The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


January 24, 2013

Bringing ‘mat’ back

Third Ashtabula County Youth Duals slated for tonight at Conneaut

Wrestling in the area has slowly been fading in terms of participation at the high school level, not just in the area, but across the state.

Ashtabula County’s youth coaches are trying stop that fade dead in its tracks by building the sport’s popularity at the youth level.

In order to accomplish that goal, those coaches started the Ashtabula County Youth Wrestling Duals. The third installment of the competition will take place today at 6 p.m. at Garcia Gymnasium.

“We all take pride in our own teams,” Mike Sanford, one of many coaches with the Conneaut Cougars and event spokesperson, said. “The more mat time the kids get, the better they’ll be. Every one of the youth coaches in the county wants to get the level of wrestling back to where it was 15 years ago.”

Grapplers from kindergarten through sixth grade from the Conneaut Cougars, Little Lizards, Jefferson, Grand Valley, Pymatuning Valley and Geneva will take to the mats in 22 weight classes between 48 and 175 pounds.

Two mats will play home to the round-robin event. The team with the best record will be crowned champion. Two team trophies and a Most Valuable Wrestler award will be handed out.

Admission is $3 per adult and kids are free with a paid adult. American Legion members who show their ID cards will get in free, as well.

“We are supported greatly by the American Legion and that way we can say thank you,” Sanford said.

The young wrestlers are not new to the dual-meet format, but there will be a new wrinkle thrown at them.

“We all wrestle dual meets on Sundays at Madison in the Ohio Youth Wrestling League, Northcoast Division, but we don’t have a team championship,” Sanford said. “This kind of gives us a chance to fight for bragging rights.”  

Those battles could help to fortify rivalries at the high school level in the near future.

“There’s a lot competition between the youth coaches,” Sanford said. “That rolls over into the wrestlers. The thing we’re stress the most is that we want to promote the sport in Ashtabula County because it’s been slowly fading. We’re trying to promote the positive and give the wrestlers a chance to shine in their communities.”  

There are no age groups in the event. The best wrestlers on the teams in each weight will be the ones taking to the mats, regardless of the age difference to their opponents.

“They need mat time,” Sanford said. “Sunday is sectionals and mat time is the most important. I’m a firm believer that it never hurts to get beat. It makes them more hungry every time they get beat. There will be some brutal matches.

“That will show them right where they’re at for sectionals.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

Text Only
  • Kaydee Vaulting to The Rock

    When Jefferson’s Kaydee DeVivo first started pole vaulting as a freshman for the Falcons, she knew it was the event for her.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • run VanHoy racing on

    Geneva track star Hailey VanHoy had a near unbelievable run of success during her final months running for the Eagles.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danielle Zip-ing along

    Just minutes after Geneva’s Danielle Nicholson holed out on the 18th green at the Gray Course at Ohio State University during her freshman year to win the 2011 Division I state championship, the recruitment process of where she would go to college began.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video