In what has been a sometimes rough season for Twinsburg wrestling, senior Tyrone McGuinea has been asked to carry the torch, as the Tigers lone returning state qualifier.
McGuinea will continue to carry the torch, as he earned his second straight trip to Columbus.
McGuinea finished third at 145 pounds Feb. 23 at the Division I district tournament at Mentor. The top four placers in each weight class advance to states.
Twinsburg finished 21st in the team race at Mentor with 30 points. Massillon Perry dominated the team race with 199.5 points.
McGuinea will be Twinsburg's lone state qualifier this season, keeping alive a streak of more than 25 straight years that coach Dave Mariola has had at least one of his pupils reach the big dance.
Mariola said McGuinea looked decent, if not great at Mentor.
"I thought he wrestled good; I don't think we wrestled great," Mariola said. "I think some of the matches were a bit too close, which is why he went to overtime. He didn't feel that good, but he didn't want to let anyone know to make it an excuse.
"Coming out of Mentor, I would say it was brutal up there," Mariola said. "It was a hard time up there and to get out was an accomplishment."
McGuinea started well, scoring a 16-8 major decision over Mentor's Alex Piercy and pulling out a 5-4 decision Maple Heights' Melvin Johnson.
In the semifinals, McGuinea faced a tough challenge in Massillon Jackson's Lucas Marcelli. The match went to overtime tied at two, but Marcelli scored the takedown in the sudden victory round to score a 4-2 win.
"It was as close as it could be, right until the time Tyrone got taken down in overtime," Mariola said. "Neither guy got a hold on the match."
McGuinea rebounded with a 7-4 win in the consolation semifinals, booking his ticket to Columbus at the expense of Uniontown Lake's Payton Morrison.
In the third-place match, McGuinea squeezed out another tight match, beating Bedford's Jairod James 5-4.
Elsewhere at Mentor, senior 138-pounder Jimmy Hiller just missed on chance to make states himself.
Hillier opened with a pin in 5:57 over Willoughby South's Conner Waite, but then lost a tight 3-1 decision to GlenOak's Nick Steed.
Hillier rebounded by pinning Kenston's Duncan Bauer in 2:16 and beating Lake's David Masch 4-1.
In the consolation semifinals, however, Hiller had to deal with Parma's Tyle Workman and lost 4-1, costing him the state berth.
Hiller then lost a 7-2 decision to Euclid's Darsheed Mustafa in the fifth place match.
"Jimmy just lost the match to go to state," Mariola said. "He wrestled a great weekend. He put all his effort forward. He just didn't get to go."
Twinsburg senior 160-pounder Alex Keller also hoped to make a run at states, but found himself in trouble early, as he lost a 15-0 technical fall to North Canton Hoover's Tyler Maloy.
Keller rebounded by pinning Valley Forge's Seth Howe in 57 seconds, but was eliminated via a 7-4 loss to Brush's T.J. Smith.
"160 was pretty tough," Mariola said. "We knew that going in. Alex just got into a little bit of a funk up there."
Senior 220-pounder Onome Ombien lost a tight opening match when he fell to Madison's Joe Bashore 2-1.
Ombien came back with a 5-3 win over Canton Timken's James Townsley, but was pinned in 2:58 and eliminated by Canton McKinley's Stephen Richburg.
"Onome wrestled pretty good weekend," Mariola said. "In the final match, he wrestled a kid that was quite a bit bigger than him."
Sophomore 106-pounder Luke Dimuzio went 0-2 at Mentor. He lost 9-4 to Willoughby South's Issac Hendershot and then was pinned in 31 seconds by Lake's Joey Oswald.
"Luke wrestled really great the last month," Mariola said. "I keep saying that Luke is undersized. I'm looking forward to seeing him as a full-sized 106 next year."
Mariola said the end of this rebuilding year should spell better days in the future for the Tigers.
"When you have four years like we had, where our lineup was so solid, you're going to lose individuals who can't start," Mariola said. "We only had four seniors. We just lost some kids that might have been there. Now we're not that efficient, I think we're going to get more kids out."
The Division I state tournament will begin Feb. 28 at 5:45 p.m. at Value City Arena in Columbus.