By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co.
The Hudson Holiday Tournament can be a nice pre-Christmas treat for wrestling fans.
For Crestwood, the tournament showed both the strengths and weaknesses of the its lineup.
Crestwood finished third in the tournament with 145.5 points, finishing behind Parma (196.5) and Maple Heights (167.5).
Elsewhere at the tournament, Streetsboro finished in 10th place with 81.5 points, while Aurora was 13th with 58.5 points.
Devils head coach Dave Wrobel said he knew about that duality in his lineup.
"We had seven of our 14 kids place, but only nine of our 14 weight classes scored," Wrobel said, noting the absence of 160-pounder Rick Kollman and 170-pounder Josh Lorence. "To win tournaments, you've got to be able to get some points from your second-tier wrestlers."
Coming into the final session in fifth place, Crestwood pulled away from Cuyahoga Falls (141) and Hudson (139) to take third place by going 3-of-4 in championship matches.
At 113 pounds, Jake Zemaitis continued his perfect start to season by winning the title. He was tested in the final by Brunswick's Brett Thomas, but scored a 5-0 shutout win.
"I knew all he was trying to do was defend against me," Zemaitis said. "I got those two takedowns late. I knew I could ride him if I needed."
Junior Conner Nemec won his third straight title at Hudson, taking the 120-pound crown via an 8-1 win over Hudson's Billy Buehl.
"I could have done better," Nemec said. "There's some room for improvement."
Meanwhile, 138-pounder Dylan Kager continues to look impressive. He scored two pins and a forfeit win on the weekend before dominating Maple's Dejon Moss with a 16-1 technical fall.
"I kind of like being the top guy," Kager said. "It gives me that much more confidence to win it."
Crestwood had one more finalist -- 145-pounder Josh Hillier lost 11-3 to Archbishop Hoban's Michael Belknap.
Crestwood also got a third place from 153-pounder Garrett Gerardi, a fourth place from 182-pounder Kenn Jackson and a sixth-place finish from 106-pounder Ryan Deuley.
Meanwhile, Streetsboro had a solid tournament, but a poor finals session going 1-of-5 in placement matches.
"Saturday morning was pretty good, but we've got to be able to wrestle well tonight to take the next step," Streetsboro head coach Rick Charlton said.
Streetsboro's lone finalist was heavyweight Sam Creque, who made the final for the fist time in his high school career.
However, Charlton chose not to hold Creque out of the final, giving New Philadelphia's Mark Castillo the title by forfeit.
"We just wanted to be careful with his knee," Charlton said. "We tried to loosen it up during warmups, but it just didn't feel right. We were just being cautious."
The Rockets got fourth-place finishes from 106-pounder Sean Kuklisin, 132-pounder Chris Dynowski and 152-pounder Kyle Woods.
Streetsboro also got a fifth-place finish from 120-pounder Aaron Dantimo, as he pulled out a 7-5 win over Aurora's Andrew Peterson in overtime
It was a very rough weekend for Aurora. While the Greenmen are still missing several starters because of injury or weight issues, veteran head coach Dick Bliss made it clear he wasn't happy with his team's effort.
Aurora managed only two sixth-place finishes as Petersen took sixth at 120 pounds and DJ Lieberth took sixth at 126.