By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
Geneva wrestling coach Tony Barszczewski and Jefferson coach Tom Avsec waged a bit of a neighborly war Tuesday night at Falcon Gymnasium.
The Falcons hosted the Eagles and Howland in tri-match. Barszczewski got the better of Avsec as Geneva downed the Falcons, 41-34. Howland beat both the Eagles, 44-33, and the Falcons, 54-21.
“I thought the kids did a good job in both matches,” Barszczewski said. “Coach Tom and I are neighbors. We’re both going through the same thing as far as numbers. It was fun coming here.”
After a pair of forfeits to the Falcons’ Rocky Tripodi (170 pounds) and Blake Perry (182), had Geneva behind, 28-18, the Eagles then rattled off wins in four of the next five bouts to secure the team victory.
Jason Huelskamp got the Eagles rolling with a pin at 195 and James Hawk followed with a technical fall at 220. After Jefferson heavyweight Caleb Harris earned a pin, Will Distler (106) scored a pin and Carter Williams (113) accepted a forfeit.
“Coming into tonight, I almost thought (Jefferson) had the upper hand,” Barszczewski said. “Watching them wrestle Howland, it panned out that we did have a chance.”
Zack Elliott got the match started for Geneva in the same manner it ended, accepting a forfeit at 120 then the Falcons’ Joey Baitt netted a technical fall at 126. Dakota Brininger (132) and Tyler Cross (145) each had pins for the Eagles, as did Ricker Maple for Jefferson at 138.
Geneva’s Geoff Chapman beat Zach Collins, 15-8, at 152, before the Falcons’ Troy Stitt worked for a technical fall at 160 to put Jefferson in front, 28-18.
“The guys we expected to win tonight, won,” Avsec said. “The guys we thought were in matches that could go either way, didn’t win. Giving up as many points as we give up, we’re not a good dual-meet team. I felt like our best guys were the best guys out there.
“That’s just the way things have been going this year. We give up a lot of points in the light weights, but our middle weights are pretty good.”
The Tigers dropped the Falcons to open the night.
Robert Stark (145), David Whistler (152) and Jordan Rattich (160) pinned their opponents to take an 18-15 Tigers’ advantage to 36-15.
Tripodi scored a 5-1 win over Cody Davis and Perry escaped with a minute to go in the third period for a 1-0 victory over Josh Gredesky before Andrew sealed the Howland win with a pin at 195. Jack Finch (220) and Mike Bell (285) also netted pins for the Tigers to close the match.
“We won a couple dual meets we split (matches) 7-7,” Howland coach Bill Beasom said. “We had more pins, more bonus points. We stress that when we put somebody on their back to not let them off.
“Especially the veteran kids know they have to put people away.”
Baitt (9-5 decision), Jerry Scott (pin at 132 pounds) and Maple (pin) also won for the Falcons.
Rattich netted a pin at 160 to get the Tigers within two, 26-24, of the Eagles before a pair of forfeits put Howland in front.
Jason Huelskamp scored 12-10 win and James Hawk secured a pin for Geneva as the Eagles got within five, 38-33.
Bell scored a pin at heavyweight to give Howland the victory.
“That was a big save (from Bell),” Beasom said. “Geneva caught us off guard a little bit in the lower middle weights. There were some tight matches, there were scrambles, we ended up on our backs and they capitalized.”
“We have young first-year wrestlers (at those places),” Barszczewski said. “Our heavyweight is a junior, but he’s a first-year wrestler. He’s rough around the edges, but he’s coming along.”
Distler, Zack Elliott (120), Brininger, Anthony Barszczewski (138) all had pins for the Eagles.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.