Lorain Titans' Eli Garcia, Clearview Clippers' Matt Hollingsworth named Lorain County Wrestlers of the Year

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Clearview’s Matt Hollingsworth, front, takes down Keystone’s Logan Stiner in the 132-pound match at the Lorain County Wrestling All-Star Meet. Hollingsworth won the match and was also named the Division II/III Wrestler of the Year.

The road for Lorain’s Eli Garcia has been tough at times. He got through it all and capped his career in fantastic fashion.

Garcia was named the Division I Wrestler of the Year at the 33rd Annual Lorain County Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association All Star meet at Elyria Catholic. Clearview’s Matt Hollingsworth was named the Division II/III Wrestler of the Year.

Garcia is the first Lorain wrestler to win the honor. Southview had four wrestlers of the year before merging with Admiral King. Hollingsworth is the first Clearview wrestler to win the award since Jacob Bill won it in 2004.

“This feels good,” Garcia said. “I really didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t thinking about the award because I was more worried about the tournament. But winning this (award) is one of the best ways to finish my career.”

After qualifying for the state tournament as a sophomore with Elyria, Garcia transferred to Lorain and finished fifth in the district tournament to just miss state. He was undefeated early in the regular season until he was upset at the Lorain Holiday Classic.

“The loss made me realize anyone can be beat,” Garcia said. “You can’t take anything for granted.”

With a renewed focus and energy, Garcia rolled through the rest of the regular season. He lost to St. Edward’s Colin Heffernan 4-3 in district finals. He won his first round match at state, but fell to Nick Montgomery of Madison. He won his first two wrestle-back matches before losing in the consolation semifinals to Heffernan. He bounced back to capture fifth place and finish with a 33-5 record.

“I didn’t finish as high as I wanted to,” Garcia said. “But I only got there (state) twice, so I can’t be too upset.

Having the honor of being the first Titans wrestler to win the award, Kudrin was happy to see it was Garcia given what he went through to get there.

“Eli has had a lot of adversity,” Lorain Coach Jim Kudrin said. “He made a commitment in lifestyle for wrestling. I am really glad for the decisions he has made.”

Garcia has plans of wrestling in college; one school is he looking at is Notre Dame College.

Hollingsworth made his first state appearance a memorable one with a fifth place finish. The senior made it to state, but lost in his first round match. He won his next three matches before losing in the consolation semifinals. He won his final match to claim fifth place and finish the year at 50-10.

The trip was made even more special with his brother Mike also qualifying for state. Though Matt earned the wrestler of the year honor, he felt his brother shared in it as well.

“My accomplishments are also his,” Hollingsworth said. “We do everything together.”

The senior also had some advice for the wrestlers at Clearview.

“Hard work does pay off,” he said. “It’s there as long as they are willing to work for it.”

Hollingsworth hasn’t decided if he plans to continue his wrestling career or not, but it does hinge on one thing.

“If my brother wrestles in college, then I probably will too.” He said.



@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 3/7/2013 11:28:24 PM EST

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