BY AL MILLER
The 56th year of the Boardman High School wrestling program culminated with the annual Awards Banquet sponsored by the Boardman Mat Club last Monday at Café 422.
During this season the Spartan wrestlers won seven individual championships and five runners-up.
Assistant coach Bob ‘Bubber’ Foster gave the welcome and recognized the Youth State Qualifiers---Sean O’Horo and Raymond Cmil. They are the future of Boardman wrestling.
“I got to work with these two a little bit this year and the future is bright. I feed and the other coaches feed off of passion and that’s what takes you the furthest in this sport and these two guys have an unbelievable amount of passion for the sport of wrestling. They put in a lot of time and it’s good to have them in the program,” Head Coach Dom Mancini said.
Christl DeNiro introduced Mat Club officers: Roger Carlile-President, Lisa Slipkovich-Secretary and Kimo DeNiro-Treasurer.
“We hope we’ll have more underclass parents involved next year. Something we did this year was we paid for bags for the boys. The Mat Club is the only Boardman sports booster club to support a sport on three levels---Youth, Middle School and High School,” DeNiro said.
Special guests at the banquet were Mrs. Cynthia Fernback, Principal and Mrs. Denise Gorske, Athletic Director.
Wreslette Advisors Lisa Graziani and Christl DeNiro awarded letters to the wrestlettes.
First year letter winners are Abbey Fryda, Madeline Hubert, Maddy Perez, Nadia Shrilla and Allisa Sipus.
Second year letter winners are Kristen Fernberg and Sarah Pavalko.
Third year letter winners are Morgan Wessling and Nina Yurcisin.
Fourth year letter winners are Tori Augustine, Morgan Bindas, Caitlynn Connor and Kathrin Ritz.
The wrestlettes handle the stat books for all of the matches, create the Senior scrapbooks, make signs and help out at fundraising tournaments at the school.
Head Coach Mancini introduced his assistants, including Foster, Jerry Pasquale, Frank Mancini, Luke Graziani and Jack Raver.
“I remember when these guys, the seniors we have here, were freshmen. We called them ‘the Dream Team’ because it was a good solid group of guys and we knew we could build a team around them. Over the years we are not really known much for our dual meet victories, so when we get a winning season, I’m pretty excited about it. These guys were able to come out of the year 7-6 which was outstanding for the type of opponents we are wrestling. Canfield was state runner-up. Fitch put three guys in the state tournament. I texted Coach Burd from Austintown because we lost to Fitch in the dual match. We lost to them at Top Gun, we lost to them at the EOWL Tournament, we lost to them at sectionals and we lost to them at districts, but we beat them at the state meet, thanks to Mario Graziani. I texted Coach Burd and said I told you we’d get ya,” Mancini said.
Coach Mancini presented the major individual awards:
•Most Outstanding Wrestler- Mario Graziani
•Most Improved- Cannon “Tex” Carlile
•Coach’s Award- Jimmy Sferra
•Jon Green Hammer Award- Kelley Williams Jr.
•Captain Awards- Tyler Dempsey, Jimmy Sferra and Nick Patoray
•Commitment Award- Wes Thompson
Team records for the season:
•Tyler Dempsey: Most Takedowns, 78; Most Team Points, 307
•Jimmy Sferra: Most Wins, 32; Most Reversals, 15; Most Escapes, 43
•Carlo DeNiro: Most Pins, 17
•Mario Graziani: Most Near Falls, 32
•Graziani and Cannon ‘Tex’ Carlile: Most Tech Falls, 2
•Dempsey and Carlile: Most Major Decisions, 5
Varsity letters were presented by Coaches Bob Foster, Jerry Pasquale, Jack Raver and Frank Mancini.
First year letter winners:
•Nick Leonardo, Dan Sabelli, Troy Stack, Tyler Storey, Jermaine Wilburne, Kelley Williams and Wes Thompson.
Second year letter winners:
•Nick Caraballo, John Fleet, Derek Slipkovich and Jimmy Vaughn.
Third year letter winners:
•Kyle Berardi, Carlo DeNiro, Nick Patoray and Jimmy Sferra.
Fourth year letter winners:
•Cannon ‘Tex’ Carlile, Tyler Dempsey and Mario Graziani.
Coach Mancini recognized first team American Athletic Conference selections: Mario Graziani (160), second team Jimmy Sferra (138);
first team EOWL selections: Mario Graziani (160), second team Jimmy Sferra (126), honorable mention Derek Slipkovich (120), John Fleet (145), Kelley Williams (152), Tyler Dempsey (170) and Cannon ‘Tex’ Carlile (182).
Coach Mancini pointed out, “With Mario Graziani placing seventh at state, Boardman has placed a wrestler at the state tournament eleven straight years.”
As has been the custom at the wrestling banquet, each senior gave a talk. 95 wrestlers, wrestlettes, parents and guests enjoyed the evening.
PICTURED: Major award winners at the Boardman High School Wrestling Banquet were (L to R) Wes Thompson, Jimmy Sferra, Kelley Williams, Mario Graziani, Tyler Dempsey, Cannon ‘Tex’ Carlile and Nick Patoray