The Mentor ‘Meatgrinder’ is one of the toughest district high school wrestling tournaments in the state of Ohio with last year’s state champion, Massillon Perry, and this year’s projected state champion, Brecksville, competing in it.
Last weekend, Brecksville won the team title, while Boardman finished in 14th place.
The Spartans had three wrestlers qualify for the district tournament, and cousins Vince and Anthony Mancini qualified for this year’s state tourney.
Last Friday’s matches worked out as expected.
Vince Mancini won both of his 106# matches. In the first round, he scored the first takedown but fell behind 4-2. The turning point came in the third period when Mancini scored a takedown and two backpoints to beat Johnny Craker (22-12) of Mayfield, 7-4.
The quarterfinal match was close until the start of the third period when Mancini reversed Bryce Daniels (22-9) of Canton GlenOak and put him on his back to win a 14-6 major decision.
“I have to say that my Friday went perfectly. Just as planned. I wrestled really good” Mancini said.
Boardman’s Mario Graziani won both of his 152# matches. In the first round, he scored the first takedown, then escaped and scored another takedown in the second period, for a 5-1 lead. Graziani only gave up two escapes to Kevin Anderson of Bedford (26-13) in the 5-2 win. Anderson’s only goal was stall and not get pinned.
In the quarterfinals, Graziani was in a close match with Ryan Kaminski (12-5) of Green. Graziani notched the only takedown in pulling out the 3-2 decision.
Anthony Mancini won both of his 160# matches.
In the first round, he scored the first takedown and never looked back as he easily defeated Jevontae Henry of Barberton (21-15), 10-0.
The quarterfinal match was very entertaining to watch. Mancini quickly fell behind, 6-1, to Tristan Brady of Cleveland St. Ignatius (10-3) in the first period. But Mancini then amped-up and took down Brady eight times in the second and third periods to build a 17-12 lead. Brady scored an escape and got a takedown late in the match when Anthony was protecting against Brady’s gator roll to win, 17-15.
“That match really came from my heart. No other explanation and I cracked the kid,” Mancini said.
After the Friday matches, Boardman Head Mat Coach Dom Mancini said, “You can’t get any better. We have three here and three in the semis. All they have to do is one match to go. Whether they win in the semis or wrestle backs they have one match away from state. That’s where we’re at.”
Saturday did not begin as well as Friday for Bardman wrestlers.
Vince Mancini took eventual champion Jordin James of Bedford (35-4) in the semifinals to overtime after being tied 8-8 in regulation. James scored a takedown and backpoints in the overtime to win, 13-8. Refereeing in the match was questionable.
Mario Graziani was up against #3 ranked and eventual champion Austin Hiles of Brecksville (39-7) in the semis. As expected it was a tight match, but Hiles pulled out the close 6-5 decision.
Anthony Mancini was the only Spartan wrestler to win in the semis. He was in complete control of his match with Nathaniel Pruitt of Cleveland John Adams (31-7) and pinned him in 3:57.
“I hit a great half nelson and went all the way with it,” Mancini said.
Vince Mancini and Graziani dropped into the consolation semifinal needing to win to qualify for the state meet.
Vince Mancini was up against David Beatty of Walsh (19-16), whom he beat to win the sectional championship. The match ended tied 2-2 in regulation.
Neither wrestler scored in the first overtime.
In the second overtime, both wrestlers held the other down for the 30 seconds, and inthe third overtime, Mancini had choice and took top and held Beatty for the 30 seconds to win 3-2 and qualify for state.
After Anthony’s quarterfinal match and Vince’s go to match, Spartan Assistant Coach Frank Mancini has a lot less hair and Head Coach Dom Mancini has a lot more gray hair.
Graziani was up against David Masch of Lake (26-11). Masch caught Graziani with a cradle in the second period and used it to pull off the big 3-1 upset.
“It’s a great accomplishment to get two wrestlers into the state meet. This district is so tough, anybody who can get out of this district is very good wrestler,” Coach Mancini said.
The finals were held on Saturday night. In the 106# third place match, Vince Mancini was up against Spencer Dusi of Willoughby South (39-10). Mancini scored the first takedown but Dusi scored a takedown late in the third period to win, 4-2.
“I don’t know if I have ever seen a kid who had to dig down as deep as him to make this happen. He’s just been focused all year. He knew that he pretty much was only going to have one shot at this, being small for the weight his first three years and he pulled it off,” and Coach Mancini said.
In the 152# fifth place match, Graziani was again up against Ryan Kaminski of Green. The match ended tied 5-5 and in overtime Graziani scored the winning takedown to win, 7-5. He will be an alternate at state.
In the 160# championship final, it was a rematch of the sectional championship with Anthony Mancini up against Noah Edwards of Twinsburg (37-4). Edwards got revenge for the sectional loss with a 10-5 decision over Mancini.
“Anthony is wrestling great and with 160# not being the toughest weight in the state, he can go down there and win it next week,” Coach Mancini said.
The state tournament will be held at the Schottenstein at The Ohio State University on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Vince Mancini (42-7) opens against Joshua Breeding of Elyria (43-6) and Anthony Mancini (41-8) opens against Alex Sepeda of Marysville (24-10). Two losses and you are out. The Boardman News was the only local paper to cover the Mentor District Tournament.