By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
Lakeside’s Chuck Morgan and Kyle Conel headline an impressive performance by area grapplers at the Division I district tournament at Mentor on Friday night.
Riverside stands in third place with 38 points, Madison is fifth with 33.5 and the Dragons are tied for ninth with 24. Massillon Perry leads with 90.5 points.
Morgan, a heavyweight, pinned his first opponent, Aaron Crosby of Valley Forge, in 28 seconds. He then pinned Jim Hammontree of Hoover in 3:03.
Conel scored a pin late in the first period in his opening bout at 195 pounds and came back to score an 8-5 victory over Chris Meffert of Lake to remain unbeaten.
Morgan (44-1) will face Massillon Perry’s Stefano Millin and Conel (45-0) will battle Barberton’s Aaron Tschantz in the championship semifinals.
The Beavers had four competitors reach the semifinals.
Nick Boggs (41-5) scored an 18-3 technical fall in his opener at 132 and used a 4-2 decision over Massillon Perry’s Jamie Norris to reach a battle with Lake’s Zac Carson. At 152 pounds, Connor Rigsby (33-13) pinned both of his opponents to set up a bout with Massillon Perry’s Tony Dailey.
Jake Denman (29-8) used a technical fall and a 4-3 victory over Hoover’s Tyler Maloy to reach a semifinal match with Solon’s Brian Hawkins at 160. Evan Rosborough (37-2) continued his march to Columbus with a pin and a 17-6 major decision. He will wrestle Kevin Agee of Shaker Heights for a spot in the finals.
Madison’s Nick Montgomery (13-1) is looking good in his pursuit of a fourth berth in Columbus after a technical fall and a pin. He will face Nick Steed of Canton GlenOak in his semifinal match.
The Blue Streaks’ Jarrad Lasko used wins of 10-1 and 5-3 to reach his semifinal matchup with Washington’s Ivan McClay.
Five of Perry’s 13 competitors have reached the championship semis to put the Pirates in third place with 66.5 points. Conneaut and Geneva are tied for 23rd with 11 points, Jefferson is 32nd with six and Edgewood hasn’t scored yet.
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary is in second with 69 points and Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy is in front with 80.5 points.
“We were actually first for most of the day,” Perry assistant Chris Bezzeg, filling in for coach Dave Rowan, said. “We slid to third, but we’re only two and a half points out of second. Everyone has chipped in and gotten a point or two.
“Of the top five teams, we’re the only public school. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Perry’s Collin Dees (37-5) netted a pin and an 11-3 major decision to set up a bout with SVSM’s John Schell. At 132, Aaran Gessic (22-1) used a pin and a technical fall to reach a semifinal bout with CVCA’s Andy Dobben. Alec Schenk (41-5) pinned his first opponent in the first period and his second opponent in the third at 160. He will wrestle Logan Reaser of Ravenna.
Evan Nichols pinned Tim Fitzwater of Northwest in 14 seconds to get off to a good start at 195. He followed it with a 20-3 tech fall in to reach a battle with Jerek Cropper of Akron Coventry. Heavyweight Billy Miller (39-2) continued his march to Columbus with a two pins in just more than two minutes. He will battle Drek Brumley of SVSM.
Having four wrestlers within a match of qualifying for Columbus, Bezzeg, filling in for coach Dave Rowan, acknowledged that it matters little whether the Pirates win or lose their next match, so long as they win one of their next two.
“It doesn’t matter what place they take, they just need to be in the top four,” Bezzeg said. “There’s a larger goal next week. We just talk about winning the next period, getting the next takedown or escape. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”
The Spartans’ Billy Post (44-1) kept up his roll at 220 with a pin and a 10-2 major decision. He will face West Branch’s Logan Sharp.
D-III, Garfield Heights
Pymatuning Valley and Grand Valley continue their rivalry even in the postseason. They are tied for 22nd place with eight points Apple Creek Waynedale leads with 48. Kirtland, coached by Jefferson’s Scott Francis is tied for fifth with 27.5.
Sean Szitas (34-5), looking for his second consecutive trip to Columbus, used a 6-4 decision and a 6-5 decision to set up a bout with Brad Potter of Orrville at 152 as the only local to reach the championship semifinals.
Evan Francis of Kirtland used a major decision and a pin to reach a semifinal with Clearview’s Mike Hollingsworth at 126.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.