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Maintaining Tradition

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Wadsworth, Brunswick combine for 12 qualifiers

By: Brad Bournival

Obtained From: The Gazette

PERRYSBURG — Retool, reload, rebuild. Call it what you like, but the Wadsworth and Brunswick wrestling programs continue to run roughshod. No one would have faulted the Grizzlies, who lost state runner-up Tim Knipl and state placer Shane Mast to graduation, had they taken a step back this season.

Wadsworth’s Noah Baughman said. “To those guys with big futures, I know there are guys going for the first time with huge goals. “The first time down is eyeopening. It’s a whole new level, it’s a whole new intensity and experience. To get your first match out of the way there is bigger than you would think. Everyone else thinks, ‘Oh, it’s a wrestling match.’ It’s not. Everything is on the line when you’re there, crowds are crazy and you wrestle all the best kids.”

The best will come from Brunswick, too, as two-time state runner-up Nick Kiussis (152) won a district title. He’ll return to Columbus with veteran junior Aaron Naples (2nd, 195), threetime state placer Josh Heil (3rd, 138) and two-time state placing senior Garrett Lambert (3rd, 126). The four will also bring senior Zach Molnar (3rd, 170) and freshman Logan Heil (4th, 113). “It’s awesome,” Kiussis said. “I feel like we worked harder than we ever have throughout the whole year. I feel like we took it up a whole new level. For someone like Molnar to make it through, it’s awesome to be taking six guys to state.” Much like Wadsworth, taking those six won’t just form a stronger bond in Columbus, it will serve notice for the youth to kick it up a notch as well.

That’s what builds a solid foundation and it’s what Kiussis hopes continues next season when he heads into his senior season. “It gives the younger kids motivation,” Kiussis said. “It’s something to look up to. I think we’re a lot better simply because we put the work in. I think our room could have been just as good, if not better, a couple years ago if we went hard and done the right things. I think we’re better because of it.” That had Blue Devils coach Mike Koshar smiling after district. A veteran of wrestling, he knows success breeds success.

“It’s the direction we’re trying to get the program to go in,” he said. “It lets us know we’re doing the right thing. We had five or so qualify for the junior high state tournament. They see what these guys are doing and they want to reproduce that.” Medina’s Jared Dressler (106) became a first-time state qualifier after a fourth-place finish that few saw coming. It’s a base the sophomore will use moving forward. “Everyone had me as an underdog,” Dressler said. “They didn’t expect me to do this. Now, I have a target on my back.”

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