High school wrestling: Wadsworth wins 13th consecutive Grizzly tournament with three individual champions

By Michael Beaven
Beacon Journal sports writer

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North Canton Hoover's Mike Portilla (top) pins Ryle's Jack Dorne during their 145 lb. championship match at the Grizzly Invitational Wrestling Tournament Saturday at Wadsworth High School. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal)

WADSWORTH: The wrestlers in the home red-and-white singlets made sure to keep the Grizzly Invitational Tournament team title in house for another year.

“We like being the top dog,” Wadsworth sophomore Noah Baughman said after winning his 106-pound title Saturday.

Wadsworth was indeed the top dog in the 28th annual Grizzly Invitational Tournament with Baughman, junior Tim Knipl and senior Clayton Brandenburg winning individual championships.

Wadsworth won the 16-team event with 466.5 points. Oregon Clay was second with 406.5 points, and North Canton Hoover and Olentangy Liberty tied for third with 327.5 points apiece. Kenston (256 points) and Field (242.5 points) were fifth and sixth.

The triumph is the 13th team title in a row for the Grizzlies in the event and 19th overall.

“We take a lot of pride in our wrestling program and our school, obviously with our tradition,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “This is a showcase event like we want and we want to show off our school. At the same time, all are alumni come back and work. They don’t want to be embarrassed. They still care about the program.”

Baughman won a 10-5 decision over Oregon Clay freshman Nick Henneman at 106.

“This means a lot,” said Baughman, a two-time Grizzly Invitational champ. “Our kids have fun wrestling here. It is nice wrestling in front of the home crowd. It always means something when your parents and friends are sitting in the stands. You always wrestle that much harder.”

Knipl won at 170 by injury default after Hoover senior Tyler Maloy suffered a hand injury in the first period. Knipl was up 2-0 when the injury occurred.

“It is great to come in here and win your own tournament, especially after losing in the finals last year,” Knipl said. “It is nice to redeem that and it is also nice to get the team points.”

Brandenburg placed first at 195 following an 11-5 decision over Field senior Andy Eckhart. This is his first Grizzly Invitational title after missing last year’s tournament due to an injury.

“This is a great thing to win for our school and for our team,” Brandenburg said. “It is only the home event we get to hold and call our own.”

Wadsworth senior Alex Carrell placed second at 182.

“Clayton beat a really good kid from Field, who had beat a state runner-up in the semifinals [Saturday], the kid from Sandusky [junior Isaiah Margheim],” Gramuglia said. “That was huge. Timmy Knipl was solid and so was Noah. All three really wrestled well all day.”

Oregon Clay finished the night with five champions: juniors Richie Screptock (132) and junior Nick Stencel (160), seniors Gavin Nelson (138) and Antonio Zapata (285) and sophomore Matt Stencil (182).

North Canton Hoover junior Mike Portilla was pleased with his title at 145, which he earned by pin in one minute and 15 seconds against Ryle junior Jack Dorne.

Portilla overcame a pectoral muscle injury and two bouts of ringworm this season.

“It feels great to come out here and get this win,” Portilla said. “I just wrestled hard.”

Olentangy Liberty won three titles courtesy of sophomore Kristofe Volpe (113), junior Jonathan Furnas (120) and senior Giuseppe Penzone (126).

Warren Howland juniors David-Brian Whisler (152) and Mike Bell (220) also won titles.

Field had three second-place finishers, Eckhart, sophomore Cory Simpson (113) and senior Jimmy Kubitza (138).

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy seniors Jeff Hojnacki (152) and Michael Meadows (220) finished second.

Other second-place wrestlers were Ryle sophomore Logan Erdman (120), University seniors Walker Chieffe (126) and Kostas Parrish (285), Findlay sophomore Christia Sanchez (132) and Hilliard Darby junior Jordan Radich (160).

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.

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