The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


March 5, 2013

Celebration on the mat

Wrestlers take one final bow in spotlight at Star Beacon Mike Scully Senior Classic

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The 15th annual Star Beacon-Mike Scully Senior Classic was a way for the area’s wrestlers to let off a bit of steam after all the hard work and preparation they’d put in for the last six months.

It was also a chance to show off just a bit Monday night at Lakeside Gymnasium.

It isn’t often a wrestling fan will see matches where both grapplers are scoring in double digits, but that was the norm in this event for this season’s special seniors.

Dakota Brininger of Geneva and Ricker Maple of Jefferson got things rolling after Nathan Jernigan of Andover got everybody going with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.

In a series of gymnastic tumbles over the course of six minutes, Maple managed to come out on top in a 19-16 match that showcased each wrestler’s athletic ability.

Throws and twisting moves always seemed to have their endings with the wrestlers on their feet or in position for their next moves.

Jefferson teammates Rocky Tripodi and Blake Perry followed that with the battle of Falcons.

Tripodi, in his dashing black fishnet stockings, and Perry, in a beautiful shade of black and yellow striped leggings, went back and forth in a superb routine, almost by accident, Tripodi got Blake into a less-than-serious predicament with an elbow drop to record a very loose “pin” in 5:46.

Cody Ellis of Pymatuning Valley and Otis Conel of Lakeside were next on the list, and while not going at each other with much serious intent, they did show some very good wrestling holds before Conel came out on top, 10-9.

In an evening when volunteeer official Roger Sherman may have put himself into a position to file a workmen’s comp claim for shoulder problems after signalling one point for escape so often, Conel did score exactly that to win his match just as the six minutes were up.

For Conel, it was a good time to recover after joining friends and family over the weekend in Columbus as his younger brother, Kyle, came up a match short of a state title.

“It was really cool to see my younger brother, Kyle, wrestling at state,” Conel said. “It is something special to remember for a long time. I had a good season and career, too. I’ve looked at some offers to wrestle in college, but I haven’t made up my mind yet on what I want to do.”

Then came what may have proven to be the most unique battle of the night. Conneaut teammates Alesha Zappitella, who toiled at 106 pounds all season, and Billy Post, who was at the other of the spectrum at 220.

Zappitella, who had a stellar career featuring 142 wins and four district tournament appearances, felt justifyably proud of her efforts while keeping a positive spin on her matchup with Post, a state placer.

“I have had a pretty good career wrestling, I’d say above average,” Zappitella said. “Billy and I are really good friends. They call us the ‘bookends’ because we are at opposite ends of the lineup, but we really care about each other as teammates and friends.”

“We look out for each other,” he said. “I was glad to have wrestled a kid who finished second in the state. It’s an honor to get that far in such intense competition. Tonight, it was just fun to show some moves with Alesha and have a good time.

“The reason for a night like this is to relax, especially after a tough weekend in Columbus, have some fun, and enjoy ourselves.”

The evening closed out with Maple beating Austin Sherman of Conneaut, in a 12-9 decision that featured some slick athletic moves, some almost purposely in slow motion.

The sport itself is a great way to prepare for other sports as well.

“This year went by a lot faster than others,” Ellis said. “I broke an ankle in football, but was fortunate enough to heal in time to wrestle. I fell short of some of my goals, but it was really a lot of fun with my team and for my teammates and family.”

His coach, David Miller, agreed.

“I can still remember Cody from his first varsity practices,” Miller said. “I remember when he moved here from Alabama. I remember the Alabama twang he had. He just worked so hard. I’m really going to miss him. He was a big part of making our program so solid while providing a foundation for the younger kids.”

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.

Text Only
  • Sam Going strong!

    Back on track... and still alive and kicking, er, hitting!

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 18U Outlaws split first two

    A stirring rally in their last at-bat allowed the Ohio Outlaws 18-and-under squad to prevail in its first game at the Eastern National Tournament on Thursday in Sterling, Va.

    August 1, 2014

  • UMC rolls to church title

    The Andover United Methodist Church co-ed softball team capped a successful season by applying the basics. Timely hitting and solid defense both came into play as they polished off the losers’ bracket winner, New Life Fire of Geneva, 10-4, to claim the Ashtabula Church Co-ed Softball League — Thursday Massucci Division championship.

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians Mariners sink Tribe

    Another difficult day on the trade front ended with a disappointing loss for the Cleveland Indians.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 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