NORTH CANTON — Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.
Blood rounds and marquee semifinal matches pale in comparison to the bigger picture when you’ve competed on the largest stage high school wrestling has to offer.
Of the 11 Medina County state qualifiers out of the Hoover Division I District, seven have already made the trip to Columbus.
Add in district champion Mason Brugh (106 pounds), who placed last season at junior high state for Wadsworth, and experience shines through.
DIVISION I: Brunswick — Logan Heil (126 pounds). Highland — Brady Linder (152). Medina — Ethan Silvis (160), Seth DiCola (182), Blake Chrisman (195). Wadsworth — Mason Brugh (106), Landen Hacker (120), Luke Baughman (138), Michael North (145), Dom Loparo (160), Jon List (170).
DIVISION II: Buckeye — Eddie Pinc (113), Anthony Ashley (126).
“It’s just your preparation in big matches,” Wadsworth 160-pounder Dom Loparo said. “I’ve gotten so used to just controlling it that it makes it easier to come out on top. I take every match the same way. If you don’t, you start doing stupid stuff that can have a negative impact for you.”
Luke Baughman (138) and Michael North (145) joined Brugh and Loparo as district champions, while teammates Landen Hacker (2nd, 120) and Jon List (3rd, 170) will return to Value City Arena as well.
So, too, will Brunswick’s Logan Heil (2nd, 126) and Highland’s Brady Linder (4th, 152).
Medina has first-time qualifiers Ethan Silvis (3rd, 160), Seth DiCola (4th, 182) and Blake Chrisman (4th, 195).
“That shows who’s done the work and who hasn’t done the work,” said Heil, who has made it to state all four years and placed twice.
“Wrestling is a sport. It’s not like it’s not like the last thing of my life. It’s not a do-or-die thing. It’s just a sport. It’s nothing to be worried about. It’ll be gone in five or 10 years.”
That attitude is exactly how many of the wrestlers looked at things when it came to crunch time.
While winning improves bracket lines at the state level, Columbus has proven time and again, no matter what fans might expect on the red and green mats, things change as fast as the bout board on the Jumbotron.
“I feel like once you’ve been there once, you know what it’s about,” Linder said. “You know what you have to do to win matches. I wouldn’t say it makes (go-to matches) easier, but mentally you know what is going to happen in the match. You just have to be ready for it. You’ve been there before. You know what to expect.”
Nobody may typify that more than Medina.
While Silvis, DiCola and Chrisman are making their first trip, the trio has an exceptional coach in Chad Gilmore.
In the last two seasons, the Bees have faced eight blood-round matches at the district level and never lost.
“This was a year where a lot of people said we weren’t going to do anything this year,” Gilmore said. “Our kids believed in themselves and battled all year. It proves that what we’re doing is working and you can chase your dreams at home.”
While moving on is the biggest ingredient, sometimes a district championship can mean the world.
Baughman is in a loaded bracket that comes complete with six returning state medalists.
At Hoover, the four-time state qualifier and two-time state placer exacted a regular-season loss to Nordonia’s Mitch Collica.
Baughman did the same thing in the finals, when he beat Brecksville projected state champion Marco Regalbuto to earn a No. 1 seed.
The returning state runner-up will head to Columbus with returning state placers Matt Zuckerman of Elyria and Collica on his side of the bracket.
That said, returning state champion Bryce Hepner of St. Edward, two-time state placers Gus Sutton of Austintown-Fitch and two-time state placer Regalbuto will battle it out in a loaded bottom half of the bracket.
“It’s always nice to get the one seed of the tournament so you can get the best seeding possible, but the goal is to go out next week no matter who you wrestle and believe in your training, believe in your coaches and believe in your teammates,” Baughman said. “They believe in you, too, and what you do to get the job done.”
Brunswick’s Eddie Sevastos (220) will head down as a state alternate.
NORTH CANTON — Results Saturday from the Hoover Division I District at Hoover High School.
