OHSAA debuts team tournament

It was a rather historic week around the state of Ohio as the opening rounds of the inagural OHSAA Regional Wrestling Team Tournament took place Wednesday night for all three divisions.

This year marks the first time that the state has held such a tournament. While the individual tournament has been a staple of the sport for year, the team tournament adds a second tournament for teams to prepare for.

While some may balk at the idea of having to prepare teams for two state tournaments, most coaches seem to be excited about the idea.

“This dynamic was a great decision for the state to make,” Lorain coach Jim Kudrin said. “All in all, I think it was a positive experience for us I think it was the right move to start the tournament, and we wrestled a really tough team in the first round.”

The Titans bowed out in the first round to the number three seed Elyria Pioneers 55-16. Still, Kudrin was thrilled with the experience his team gained from it.

“This was a wonderful place for us to begin, in this brand new gym,” he said about wrestling at Elyria High School. “We look forward to hosting it ourselves sometime. We wrestled a tough team, but that’s OK. That’s why we’re here, for the experience.”

Elyria’s Erik Burnett shared similar sentiments on taking part in the opening night of the first ever team tournament.

“It’s a new thing. It’s an old thing, and a new thing. You wrestle dual meets all the time, so you want to go in and try to win your dual meet,” he said. “Yeah, it’s neat to be part of history. Every team in Ohio that entered the tournament gets to say they were in the inagural event. That’s pretty cool.”

Even teams that aren’t necessarily built for dual meets entered the tournament because it offered them a chance to gain experience. One such team was Avon Lake.

“I like the Ohio state duals; I do,” Avon Lake coach Nick Mayer said. “This is where you see teams that are really tough teams, especially compared to what we faced in the regular season.”

One such match pitted Shoremen freshman Joey Bernosky against returning state qualifier T.J. Levitsky. While Bernosky lost by a 9-0 major decision, the experience was invaluable.

“For us to grow our program, we really need to wrestle higher caliber teams, like we did tonight,” Mayer said.

Several area teams advance

A number of local teams advanced to wrestle in the regional semifinals next Wednesday.

Elryia will face Parma at Brecksville High School at 6 p.m. At the same time, on another mat, Amherst will wrestle number one seed Brecksville.

Twenty minutes after those matches end, the two winners will face off with an berth to the regional finals on the line.

At St. Paul that same night, Huron and Western Reserve will wrestle to face the winner of the St. Paul and Margeretta dual. The matches also begin at 6 p.m.

Perkins will wrestle Oak Harbor at Clyde High School, while Bay will wrestle Buckeye at Buckeye High School.

Finally Clearview will wrestle Independence and Keystone will face Beechwood. Both matches begin at 6 p.m. at Beechwood High School.

@mj_smahoney

Last Updated: 1/24/2013 11:08:54 PM EST

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