeed, McGuinea pinned Fitch's Zach Mackall in the final in 3:21 to claim the title.
Meanwhile at 138 pounds, senior Jimmy Hiller chose an opportune time to score the first tournament win of his career.
Hiller scored a technical fall in 4:01 over Cuyahoga Falls' Keegan Eastman, pinned Stow-Munroe Falls' Connor Crossier, defeated Boardman's Matt Ingram 11-2 and pinned Kenston's Duncan Bauer in 3:20 to claim the title.
Mariola said Hiller's title was a just reward for his career efforts.
"I think its a big deal," Mariola said. "Jimmy has been wrestling for four years. This has to be a fine statement for his hard work over the years."
Senior 160-pounder Alex Keller also had hoped to win a title, but he lost a 3-1 decision to Solon's Brian Hawkins in the semifinals.
Keller rebounded by beating Stow's Hunter Massey and beating Falls' Austyn Wilson 8-3 in the third-place match.
"I think that Alex needs to step it up this week if he wants a chance to go to Columbus," Mariola said.
Twinsburg's final senior qualifier was 220-pounder Onome Omobien. Omobien lost only once on the weekend, dropping a 9-4 decision in the semifinals to Boardman's John Humphreys.
Beyond that, Omobien pinned every opponent he faced, including a pin over Hudson's Matt Slater in the third-place match.
Mariola's advice to his 220 pounder is simple: Stop wrestling like a heavyweight and start wrestling like a 152 pounder.
"Onome is hot and cold," Mariola said. "When he's hot and he's moving his feet, he has a lot of speed. When he thinks kids are bigger than him … he starts doing a lot of heavyweight brawling. He can do a lot of good at districts if he's hot."
The only underclassman who reached districts was sophomore 106-pounder Luke Dimuzio. Dimuzio was pinned by Stow's Kyle Jenkins in the semifinals, but rebounded by pinning Chardon's Dillon Strauser and beating Kenston's Noah Gregorian 4-2 in the third-place match.
"We thought Luke had a good chance [to advance]," Mariola said. "Luke is a good little wrestler; I just think that he's a little undersized. We've got guys wrestling at 106 who weighed out Friday night at 115 pounds. Luke's still down at 105."
Two other underclassmen reached the podium, as freshman Alex Detweiler took fifth at 120 pounds. He pinned Chardon's Anthony Tiloco in the fifth-place match.
"Alex is a fine young freshman," Mariola said. "Being an alternate at districts is a good thing for him."
Meanwhile, sophomore 152-pounder Noah Edwards also took fifth place. He defeated Hudson's Sam Semenczuk 3-2 in the fifth-place match, avenging a 3-2 loss to Semenczuk in the first round.
Mariola noted Edwards has taken full advantage of the chance to wrestle at 152, after McGuinea chose to cut down to 145.
"He's had one heck of a last month of the year," Mariola said.
Up next is "The Mentor Meatgrinder." The Division I district tournament at Mentor will take place Feb. 22 and 23 with first match Feb. 22 set for 5 p.m. The top four finishers in each weight class at Mentor advance to the Division I state meet.