CLEVELAND — Northmont’s varsity wrestling team opened the season by placing sixth overall out of 30 schools at the North Coast Classic held Dec. 13 and 14 at Cleveland Independence High School.
The Thunderbolts accumulated 333 points. Berea-Mid took 1st place with 534 points followed by Mentor (380), Nordonia (377), Bay Village (350) and Tri-Valley in 5th with 335.
“Our goal was to finish in the top 10 out of the 32 schools that competed,” said Northmont coach Scott Newburg. “We did much better than that as we were only two points away from a top five finish.”
Seven Thunderbolts placed in the tournament. Senior Seth Frantz took 1st place at heavyweight while teammate Brian Jones (junior) earned 6th place.
In the heavyweight championship match Frantz scored a 3-1 decision over Klevin Mici of Bay Village.
In the battle for 5th place (heavyweight) senior Garrett O’Connell of Hudson (7-2) won by a fall in 6:29 vs. Jones (4-3).
Phil Tracey placed 3rd in the 195 pound bracket. Tracey, a junior (7-1) scored a 4-0 decision over junior Brendan Demuyck of Hudson (8-2) to earn third place.
Andrew Knick took 4th place at 160 pounds. Knick (7-2), a senior, lost close 6-5 decision to senior Hunter Kupniewski (11-2) of North Royalton in the battle for third place.
Senior Bryce Asher placed 5th at 182 pounds. Asher (8-2) won by a fall in 7:00 vs. Sam Loechtenfeldt (9-4) of Willoughby South).
Sophomore Billy Mengerink took 6th place at 220 pounds. In the battle for 5th place Mengerink (4-3) lost by a fall in 1:24 to senior A.J. Collins (7-2) of Tri-Valley.
Freshman Ryan Stowers placed 8th in the 138 pound weight class. In the battle for 7th place Stowers lost by a fall in 3:27 to sophomore Nicholas Abounder (7-2) of Benedictine.
“With a team that starts five freshman I was really proud of how they competed up in Cleveland,” Newburg said. “Starting as a freshman is hard enough and when you open the season in the toughest city in the state it makes it that more difficult. All of the young boys did a great job.”
Freshmen on the team includes Drake Givens at 106, Brennan Wilson at 120, Christian Pendleton at 132, Ryan Stowers at 138, and Payton Lupton at 170 pounds.
“This is one of the best freshman groups we have had in recent years,” Newburg added. “We have a bunch of upperclassmen that are really good leaders and wrestlers which is helping us in the early going. We had seven placers in the top eight. Also wrestling well was sophomore Miles Moyer going 7-3 for the two day Tournament. Once we get our weight classes set and the freshman get some more experience I think we will be a very competitive team moving on.”
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email at Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind