The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


April 20, 2013

Conel continues to roll

Lakeside grappler finishes 4th at nationals

Lakeside junior Kyle Conel doesn’t make a habit of looking forward when it comes to his wrestling. He also doesn’t make a habit of adjusting his style to that of his competition.

And that seems to work out just fine.

Conel, the son of Luetta Miller and Otis Conel III, battled his way to a fourth-place finish at Flonationals at Kovalchick Athletic and Convention Complex at Indiana University of Pennsylvania the weekend of April 5-7.

“I always want to go in and win it,” Conel said. “I just wrestled how I always do. I took it one match at a time and didn’t worry about who I was facing next.

“I didn’t know any of (my competitors). They were all from different states. I didn’t watch much of the competition until I had to face them.”

With that finish, Conel was the highest-placing competitor from Ohio.

“That made me feel great,” Conel said. “I know there were some great guys like Evan Rosborough (of Riverside) and Billy Miller (of Perry) down there.”

Both Rosborough (220 pounds) and Miller (heavyweight) finished sixth.

Ever confident in his ability to rise to the occasion, Conel wasn’t shocked at finishing as well as he had.

“I wasn’t very surprised,” he said. “I knew if I wrestled my best, I’d get a place. I just didn’t know which one that was going to be.”

Conel beat Josiah Thomas of Michigan, 7-2, in his opener, pinned Andrew Phelps of Pennsylvania, and beat Nezar Haddad of Pennsylvania, 7-2, to reach the championship semifinals.

There, Conel suffered a setback, falling, 3-1, to Jeramy Sweany of California, who went on to finish second. He rebounded to beat L.J. Barlow of Pennsylvania to reach the consolation finals where he was pinned by Tim McDonald of Idaho.

“I was able to get a few points on my feet,” Conel said. “I think I pinned a couple of guys, one of them was in overtime. They didn’t give us much time between matches. I used that against one of them and put him on his back at the end of the match when he was tired.”

It helped Conel that he had been working hard since the state wrestling tournament in March.

“I’ve been going to Titan Wrestling Club in Aurora and Jerry (Brady, the Lakeside coach) has a shop where he has open mats for wrestlers,” Conel said.

Despite a 46-1 record and a runner-up finish at the Division I state tournament, Conel felt he had something to prove.

“I wanted to make my mark,” Conel said. “A lot of people doubted me. That pushes me to get better all the time.

“Just because I lost in the (state) final didn’t mean I was going to lose at nationals. I wanted to show how tough Ohio was as a wrestling state.”

Conel will have another chance to prove himself with the Disney Duals June 28-July 2.

There may not be a whole of proving left to do. Conel has already received a scholarship offer from Kent State, which had never before offered a junior a full-ride. He’s also caught the attention of other Division I programs, including the University of Virginia.

“That feels really good,” Conel said. “It takes a little bit of the pressure off. It doesn’t take it all away, but I know some colleges are looking at me for a scholarship in wrestling at a Division I program.

“I got a hand-written note from the Virginia coach. That’s something that means a lot to me. I know I’m doing something right and that I have the right people helping me.”

Conel is keeping his options open and will not accept the offer from Kent State, at least not this early in the process.

“That’s all just getting started for me,” Conel said. “That’s more than I could hope for. Maybe that was just the start of many (offers). It’s early. Maybe there are other offers out there waiting for me.

“I’m looking for something close to home, not necessarily what they’re offering. I’m looking at how good the wrestling programs are. That’s the most important thing. If I like the program, if I like the coaches and if I like the wrestlers, I’ll go there.”

Of course, there are other considerations Conel is looking at, as well.

“Education is very important to me,” he said. “After college wrestling, there isn’t much out there (in the sport). I’ll have to fall back on my education, so that’s the most important part.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

Text Only
  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    Grand Valley at Maplewood (4:30)
    St. John at Lawrence (4:30)
    Mathews at PV (4:30)
    Fairport at Perry (7:30)
    West Geauga at Madison (4:30)
    Harvey at Riverside (4:30)
    Jefferson at Harding (5)

    April 16, 2014

  • Olivia In transition

    Pymatuning Valley graduate Olivia Holt had a distinct reason she chose to play basketball for Mount Union.
    “They do have tradition,” Holt, the daughter of Gus and Michelle Holt, said. “I’m from PV. We had a tradition of winning and working hard there. I wanted to go somewhere that tradition mattered. I knew I was going to get better by coming here.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Spring has sprung one big leak

    Paying a Wednesday morning visit to the variety store...

    Think spring?
    If this, um, err, uh... spring... feels a bit unusual for high school baseball and softball teams in Northeast Ohio, it is, to a point.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Week in Review January 10 and 11
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video