Nine Boardman High School wrestlers placed at the 50th Kenston Invitational Holiday Wrestling Tournament to lead the Spartans to a fifth place finish with 139.5 points. Fairfield placed first with 187 points. 30 teams competed. This was Boardman’s best finish at Kenston since 2006.
“I think we did pretty good. I’m pretty happy with everybody. I think we are starting to win positions that we didn’t win before. Kids are fighting hard to get victories to advance in the tournament. Right now one thing I think we have to work on is mat strategy. I think we lost some matches on the edge of the mat these last two days but it was a good weekend,” Head Coach Dom Mancini said.
Spartan Mario Graziani, sporting a new short haircut and competing in his first matches of the season, won the 152# championship by going 4-0 after a first round bye.
Graziani came out focused and pinned Nick Vespucci of Crestwood in 3:09 in the second round. In the quarterfinals, He easily defeated Sam Rocazella of Chardon with a 15-5 major decision. Although in complete control throughout his semifinal match, Graziani won his closest match of the tournament 5-0 over Dan Cromleigh of Strongsville with two takedowns and an escape. He made Cromleigh pay for taking down by working him over for the entire period.
In the championship match, Graziani easily defeated David Esarco of Poland with a 13-2 major decision. Graziani will be up against a state ranked wrestler in the Canfield dual next week. Don’t miss it.
“Mario hasn’t skipped a beat. He just picked up right where he left off last season. Just a remarkable athlete. He knows his body. He knows his positions. Knows how to score. He had a good weekend,” Coach Mancini said.
Vince Mancini placed third in the 106# weight class by going 6-1 in the tournament. Two of Vince’s victories were by pin. His only loss was 13-4 to state ranked (6th) Zach Shupp of Fairfield. This was Vince’s first loss of the season. In the consolation final, Vince won a close hard fought 3-2 decision over Christopher Pavor of Kenston. With the third place finish Vince cracked into the top 20 in 106# state rankings. He will also be up against a state ranked wrestler in the Canfield dual on Jan. 8. Vince is now 13-1 on the season.
“It’s always nice to see someone who loses early to come all the way back through. He won six matches and lost one in the quarters to a kid ranked sixth in the state. He just took it up a notch today. He went 3-0 today,” Coach Mancini said.
Grappler Anthony Mancini placed third in the 170# weight class by going 4-1 after a first round bye. Two of Anthony’s victories were by pin. His only loss was a close 2-1 decision against state ranked (5th) Brendon Winning of Ravenna. This was Anthony’s first loss of the season. In the consolation final, Anthony won a 5-1 decision over Glass Lewis of Maple Heights.
Maple Heights had a tough weekend against Boardman wrestlers with the Spartans going 4-0 in head to head matches. Anthony is now 12-1 on the season and remains under the radar by not being ranked in the state.
“Anthony had a good tournament. He lost one close match to the Ravenna kid but other than that, I thought he wrestled well. I was pretty pleased with his performance,” Coach Mancini said.
Carlo DeNiro placed fourth in the 160# weight class by going 4-2. All four of Carlo’s victories were by pin. He now has nine pins for the season. In the consolation final he lost a 15-3 major decision to state ranked (11th) No’ah Edwards of Twinsburg. Carlo is now 11-3 on the season.
Jimmy Sferra placed fifth in the 126# weight class by going 5-2. In the fifth place match Jimmy won a 2-0 decision over Alex Lampert of Newbury. Jimmy will also be up against a state ranked wrestler in the Canfield dual at Boardman. Jimmy is now 12-3 on the season and to date he is the most improved wrestler on the team.
Tyler Dempsey placed seventh in the 145# weight class by going 4-2. In the seventh place match Tyler won a 7-2 decision over Tony Lewis of Ravenna. Tyler is now 10-4 on the season.
Placing eighth for the Spartans were Derek Slipkovich (120#), Conner Kochansky (138#) and Nick Patoray (182#).
The prohibitive Eastern Ohio Wrestling League dual meet and tournament favorite, Canfield Cardinals, will visit the Boardman gym on Thurs., Jan. 8.
Boardman’s next tournament is the always brutal 29th Annual Alliance Top Gun Tournament on Jan. 16-17 with 48 teams from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia competing.
Pictured: BOARDMAN’S MARIO GARZIANI CAPTURED THE 152-lb. title at the 50th annual Kenston Invitational Tournament. Pictured, Graziani, in background, turns Sam Racazella of Chardon. Graziani won 15-5.