Record-Courier staff report
They turned the lights out in the stands and let the best wrestlers in northeastern Ohio have at it under the center spotlight during the opening night of the brutal Division II District Wrestling Tournament at Alliance High School Friday.
The top four finishers in each of the 14 weight classes advance to next week's state meet at Ohio State University's Value City Arena.
Of the 22 area matmen who qualified for the district, just five went unbeaten through Friday's demanding action.
One of thoese was Crestwood's Dylan Kager, who led four Red Devils that advanced into the semifinals. Meanwhile, the team rests in fifth place in the team standings to lead area squads after day one of the Alliance Division II District tournament on Friday.
Jake Zemaitis (113), Connor Nemec (120), Dylan Kager (138) and Kenny Jackson each earned a pair of victories for the Red Devils. Nemec and Jackson each won both matches by pin, while Kager won with a pin and a tech fall to help Crestwood pile up 46.5 team points.
Zack Ladich won both matches by pin at 152 to lead Field, which rests in 11th place with 26 points.
Logan Reaser advanced to the semifinals at 160 with a pin and tech fall for Ravenna, which sits in 15th with 20.5 points.
Brandon James was perfect in two matches with a pair of pins at 170 for Southeast, tied for 17th in the team standings with 17 points.
James had a dominant performance in winning both of his bouts Friday. James manhandled Painesville Harvey's Joey Guajardo before pinning him in 3:07 of his first-round match.
"We've got to keep it going you know," said Pirate head coach Bob Noall. "We're wrestling real well right now. I think he's (James) got the right mind set and everything. Everything's going real well right now. It's clicking."
Aurora's Josh Whiteclaw advanced to the semifinals with two wins at 106, including one by tech fall. The Greenmen rest in 16th place with 18.5 points, while Woodridge is tied for 26th (8 points) and Streetsboro is tied for 32nd (4 points).
Action resumes this morning at 10 a.m. with the consolation action and semifinals. The finals will begin at 6 p.m.