PTC Wrestling Report: Early-season dual meets provide twist in PTC race

By Michael Leonard Published:

Many adjectives can be used to describe high school wrestling.

"Predictable" has never been one of them.

Less than a week after looking rock solid at the Solon Comet Classic, Crestwood's position atop the Metro Division took a major hit Thursday night.

Coventry's 36-31 win at Norton marked the first time December of 2009 that the Red Devils lost a dual meet to Metro Division competition. The way the Comets beat Crestwood -- upsetting two of Crestwood's senior leaders including state qualifier Josh Hillier -- should have alarm bells ringing in the Red Devils camp.

The inevitable disclaimer on the win: It's still early December and Keith Shinn and Co. have always been solid in dual meets. Let's see what the Comets can do in tournaments this season because Crestwood's tournament form has been dominant the last three years.

Coventry will look to press their advantage in the division when its hosts a double dual with Kent Roosevelt and Ravenna Thursday. Crestwood also will be there, taking on Ravens and Rough Riders.

The Comets' big win wasn't the only story line to come Norton Thursday.

Both Coventry and Norton have very young teams, who will only get better as the season goes on. Shinn and Norton coach Gene Leonard -- no relation, by the way -- are experienced coaches with a tendency to get a lot out of young kids.

In short, Summit County's PTC squads will be heard come PTC Tournament time.

With regard to the fourth team at Norton, Field had a tough night. Coach Joe Retherford expected that, as he was missing at least five starters due to injuries or other issues.

Keep an eye on the Falcons come January. They will be much stronger when they're back at full strength.

In the meantime, keep your eyes on Field freshman Cory Simpson. Retherford said that Simpson is farther along in his career now than recent Field graduate TJ Fox was as a freshman.

Considering Fox broke just about every record there is to break in Falcons wrestling, that's high praise.

Skin problems derail match at Springfield

While the story lines unfolded Thursday at Norton, nothing took place Thursday at Springfield, where Kent Roosevelt, Ravenna and Streetsboro were originally scheduled to have their own double dual.

However, the match was postponed due to an outbreak of severe skin infections at Springfield.

According to Spartans coach Todd Lovell, nearly a third of his team contracted skin infections severe enough to warrant medical attention last week.

Because of the close contact nature of wrestling, skin infections are taken very seriously. Any wrestler found to have a skin infection during pre-match weigh-ins automatically is disqualified from competing.

Lovell said the outbreak was so widespread, Springfield's wrestling program was shut down on Tuesday, allowing school officials to address the issue by taking "hospital grade" disinfection to the school's wrestling and locker rooms.

Lovell said the team was not set to resume practice until today.

As a result, the double dual was postponed and the Spartans will not participate in a tournament at Marlington over the weekend.

Lovell notes his program's numbers are on the rise, with 21 kids wrestling for Springfield. However, the Spartans won't be back in action until Dec. 20 in a double dual meet at Streetsboro with Field and Norton.

As for the postponed meet, no make-up date has been set yet.

Streetsboro coach Rick Charlton said the four schools were "tossing around dates in January" to reschedule the meet, though he hopes it doesn't take that long to do so.

Charlton said his team held a bit of an intra-squad scrimmage Thursday to help fill the competition void.

"It stinks, but we'll move on," Charlton said.

Status quo in the County Division

Meanwhile, County Division co-champions Rootstown and Southeast each started their dual meet seasons with wins.

Southeast smashed an understrength Waterloo squad 51-22 in Palmyra, while Rootstown avenged last year's loss to Woodridge with a 42-27 victory at home.

Circle on the calendars Jan. 10, as that's when Southeast will host Rootstown in a tri-meet with Garfield.

Considering last year's dual meet between the Rovers and Pirates literally came down to a last-second take down, this one figures to be good.

Garfield and Mogadore did not wrestlers as originally scheduled, as Wildcats are still getting back to work after their football run.

The G-Men and Wildcats will face each other Jan. 24 as part of a tri-meet with Southeast.

E-mail:mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone:330-541-9442

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