Crestwood wrestling wins fourth straight league at PTC Tournament

By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co. Published:

In its nine-year history, the Portage Trail Conference Tournament has seen its fair share of drama.

Another chapter in that drama was written on Saturday, as for the second straight year, the PTC Metro Division race was decided on the last match of the night.

In the heavyweight championship bout, Norton's John Glas won a back-and-forth match with Ravenna's Cody Hawkins. The result had Panthers coach Geno Leonard jumping for joy, and he lifted his 285-pounder up into the air after the match.

The win was significant because it bumped Norton up to second place by one point over Coventry (187-186).

Neither team, however, could catch up with Crestwood, which finished with 211 points for the program's fourth consecutive championship.

Because of those results, Crestwood also claims the overall Metro Division title, as neither Coventry or Norton can reach 18 title points, regardless of the results of their dual meet on Tuesday at Norton.

Rootstown finished fourth overall with 170.5 points, followed by Ravenna (154) and Woodridge (136).

The Rovers won the County Division tournament title and shared the overall title with Woodridge.

Crestwood coach Dave Wrobel said the Red Devils' fourth straight title was a total team effort.

"Everybody contributed," Wrobel said. "Yesterday, the quarterfinal was big for us. Let's face it, we didn't have the best semifinal round, but after that we came ready to wrestle."

Highlighting Crestwood's title run was senior 132-pounder Conner Nemec, who became only the eighth PTC/PCL wrestler to win four league titles. Nemec defeated Southeast's Brett Bailey 4-2 in the final

However, Nemec made it clear his mind's on the future.

"My goal is always the postseason," Nemec said. "To win the PTC four times is cool, but I've got bigger things to take care of."

Crestwood also saw 138-pounder Jake Zemaitis win his third PTC title, while 195-pounder Kenny Jackson won his second league crown.

Despite not winning the title, Panthers coach Leonard was jubilant after the tournament, noting the runner-up finish was huge for his young team.

"For us to come out here when people were talking about competing for fourth or fifth, it says a lot," Leonard said. "We had just a super semifinal round in that we pinned all five matches."

In addition to Glas' title, Norton also got individual crowns from 170-pounder Mike Dyer and 220-pounder Sean Rutherford.

Coventry's lone individual title came from 145-pounder Zack Lake, who beat Crestwood's Nick Wrobel 3-2 in overtime.

"My guys who came out in the finals battled hard," said Comets coach Keith Shinn. "We'll go out and beat Norton on (Tuesday). We'll finish undefeated in the PTC (duals). They needed help to beat us. We didn't need any help to beat them."

In the County Division, Rootstown ended up taking the most individual titles, winning four individual weight classes.

The last two came in emphatic fashion, as 160-pounder Zack Ladich pinned Streetsboro's Kyle Woods in 1:11, while 182-pounder Travis Linton won his third PTC title by pinning Norton's Dylan Whyde in 51 seconds.

Rootstown also got titles from 106-pounder Brad Trescott and 120-pounder Tony Paolucci by identical 2-1 decision scores.

"Today was a good day," said Rovers coach Craig Wise. "It was a couple of matches away from a perfect day. We're so young. They definitely came to wrestle today.

"Woodridge kept after us, though," Wise added. "That team is tough. It's fair (to split the title)."

While Woodridge went only 1-5 in Saturday's nights placement matches, Bulldogs coach Mike Massey was smiling after the tournament.

"I can't be happier about what the guys did," Massey said. "I had no illusions that we'd catch Rootstown. Our biggest thing was keeping Southeast and Streetsboro off our back and we did."

Woodridge's 112-pound freshman Eli Yoho was one of three Bulldogs who wrestled in title matches. However, Yoho lost a 17-4 major decision to Field's Cory Simpson, who won his second straight title.

There was good news for Kent Roosevelt on Saturday, as well.

Rough Riders 126-pounder Andrew Wallace scored Roosevelt's first individual title since 2009, as he defeated Norton's Alan Beddow 8-5.

"He got a lot of experience and you can tell he's very strong," Wallace said of Beddow.

The host Vikings also brought home a title at 152 pounds. Senior Josh Horning won a tight 4-2 decision over Rootstown's Luke Sorboro.

Email: mleonard@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9442

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