WESTFIELD TWP. — No. 23 holds a special place in sports. From Michael Jordan to LeBron James, it’s arguably the greatest jersey to wear in basketball.
Baseball saw Don Mattingly and Ryne Sandberg don the number, while soccer has David Beckham and Lionel Messi’s 23 hat tricks.
On Saturday, the Wadsworth wrestling team recorded its 23rd straight Suburban League title to again prove it is the premier school in the conference.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment,” said Connor Gray, who won his third individual crown. “To be part of the great tradition of 23 championships in a row — I was on 20, 21, 22 and 23 — it’s a great feeling. I’m very honored to be a part of something special.”
To put into perspective how incredible the run is for the Grizzlies, the streak is five years older than anyone on the team.
It’s something streak projected state champion Shane Mast, who won his first SL crown, stood in awe of as well.
“That’s crazy,” Mast said. “We have a great program. We’ve been winning it for years. It’s definitely a confidence builder. It’s something good to get some matches and get that confidence up before the postseason.”
If the performance at the SLT is any indication, the Grizzlies should roll into the Wadsworth Division I Sectional. The way they diced the competition was impressive, as Wadsworth won its first 21 matches before a medical default.
By the time the afternoon was over, the Grizzlies won 35 of their 42 matches and crowned Brandon Randolph (113 pounds), Noah Baughman (120), Gray (126), Corey Riggenbach (132), Cody Surratt (145), Joey Baughman (152), Mast (170) and Tim Knipl (182) as champions. For Noah Baughman and Knipl, it was title No. 3 as an individual.
Brock Swartzbaugh (106), Darrin Gilkerson (138), Evan Goebel (195) and Kyle Green (220) were runners-up. Mitch Frisby (160) and Tom Andrews (285) finished fourth as all 14 wrestlers reached the podium.
“We wanted to have a good showing here,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “We wanted to wrestle our style and be proud of what we accomplished. A lot of people think we take it for granted and think we’re going to win, but we work for it. We take a lot of pride in it.”
There was plenty of pride to go around in Medina County as Cloverleaf and Highland stepped up. While neither school had an individual champion, both performed well.
With 12 wrestlers competing, the Colts placed six as Greg Briggs (132) and Connor Carneal (160) finished second to headline a group that also featured Caleb Cass (3rd, 138), Noah Carneal (4th, 126), Cory Stallings (4th, 145) and Kyle Hodges (4th, 195) on the podium.
While the showing was something Cloverleaf coach Bob Scandlon has been building up to all season, it caught the first-year coach a little bit by surprise.
“That was a big step,” he said. “I was not expecting that. It sure did surprise me.
“This is big for them. We sacrificed in the beginning because we knew we’d see the results at the end of the year. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and work on technique.”
The Hornets, who brought 11 wrestlers, had seven placers to finish fourth.
Marko Vilimonovic (120) and Josh Kedzior (126) were runners-up, while Ryan Wissel (106), Tyler Wissel (113), Logan Brant (145) and Joey D’Amico (285) finished third. Eddie Rininger (152) finished fourth.
“It’s good to peak at the right time,” Hornets coach Frank Calarco said. “It’s big. I just hope they carry that confidence into next week and the week after.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
WESTFIELD TWP. — Results Saturday from the Suburban League Tournament at Cloverleaf High School.
Team standings: 1. Wadsworth 263.5; 2. Copley 127; 3. Nordonia 104.5; 4. Highland, Revere 95; 6. Cloverleaf 70; 7. Tallmadge 60; 8. Green 41.5.
Regular-season standings: 1. Wadsworth (7-0); 2. Copley (6-1); 3. Revere (4-3); 4. Nordonia, Tallmadge, Green (3-4); 7. Highland (2-5); 8. Cloverleaf (0-7).
Overall standings: 1. Wadsworth 16; 2. Copley 14; 3. Revere 10.5; 4. Nordonia 10; 5. Highland 6.5; 6. Tallmadge 6; 7. Green 5; 8. Cloverleaf 4.
106: Terrell Grant (Tal) p. Brock Swartzbaugh (W), 1:48; Third: Ryan Wissel (H) d. Tyler Kaminski (G), 4-0; 113: Brandon Randolph (W) p. Cam Duvall (N), 1:04; Third: Tyler Wissel (H) d. Jake Peterson (R), 7-4; 120: Noah Baughman (W) t.f. Marko Vilimonovic (H), 22-7; Third: Benny Simmons (Cop) d. Tom Masteller (N), 5-1; 126: Connor Gray (W) p. Josh Kedzior (H), 1:26; Third: Stefan Farian (R) d. Noah Carneal (Clo) 7-3; 132: Corey Riggenbach (W) d. Greg Briggs (Clo), 3-2; Third: Noah Schaub (G) d. Dustin McGrew (Tal), 4-1; 138: Antwon Pugh (Cop) p. Darrin Gilkerson (W), 2:52; Third: Caleb Cass (Clo) p. Austin Isaac (N), 1:36; 145: Cody Surratt (W) d. Nick Collica (N), 11-8; Third: Logan Brant (H) p. Cory Stallings (Clo), 1:52; 152: Joey Baughman (W) p. Dustin Shaffer (R), 3:57; Third: Dustin Siesel (R) by inj. def. Eddie Rininger (H); 160: Jake DeJesus (N) d. Conner Carneal (Clo), 11-6; Third: Colton Murray (Cop) by inj. def. Mitch Frisby (W); 170: Shane Mast (W) t.f. Connor Knabe (Cop), 18-3: Third: Jack Smith (R) p. Nate Rogers (G), 4:08; 182: Tim Knipl (W) by inj. def. Zeck Lehman (R); Third: Anthony Perrine (N) p. Justin Paonessa (Tal), 1:49; 195: Madison Prokop (Cop) d. Evan Goebel (W), 4-3; Third: Thomas Baker (R) p. Kyle Hodges (Clo), 3:47; 220: Terrence Williams (Cop) d. Kyle Green (W), 3-0; Third: Floyd Rogers (G) d. Travis Darago (Tal) 7-6; 285: Arman Samouk (Cop) p. Alec Camelli (N), 5:23; Third: Joey D’Amico (H) p. Tommy Andrews (W), 7:17.