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  Boardman Wrestling Team Opens Season Hosting 6-Team Compco Spartan Duals  
  December 5, 2019 Edition  
     By Al Miller
      Wrestling Reporter
      Boardman High School wrestling has two Co-Head Coaches again this year. Dom Mancini starts his 20th season at the helm of the Spartans, and Frank Mancini is in his 34th year of coaching.
      The Spartans are a young team with only 3 seniors and two juniors on the 26-man roster.
      Boardman opens the season on Dec. 7 at home for the Compco Spartan Duals at 10:00 a.m. Teams competing in the duals include Boardman, Alliance, Fitch, Jefferson, Madison and Massillon.
      The Spartans have a brutal dual meet schedule this season. The Spartans have a brutal schedule this season. They have home matches with #1 state-ranked Louisville and 7th-ranked Steubenville Big Red; and have away matches against #4-ranked Canfield, and #5-ranked Beaver Local. After only two home matches last season, the Spartans have six home matches this season.
      Boardman was 8-7 in duals last season.
      “Dual meets are going to be rough, but it will help the kids in big matches. The nerves for dual meets are generally up more so than a tournament when there are multiple mats. In a dual meet when there is only one mat, the pressure is on when you have a good kid. It’s only going to help our kids get mentally tough,” Coach Frank said.
      Boardman has three returning District qualifiers Dom Vennetti, Ray Cmil and Nate Thompson.
      “Dom Vennetti looks really really good in the room right now. We’re happy where he is at, especially in the beginning of the season. Looks like he’ll wrestle 126-lbs. in the beginning and eventually get down to 120-lbs. which we think will be a good weight for him,” Coach Dom said.
      Ray Cmil is expected to wrestle at 113# this season.
      “Ray has been the most impressive to me so far. His tenacity in the room. His aggressiveness and how he’s not afraid to let it fly. That’s what you look for in a good wrestler. If Ray gets down to 113-lbs., he’ll be somebody that’s going to compete to be on the podium this year,” Coach Dom said.
      Nate Thompson is coming off surgery from a football injury and is expected to wrestle at 160-lbs. when cleared.
      “I think the outlook for Nate is great. He’s got the right attitude. I think it’s a matter of maturity for him. At the end of last season, he started competing at a high level and was winning. It’s kind of lit the fire for him and he has carried that into this year. Even though he’s injured, where he is mentally, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with at the end of the year,” Coach Dom said.
      Boardman has four returning District alternates---Anthony Baglama, Sean O’Horo, Tyler Rae and Ashton LaBelle.
      “Anthony is a veteran. He’s been wrestling since he was 5-years-old. Last year he had some bad luck getting mono and not being able to compete the way he wanted to. I think he’s looking forward to the season,” Coach Dom noted.
      “Sean’s been competing at a high level for a long time. I think that showed well in his football season this year where he was a leader as a sophomore and took over the running back spot. He’s a really good athlete. We expect big things out of him this year,” Coach Dom said.
      “Tyler spent a lot of time in the off season with Coach Raver lifting weights and getting stronger. We have a lot of kids around those weights where Tyler is. It’s going to be real competitive. I see Tyler getting in the lineup at some weight,” Coach Dom said.
      “Ashton is a dream wrestler because he’s just so aggressive all the time. He hasn’t been wrestling for a long period of time, but he just does not let up. Whoever is wrestling him is in for a battle every single day,” Coach Dom said.
      Senior Jason Robinson and juniors Jake Powell and Sammy DeJoseph have been around the sport for many years and look for a breakout year. Daniel Fetty and Tawfiq Abuenaaj have the tools for a successful sophomore season.
      Boardman will again be competing in the All-American Conference and the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League. The EOWL was the toughest league in the state last season with 19 state placers.
      Boardman’s varsity will compete in the Beaver Local Hoppel Tournament, the 55th Kenston Invitational, the 44th EOWL Tournament, the 34th Alliance Top Gun Tournament and the 27th Josh Hephner Tournament.
      The tournaments prepare the Spartans for the post season tournaments.
      “Our sectional draw is pretty good so that will help. With so many freshman getting experience last year as an alternate or a qualifier, it’s going to help prepare them for the tournaments. I’m excited about that,” Coach Frank said.
      Assistant coaches for this year’s team are Jack Raver, Kevin Powell, Jim Jones and Mike Trell.
      The Spartans have been moved to the Kenston Sectional this year. The top four wrestlers in each weight class will qualify for the District Tournament that will be held in Mentor.
      The State Tournament will be held in Columbus at the Schottenstein. For the first time, the state competition will be held over the course of three days---on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 13-15. More than 15,000 fans jam the Schottenstein each day.
      The starting lineup for the 2019-2020 edition of the Spartans at the opening meet of the season will be determined in wrestle offs that will be held this week.
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