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Twinsburg wrestling took a bit of a trip out of its comfort zone last week when it traveled to the Potter Classic Tri-State Tournament Dec. 17 at East Liverpool.
"The rest of the coaches thought we were ready when we went down there," said Twinsburg coach Dave Mariola. "Having four freshmen in the lineup, I wasn't quite sure what we would do. We were pleasantly surprised at the outcome."
Twinsburg not only finished in second place in East Liverpool, but ended up placing 13 of its 14 starting wrestlers on the podium in the pool-style tournament.
The Tigers finished second with 223.5 points. Alliance won the team title with 289 points.
"Alliance was definitely the best team there. They beat us in numerous weight classes," Mariola said. "There weren't that many great teams down there, but there were numerous individuals that were good on each team. We got to see some different styles from out of state, wrestling kids from Pennsylvania and West Virginia."
Twinsburg ended up with one wrestler in the title match at East Liverpool, as senior 126-pounder Nino Pausch ended up in second.
"He made weight down at 126 where he's supposed to be," Mariola said. "He performed well, up until the last match, for being down there for the first time this year."
Pausch won pool D at 126 pounds, beating Alliance's Gene Rogers 10-2 and pinning Nordonia's James Gilliam in 1:35. In the semifinal, Pausch overpowered Smithville's Maison Martell, pinning in him in 46 seconds.
In the final, however, Pausch had no answers for Caleb Rea of Weir (W. Va.). He lost 8-2 in the final.
Mariola singled out freshman 106-pounder Rick Diturno for having a solid day.
"I thought he wrestled a really good tournament," Mariola said. "He could have been in the finals."
Wrestling in pool B at 106, Diturno went 3-1. He pinned Berkshire's James Klingman in 3:30, stuck Crestview's Cameron Wolf in 17 seconds and beat Hopewell's Gianni Bertucci by forfeit before getting pinned by Tanner Staggs of Keyser (W. Va).
In the third-place match against Nordonia's Jake Hamad, Diturno needed just 55 seconds to score the pin.
Twinsburg also got third-place finishes from 113-pounder Mike Magyar, 120-pounder Brandon Callow, 132-pounder Colin Trouten, 170-pounder Jarod Eaton and 220-pounder Timmy Edwards.
At 138 pounds, freshman Jack Turle finished fifth, as did Bobby Delegram at 145 pounds, Joe Voltz at 152 pounds and Austin Cefaratti at 160 pounds. Sophomore 182-pounder John Delisio finished sixth, while junior heavyweight Devion Copeland took seventh.
"When you come in second, it hast to be a team aspect," Mariola said.
Twinsburg was originally scheduled to face Wadsworth and Stow-Munroe Falls at Wadsworth Dec. 15, but the match was postponed to Dec. 21 due to frigid weather.
When the match took place Dec. 21, the Tigers defeated Stow 42-30, but were dominated by the Grizzlies 65-6.
"Last year, it was really close with Stow. I actually thought we would do better this year and we did," Mariola said. "We won two matches against Wadsworth, which is better than we did last year.
"I think we're making Improvements," he added. "We're starting numerous underclassmen, which makes the coaching staff feel good about the future."
Twinsburg will participate in the 52nd annual Kenston Invitational Tournament Dec. 29 and 30. First match Dec. 29 is at noon.
"I would say it's going to be a could tournament for us," Mariola said. "It's going to be tough."