The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


December 2, 2013

Wrestling, 2013-14: Matters of the mat

Youth will be served during season

There’s always something exciting about the start of a new wrestling season.

It’s fun to try and anticipate which young men who fell just short of their goals will take that step from being really good to being great.

There’s some intrigue to how each coach will manipulate his lineup for key dual matches or big tournaments.

More than anything, it’s enjoyable to watch the younger wrestlers mature over the course of a winter.

The 2013-14 season will be quite eventful for the fans who most enjoy the latter as there is a considerable youth movement taking place across the area.

Among those looking to take that last step toward greatness are a pair of 195-pound monsters in Kyle Conel of Lakeside and Glenn Zaller of Grand Valley. Conel was second at the Division I state tournament a year ago and Zaller has twice been to the Division III state tournament and is seeking a spot at or near the top of the podium in Columbus.

Here’s a team-by-team look at the new season:



Coach Matt Bidwell has an interesting situation developing in his team’s dynamic. The Spartans return five lettermen and a trio of district qualifiers in seniors C.J. Rice (152 pounds), R.J. Nelson (182), Matt Barrickman (heavyweight) and Joe Rozalski (heavyweight) and sophomore Isaiah Ngiraingas (120). Rice, Nelson and Ngiraingas all qualified for the district tournament a season ago.

The Spartans also welcome seven freshmen to the fold.

“We are a very young team this year so we need our upperclassmen to step up as leaders and help push the younger guys,” Bidwell said. “Individually, we have some very solid wrestlers spread throughout the lineup with Isaiah at 120, Rice at 152 and R.J. at 182. I am expecting our other veterans, Rozalski and Barrickman, to be successful at our upper weights.”

Senior Nathan Vichosky (138) and juniors Scott North (182) and Cory Maldonado (160) will step into roles with the varsity this year. Freshmen James Jenkins (132), Clay Fertig (138), Nathan Zahler (106), Matt Conley (106), Vinny Nolan, Justin Mason and Emma Curry (126) will look to make an impact on the lineup.

“In order to have success as a team, I expect strong performances from our freshmen, Mason, Nolan and Fertig, and our less experienced guys to be aggressive and not get pinned.”

For the first time in years, the Spartans will compete as part of a league, as they join the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League.

“This is our first year in the EOWL, so we are only participating in the tournament at the end of the year, but there are a lot of good teams in the league and I am excited to get into such a competitive league and tournament later in the season. It really gives our kids something to work for and to look forward to.”

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  • Complete performance

    It has taken a while for the Grand Valley Mustangs to put it all together on the softball diamond this season. Wednesday afternoon, the Mustangs did just that, combining a superb pitching effort by Katie Paskey with a tight defense and opportune offense to smother the Maplewood Rockets, 8-1, in Northeastern Athletic Conference action.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pirates sail past Eagles

    The seniors on the Perry softball team wanted to talk with coach Frank Rico. They had some ideas for how their coach could help the Pirates. Rico was receptive of the players’ thoughts. It didn’t hurt that the Pirates were right on the mark in their assessments.

    April 24, 2014

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Years of wonder, indeed...

    The recent effort that appeared in this space last week about things yours truly did while growing up that prompted several replies, which were also published as a followup, brought one more into my inbox the other day.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thompson breaks own vaulting mark

    Geneva pole vaulter Ally Thompson is competing mostly with herself in the early going. She claimed a major victory in that category in toppling her own Ashtabula County record in the Eagles’ victories over Lakeside and Harvey at Spire on Wednesday.

    April 24, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    Grand Valley 8, Maplewood 1
    at Grand Valley

    April 24, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Ledgemont at Grand Valley (4:30)
    Campbell at Edgewood (5)
    Lordstown at PV (4:30)
    Riverside at Perry (7:30)
    Champion at Jefferson (5)

    April 24, 2014

  • Tribe bests Royals

    The top of the Cleveland lineup has been starting to hit. If that continues, it will bode very well for the team.

    April 24, 2014

  • BB1 Walk on the wild side

    Going into the bottom of the third inning Tuesday, things were looking pretty good for the Madison Blue Streaks at Edgewood.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Peck A Rich Kelly column: Rick Peck... his legacy born at CLA

    We all leave a legacy of our persona as we pass from this world to whatever the future holds for us.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • BB2 Scholastic Statistics:

    Edgewood 14, Madison 3
    at Higgins Field, Edgewood

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

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