Bay, Fairview have strong showings in GLC tournament

Buckeye left no doubt when it came to the wrestling hierarchy of the Great Lakes Conference on Jan. 30.

The Bucks won league championships in six weight classes and had three runners-up, their 208.5 points giving them the team title over eight other schools inside the Valley Forge High School gym.

Bay scored 154 points to finish second, followed by Parma (142), Fairview (111.5), Holy Name (76), Normandy (71), Rocky River (47), Valley Forge (28) and conference newcomer Lakewood (16).

For most of the wrestlers involved, though, simply competing in a tournament format was a victory in and of itself. A number of teams in the conference were taking part in their first tourney of a season marred by starts, stops and uncertainty due to COVID-19.

For Fairview senior Jack Elmore, the first tournament of his season was a showcase for what could be as the postseason draws near. Ranked ninth in the state at 126 pounds in Division III, he entered the day as a 3-seed and knocked off state-ranked opponents in back-to-back rounds to win the 126 championship.

“It does feel a little weird since this is my first tournament,” Elmore said. “This is the first time I’ve wrestled more than one match in a day...I still feel happy with getting to wrestle as much as I have with COVID. I wish we could’ve had more tournaments, but I still feel like I’m pretty prepared (for the postseason).”

He took on Parma’s Jayden Colon, the 2-seed, in the final, and was able to counter his offense with takedowns of his own on the way to a 10-6 decision. The league title was the product of a lot of hard work by Elmore, who transferred to Fairview this year after previously attending St. Edward.

“It feels super great to finally achieve these accomplishments that I’ve been working towards my whole life,” he said.

The Warriors put together an impressive showing, collectively, sending four athletes to the finals and getting two others into the top four. Including Elmore, three came away with league titles.

Returning state qualifier Declan Jewitt entered the tournament as the frontrunner at 160 and lived up to the billing. He began his day by pinning Lakewood’s Garrett Schweter in 54 seconds, then won a 17-2 decision over Buckeye’s Brandon Hayner. In the final, he pinned Bay’s Jack Hildebrand in 1:25.

The Warriors senior said he felt like the tournament was a good tuneup for Division III sectionals, which start at the end of the month.

“I feel like things could always be better, but we’re always working,” Jewitt said. “I’m doing what I can and we’ve been practicing hard. My coach told me to go out there and wrestle hard all the time, so I was just getting my takedowns, making my turns and trying to push myself more so I can keep getting better.”

Timothy Paxton pinned Buckeye’s Joe Maitland in 1:29 of the 182 final to secure Fairview’s third championship of the day

The Rockets had one tournament before Jan. 29, having competed in the Cobos Classic at Avon Lake one week prior. On the way to their second-place finish, they sent six wrestlers to the finals and came away with two champions in 195-pounder Griffen Novotny and 220-pounder Mason Cover.

Novotny, ranked 26th in the state in Division II at 195, was matched up in his final with a bigger opponent in Buckeye’s Caleb Chipgus, but was able to stay on top of him throughout and not let him score a takedown. He went on to win via a 10-1 decision.

“I knew (Chipgus) was really strong and I didn’t want to get into any tie-ups with him, 50-50 things,” Novotny said. “I just rode him and was very safe (in my approach).”

Novotny’s training partner on practice days, Cover, had a bye into the semifinals, but pinned his way to the 220 title, beating Rocky River’s John Sadiku in 1:26 and Fairview’s Alex Barnhart in 2:18.

Lakewood’s top finisher of the day was heavyweight Brandyn Bates, who lost to Buckeye’s Todd Allen in the final via pin in 1:56. Allen is ranked fifth at 285 in Division II.

Rocky River had a pair of third-place finishers in Obaida Abazied (145) and Johnny Bebie (182).

GLC Championships

At Valley Forge

Team scores: 1. Buckeye 208.5 points; 2. Bay 154; 3. Parma 142; 4. Fairview 111.5; 5. Holy Name 76; 6. Normandy 71; 7. Rocky River 47; 8. Valley Forge 28; 9. Lakewood 16.

Championship matches–106: Colyn Limbert (Buckeye) tech. fall Anthony Rocco (Bay) 19-2; 113: Jayson Knapp (Buckeye) dec. Giancarlo Castillo (Normandy) 17-3; 120: Logan Cravatas (Buckeye) tech. fall Joshua Lampa (Normandy) 17-2; 126: Jack Elmore (Fairview) dec. Jayden Colon (Parma) 10-6; 132: Dominic Byrd (Parma) dec. Francisco Velez (Holy Name) 8-3; 138: Eddie Neitenbach (Buckeye) tech. fall Michael Hatgas (Holy Name) 23-8; 145: Nathan Frost (Normandy) dec. Preston DiMarco (Buckeye) 7-4; 152: Daniel Devera (Parma) pinned Ethan Taylor (Bay) 2:34; 160: Declan Jewitt (Fairview) pinned Jack Hildebrand (Bay) 1:25; 170: Dillon Badiu (Buckeye) pinned Ashton Mazey (Bay) 1:59; 182: Timothy Paxton (Fairview) pinned Joe Maitland (Buckeye) 1:29; 195: Griffen Novotny (Bay) dec. Caleb Chipgus (Buckeye) 10-1; 220: Mason Cover (Bay) pinned Alex Barnhart (Fairview) 2:18; 285: Todd Allen (Buckeye) pinned Brandyn Bates (Lakewood) 1:56.

Third-place matches–106: Eli Kravanis (Holy Name) pinned Charlie Williamson (Valley Forge) 4:33; 113: Jack Oster (Bay) by default; 120: Matt Hatgas (Holy Name) pinned Daniel Lehmann (Valley Forge) 2:55; 126: Quinn Sanfillipo (Bay) dec. Joseph Hatgas (Holy Name) 11-7; 132: Nolan Martin (Buckeye) dec. Jacob Lampa (Normandy) 8-0; 138: Artie Oravec (Parma) pinned Jack Young (Bay) 1:32; 145: Obaida Abazied (Rocky River) dec. Cole Karliak (Fairview) 8-4; 152: Quinn Bruder (Fairview) dec. Frankie Svancara (Buckeye) 4-3; 160: Corvin Smith (Parma) pinned Omar Abazied (Rocky River) 1:20; 170: Joe Dachtler (Parma) pinned Scot Ribar (Valley Forge) 1:43; 182: Johnny Bebie (Rocky River) dec. Mo Othman (Bay) 8-4; 195: Tyler Germ (Parma) by default; 220: Aiden Leslie (Parma) pinned John Sadiku (Rocky River) 2:49; 285: Alex Smith (Parma) dec. Kyle Miller (Normandy) 3-2.

Contact this reporter at sports@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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