Team standings: 1. Brecksville 213.5, 2. Wadsworth 181.5, 3. Maple Heights 95, 4. Nordonia 87.5, 5. Berea-Midpark, Massillon Perry 78.5, 7. Barberton 73, 8. St. Ignatius 64, 9. Austintown-Fitch 60.5, 10. Medina 57, 11. Copley 53, 12. Lake 51, 13. North Royalton 47, 14. Green, Hoover 45, 16. Brunswick, Highland 40, 18. Solon 37, 19. Boardman 35, 20. Lakewood 29, 21. Shaker Heights 28.5, 22. Kenston 26.5, 23. Stow 26, 24. Hudson 25.5, 25. Canton McKinley 25, 26. Wooster 22, 27. Garfield Heights, Jackson 17, 29. GlenOak 15, 30. Kent Roosevelt 12, 31. Strongsville 11, 32. Walsh Jesuit 9, 33. Dover, Parma 8, 35. Massillon, Twinsburg 7, 37. Bedford 3, 38. Valley Forge 1.
106: Mason Brugh (Wad) m.d. Johnny Novak (SI), 11-0; Third: Zane Van Voorhis (Cop) d. Thomas Cassetty (Lak), 5-4; Fifth: Pito Castro (Bre) d. Sam Tillett (KR), 13-2. 113: Jack Stanley (Bre) p. Kolin Howard (MH), 5:41; Third: Pino Diperro (B-M) d. Colin Roberts (Fit), 6-5; Fifth: Jacob Hamad (Nor) p. Mikey Lewarchick (Wad) :34. 120: Jake Canitano (Sol) d. Landen Hacker (Wad), 2-0; Third: Kyren Butler (Cop) d. Shane Heil (B-M), 9-2; Fifth: Justin Bencie (MH) m.d. Nate Booth (Cop), 12-4. 126: Jimmy Carmany (Bre) m.d. Logan Heil (Bru), 9-0; Third: Matthew Whipkey (SI) d. Caden Wendling (B-M), 3-2; Fifth: Canyon Wells (Cop) d. Hunter Griffin (Wad), 6-4. 132: Jaivon Jones (Nor) m.d. Caleb Greer (Gre), 10-0; Third: James Bronstrup (Bre) m.d. Zach Richards (Fit), 11-0; Fifth: Zach Evans (Hoo) m.d. Patrick McGraw (SI), 14-3. 138: Luke Baughman (Wad) d. Marco Regalbuto (Bre), 3-2; Third: Gus Sutton (Fit) d. Mitch Collica (Nor), 6-5; Fifth: Trysten Zahoransky (Sol) d. James Scavuzzo (Hig), 6-2. 145: Michael North (Wad) t.f. Darese Sparkman (Per), 16-1; Third: Daniel Patten (Sto) d. D.J. Huff (SI), 5-2; Fifth: Zack Scalf (Bar) d. Adam Salek (Wal), 2-0. 152: Victor Voinovich (Bre) m.d. Antoine Holloway (MH), 10-2; Third: Paul Twarog (NR) d. Brady Linder (Hig), 1-0; Fifth: Dylan Sosnowsky (Ken) by inj. def. Logan Messer (Wad). 160: Dom Loparo (Wad) p. Sal Perrine (Nor), 5:29; Third: Ethan Silvis (Med) d. Anthony Rizzo (Bre), 3-1; Fifth: Joe Koplow (Ken) d. Kareem Hamden (Boa), 6-3. 170: Najee Lockett (SH) d. Michael O’Horo (Boa), 2-1; Third: Jon List (Wad) p. Michael Caniglia (Hud), 4:44; Fifth: Logan Shephard (Per) d. Dylan Davis (Gre), 7-5. 182: Gary Wokojance (Bar) by def. Ben Vanadia (Bre) Third: Ryan Prusinowski (Hoo) p. Seth DiCola (Med), 4:54 Fifth: Ronald Williams (B-M) by dq. George Rozier (Fir). 195: Ethan Hatcher (Bre) p. Micha Clemson (Mck), 1:58; Third: Christian Merritt (MH) d. Blake Chrisman (Med), 13-10; Fifth: Ben Deguzman (Hoo) d. Zach Porch (B-M, 6-4. 220: P.J. Zentiska (Bar) d. Lazar Gasic (NR), 6-3; Third: Charles Medley (MH) d. Leon Webb (GH), 6-2; Fifth: Eddie Sevastos (Bru) by inj. def. Jarin Curtis (Per). 285: Michael Mather (Lake) d. Max Millin (Per), 4-2; Third: Yousef Awad (Lakew) d. Jake Burns (Woo), 2-1; Fifth: Ryan Stadler (Bre) m.d. Rager Els (Mas), 11-3.