The team championship at Lake Catholic will probably be a two-horse race between Perry and the host Cougars. The Pirates have a leg up in that competition, at least as it pertains to the sectional championship.
The real drama might in be the jockeying for third place. A dark horse there may be Jefferson.
As far as individuals are concerned, this could shape up to be a good weekend in Mentor.
The Pirates, who have had 26 state placers, seven state runners up, but no state champions, should be contending for sectional championships up and down the lineup.
Heavyweight Billy Miller is not only a favorite to win a sectional title, but also the school’s first state championship. Also advancing to the district tournament at Alliance could be Collin Dees (113), Aaran Gessic (132), Alec Schenk (160), Ryan Sill (170) and Evan Nichols (195). Brady Toth (106), Cory Gramberg (126) and Josh Romano (132) may also stand a shot to advance to the district at Alliance.
The Falcons are an intriguing bunch. They lack the sheer volume of wrestlers to contend for the team championship, but they have enough good wrestlers to raise some eyebrows.
Joey Baitt (126) and Ricker Maple (138) should be high on the medal stand, despite wrestling in extremely difficult weight classes. Rocky Tripodi (170) and Blake Perry (182) have been solid all season and should extend their seasons at another week. Troy Stitt (160) is a good candidate to join them.
The two who have the best chances to advance for Conneaut bookend the lineup. Alesha Zappitella (106) is fighting to become just the second girl to wrestle at the state tournament and Billy Post (220) has been stellar all season. R.J. Nelson (160), C.J. Rice (170) and Austin Sherman (152) all have reasonably good opportunities to advance.
Dakota Brininger (132), Tyler Cross (145) and Matt Kozlowski (220) have chances to move on for Geneva.
Tanner Perry (106) and Kiel Dickey (113) represent Edgewood’s best chance to keep wrestling another week.
The Mustangs and Lakers might wind up battling each other for the sectional crown, or one of the rivals may end up helping the other to win the title. Either way, both will be contenders.
Glenn Zaller (182) and Sean Szitas (152) have long-range goals of returning to Columbus for Grand Valley and should be in the top four. Travis Pelles (138), Heath Martin (120) and Jason Takacs (heavyweight) will all be in the hunt to do the same.
Zach Campbell (132) is fighting to reach the state tourney for a third straight year and would be a virtual lock to advance to the district at Garfield Heights, except he’s been battling an injury all season and has been in and out of the lineup. Even so, Campbell should advance. With a chance to join him are Kris Leonard (126), Cody Miller (138) and Kegen Hoopes (106).
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.