Stretch run set for Portage Trail Conference wrestling heading into tournament

By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co. Published:

Believe it or not, we're at T-minus 11 days from the Portage Trail Conference Tournament at Rootstown High School.

That means teams are trying to get their final lineups in place and fine-tune things for the PTC Tournament on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 -- and the postseason thereafter.

All while getting ready this week for the inaugural state dual-meet tournament.

So much for late January being the lull in the wrestling schedule before the storm.

For starters, things in the Metro Division are appearing more sorted.

Last Tuesday, Coventry pulled out a 36-30 win at home over a very game Norton squad. The win means the Comets finish the Metro Division dual-meet season at 6-1, tied with Ravenna for first place heading into the PTC Tournament.

The third part of the Metro Division title puzzle will be decided Thursday when Crestwood travels to Field. Unless the Falcons can defeat the Red Devils, the Metro Division will be a three-way tie heading into the PTC Tournament.

Who is likely to have the advantage heading into the PTC tourney among those three?

Ravenna may have taken a step up regarding its tournament form this past weekend at the Top Gun Tournament in Alliance.

Against a very strong field, the Ravens took eighth place -- which is nothing to sneeze at.

Ravenna is going to need big tournaments from Logan Reaser, Brogan Lovejoy and heavyweight Cody Hawkins to get it done come Feb. 1 and 2.

As for Coventry, this past weekend's experience at the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament at Firestone High School may have exposed a familiar issue for the Comets, one that Coventry coach Keith Shinn articulated well.

"Our depth is better than the other teams; we don't have a top gun like Crestwood," Shinn said. "If we want to win the tournament, it's going to have to be a total team effort. Our guys are going to have to take third or fifth and win their final matches."

That didn't happen at the Dies.

Coventry only had heavyweight Travis Gosnell and 120-pounder Josh Gunter wrestling on Saturday night and finished in 15th place.

The Comets will need a lot more to win at the PTCs.

As for Crestwood, the Red Devils did not wrestle a tournament this weekend. However, any team with the likes of Dylan Kager, Jake Zemaitis, Conner Nemec and Josh Hillier is going to be a very good "tournament team."

Meanwhile, the results from the Dies might show that the County Division race may not be a foregone conclusion.

Woodridge, which finished the PTC County dual-meet race in second place, finished 11th at the Dies -- a full 11 places and 31 points better than County Division leader Rootstown.

There is, however, one very large caveat to that result: The Rovers were without All-Ohioan Jake Moore, who could have made up that point difference by himself.

As usual, we'll have to see how things shake out at the PTC Tournament on Feb. 1 and 2 at Rootstown.

State duals ready to rumble

What are you doing Wednesday night?

If you're a wrestler in the state of Ohio, the answer is "making history."

The inaugural OHSAA Team Wrestling Tournament will begin Wednesday at sites throughout the state. The regional quarterfinals will pare down the field to eight teams in each region.

On Jan. 30, each surviving team will wrestle two matches, setting up the regional final contests on Feb. 6.

The tournament will culminate Feb. 9 at Ohio State's St. John Arena in Columbus, with the top eight teams in Ohio's three divisions battling it out.

While there are many intriguing matches to be had during the tournament, two matches set for Wednesday stand out to me in Division II.

Woodridge will take on Norton, with the winner likely to face CVCA in the third round.

Meanwhile, Aurora and Crestwood will travel to Warren to do battle, with the winner likely facing Howland in the next round.

Check out www.ohsaa.org for a complete list of match locations and times.

nnn

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9441

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.