The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


February 23, 2014

Matmen will parade to Columbus

19 locals qualify for state meet


Division II

Perry heavyweight Billy Miller may not be nearing 50 victories on the season, but he is still unbeaten at 40-0. Miller claimed the championship at the Alliance district tourney.

Aaran Gessic plundered his own title for the Pirates staking claim to the 132-pound title.

Conneaut’s Isaiah Ngiraingas battled through a 3-2 victory and 6-5 victory in winning three straight to advance to Columbus. He was fourth at 120.

“He did well today,” Conneaut coach Matt Bidwell said. “He just wrestled the way he should be wrestling.”

“I just didn’t want to go down that early,” Ngiraingas said. “I wanted to make it a long day for everybody (who was there supporting me). I just wanted to keep going. I didn’t want to be out that quick.”

Joey Baitt qualified for the state championships after winning 3 straight Saturday to place 4th at 132.

“It was tough,” Baitt said. “I just got my mind set right. (Wrestling well against Gessic late in the year) helped my confidence. Everybody was trying to push me along. They were all telling me to keep my head up.”

Other Pirates to finish in the top 4 were Brady Toth (4th at 106), Collin Dees (2nd at 120), Alec Schenk (2nd at 182) and Kyle Kremiller (3rd at 195).

Division III

Glenn Zaller of Grand Valley showed he still has everything it takes to be a premier wrestler in finishing as the runnerup at 195 at the Garfield Heights district. He’ll be making his third trip straight to Columbus.

“We told him before the title match that whether he finishes first or second doesn’t matter,” Grand Valley coach Steve Paratto said. “We told him to go out and find out what he could do.”

Mitch Skleres will represent Pymatuning Valley at Value City Arena after placing fourth at 113.

“It was a matter of him winning and losing in the right spots,” PV coach David Miller said. “He grew up a lot today. He stepped up to the plate and matured a lot.”

Evan Francis, a Jefferson resident, was fourth at 132 for Kirtland.

GV freshman Cody Rhoades placed fifth at 126. He missed the state meet after getting called for a clasping violation.

“He took it hard,” Paratto said. “It was a tight match. There were a couple questionable calls. He took it really hard at first. He’s a great kid.”            

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

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