BY AL MILLER
The Boardman Spartans wrestling team competed in the 31st Alliance Top Gun Tournament last weekend. The Top Gun is a brutal mid-season tournament that gives wrestlers the opportunity to see how they stack up against state ranked wrestlers. The Spartans finished 28th with 59 points out of 47 teams from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Massillon Perry won the tournament with 208 points.
“A couple guys got really hot right in the middle of the tournament. Anthony Baglama, I thought wrestled outstanding. Kelley Williams wrestled tough. Those were a couple guys that I thought stepped up and really competed well. It was a tough tournament. Overall I think we’re still marching in the right direction,” Head Coach Dom Mancini said.
Sophomore Mike ‘Black Knight’ O’Horo continues to be the individual team leader in tournaments, this week by placing sixth in the 170# weight class.
O’Horo won his first three matches. In the quarterfinals, he was up against Chase Morgan of Ripley (W.Va.), the #1 seed with a fifth place finish at state last year. O’Horo easily handled him in winning the 13-5 decision. In the semis, he lost to state ranked (8th, Div.1) Mike Baker of LaSalle 17-2. In the consies, Mike lost a 6-1 decision to state ranked (5th, Div. 2) David Heath of Akron St. Vincent. In the fifth place match, Mike lost a 3-2 decision to state ranked (6th, Div. 2) Tann Roush of Claymont. When Roush took down, Mike got him turned for potential back points but Roush’s shoulders were out of bounds. O’Horo’s record is now 20-4 this season.
“It was a really tough weight class. I think the top four guys were really, really tough, maybe too tough to beat. I knew it would be hard to get in the top four but I think Mike did a great job in getting in the top six,” Coach Mancini said.
The two other wrestlers that had solid performances were Freshman Anthony ‘Bagz’ Baglama and Senior Kelley Williams.
‘Bagz’ went 3-2, in the 113# weight class with a pin and two major decisions. “Bagz” improves to 8-6 on the season.
Kelley went 3-2, in the 152# weight class with 3 pins. In one of the most exciting matches of the tournament, Kelley was trailing AJ Stehura 9-5 with 30 seconds to go in the match when he hit a throw and put Stehura on his back for a 5 point move. In a highly questionable scissors call against Kelley, the match ended up tied in regulation but in overtime Kelley stuck him without needing the scissors. Kelley improves to 12-10 on the season.
Other wrestlers contributing team points were Derek “Slip” Slipkovich (2-2) at 120#, John Fleet (1-2) at 138#, Brandon “Ziggy” Zagatti (1-2) at 145#, Carlo DeNiro (2-2) at 182#, Alex King (2-2) at 195# and Nick Caraballo (1-2) at 220#.
The Spartans compete next in the 24th Josh Hephner Memorial Tournament. The Hephner is an endurance tournament that starts out as a pool tournament with the top two wrestlers from each pool advancing to the placement rounds.
In preparing for the Hephner, Coach Mancini said, “I still we think we have to improve in the down position. Everybody does. That’s our downfall. That’s usually what the downfall is when you go up against the really good competition. You have to get out from the bottom and we just don’t do it when we go up against the tougher opponents.”
PICTURED: EN ROUTE TO A 13-5 DECISION, BOARDMAN HIGH SCHOOL’S MIKE O’HORO, on top, puts Chase Morgan on the mat during action at last week’s Top Gun Wrestling tournament in Alliance, Oh. O’Horo went 3-3 in the tourney and has a 204 record on the season.