PTC Wrestling Report: Tournament loaded with talent again this season

By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co. Published:

The Portage Trail Conference Tournament will return, albeit a week earlier than usual, this Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Rootstown High School.

Thanks to Crestwood defeating 42-30 Thursday night, the Metro Division dual meet race officially ended in a three-way tie for first between the Red Devils, Coventry and Ravenna.

That means the overall Metro Division title will go to the team that wins the tournament.

In the County Division, Rootstown needs only a second-place finish among its division foes to claim its third straight division title. Woodridge enters the tournament in second place, but needs help to unseat the Rovers.

Who should fans look for this weekend? Glad you asked.

Here's my annual forecast for the tournament, with the disclaimer that injuries, weigh issues and coaches decision can wreak havoc on which wrestlers wrestled where:

n 106 -- If Field freshman Cory Simpson stays in the lightest weight class, he's the prohibitive favorite. If Simpson decides to move up, things are much more open here, though Streetsboro's Sean Kuklisin might be the next best.

n 113 -- Regardless of wether Simpson moves up or not, Crestwood's Jake Zemaitis will be the favorite here.

The state qualifier will be pivotal to Crestwood's title chances.

n 120 -- While Crestwood's Conner Nemec has the biggest pedigree here, his position is not unassailable.

Keep an eye on Southeast's Corey Pastva, Ravenna's Brogan Lovejoy and Norton's AJ Ritzman.

n 126 -- This weight class has no overwhelming favorite, but several legitimate contenders.

Field's Logan Lott, Coventry's Josh Gunter and possibly Streetsboro's Chris Dynowski lead the field.

• 132 -- Crestwood state qualifier Jimmy Hiller moved down to the weight class, but he's going to have a lot of competition from the likes of Field's Jimmy Kubitza, Woodridge's Alex Teodecki and especially Mogadore's Justin Chew.

• 138 -- While there are solid wrestlers here, Crestwood All-Ohioan Dylan Kager hasn't lost a regular season match since his sophomore year. I don't see that changing.

• 145 -- Waterloo state qualifier JJ Diven might be the most recognizable face here, but Field's Zach Ladich has been coming on strong recently. Woodridge's Hunter Mercer also could figure in the mix.

• 152 -- This weight class is there for the taking and Woodridge's Trevon Burgins has been doing a lot of that lately. Crestwood's Garrett Gerardi, Streetsboro's Kyle Woods, Waterloo's Josh Horning and Kent Roosevelt's Evan Miller all should be in the mix.

• 160 -- While their are several good wrestlers here, I think Ravenna's Logan Reaser probably has a solid edge. Norton's Michael Nunez and Kent Roosevelt's could make some noise as well.

• 170 -- If everyone is healthy and stays put, 170 pounds is the best weight class in the tournament. A potential showdown between three All-Ohioans -- Rootstown's Travis Linton, Southeast's Brandon James and Garfield's Aaron Yonker -- would be worth the price of admission alone.

• 182 -- I have a feeling James may slide up to this weight. If not, I think Rootstown's Kyle Slaughter is the favorite, with Kent Roosevelt's John Spurney, Coventry's Jerek Cropper, Ravenna's Garrett Reaser and Crestwood's Kenn Jackson in the mix.

• 195 -- I think Waterloo's Brandon Brenes may land at this weight class for the tournament. The state qualifier will have to deal with the likes of Field's Matt Hettick and Norton's Erik Brown.

• 220 -- All signs here point to a battle of All-Ohio titans: Norton's Sean Rutherford and Rootstown's Jake Moore.

• 285 ­-- With Moore moving to 220 earlier this month, the title is Coventry heavyweight Travis Gosnell's to lose. Ravenna's Cody Hawkins might be the only one within shouting distance.

See you on Friday night, fellas.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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