Created on Friday, 26 December 2008 Written by AARON LaBATT
Along with the holiday season comes some great wrestling action over the course of the next few days.
Other than the postseason, this is the time of year I enjoy most because there are an overwhelming amount of exceptional matches to see and read about. Many top teams are doing battle head-to-head, providing some tremendous matchups.
Three of our local teams are involved in holiday tournaments. Indian Lake competes in one of my favorites: the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association holiday tournament in Vandalia. The event begins Saturday and concludes Sunday.
Bellefontaine is at the Marion Harding Classic on Monday and Tuesday and
Ohio Wrestling Radio.com
Here is a brief look at some of the top holiday tournaments coming up.
The GMVWA is a great look at all three divisions of Southwest Ohio wrestling. Powerhouse Graham is there and it is safe to say they will run away with the tournament in commanding fashion.
Last year the Falcons were 238.5 points ahead of the secondplace team and had 10 champions and two other finalists.
Graham will rule with an iron fist, but that doesn’t take away from some of the other great matches. Miamisburg, who was runner-up last season, is back and so is Ryle, a standout team from Kentucky. Clay has also had a lot of success this season and is a team I think will surprise some people.
Eastwood, which is usually a top-10 team at state, is traveling down to compete this weekend. However, this Eastwood team is a little down from previous years.
As for the Lakers, they have struggled at times this season with an extremely young roster. The GMVWA might not give them a lot of placers, but will be a good measuring stick of where they need to be in the future.
The Brecksville Invitational is quickly becoming the new fad tournament in Ohio behind the Ironman. Brecksville has consistently been a solid tournament in the past, but in recent years the top teams have been switching to this venue and increasing its stock.
The tournament this year, which is Monday and Tuesday, includes 13 state champions, 20 state finalists, 66 state placers and over 100 state qualifiers. From top to bottom, I feel Brecksville has a tougher field than some of the other holiday tournaments.
The host Bees are looking strong this season, returning tournament champion Troy Christian is back and Monroeville has its fabulous four wrestlers. Other standout squads include Wadsworth, University School, Central Crossing, Marion Pleasant and Miami Trace. Atalented Marysville team will also compete at the event.
Once heralded as the ‘Greatest Show in Wrestling’, the Medina Invitational, has lost it luster. The MIT, which is Monday and Tuesday, used to be the second toughest tournament in Ohio behind the Ironman. However, in recent years I feel it has dropped below a few other tournaments.
Lakewood St. Edward will no doubt win the meet again and other top teams include Massillon Perry, Davison, Mich. and an improved Beavercreek squad. On the other hand, I think teams that used to be marquee names like Oak Harbor, Claymont and Cuyahoga Falls Christian Academy will score points, but won’t have as many placers as they have in the past.
Brecksville gave a respectable showing for Ohio at the Beast of the East tournament in Delaware. The Bees finished 11th with 101 points. Standout Kyle Lang (160) finished second and Jeremy Johnson (285) was third.
It was no surprise that national power Blair Academy of New Jersey won the meet, but it is surprising that Blair won in such commanding fashion. The Blue Devils tamed the Beast with 329 points, crowned six champions and placed 12 of 14 wrestlers at one of the nation’s premier tournaments. Wyoming Seminary was a distant second with 160 points.
Nearby Mechanicsburg placed 10th out of 19 teams at the Bowling Green Bobcat Duals. The Indians went 4-5 over the two days and saw Nick Ziegler (130) go 9-0.
The Southwest Coaches Classic in Cincinnati was led by the Cincinnati-area’s elite teams. Cincinnati Moeller won the event, with Cincinnati Elder coming in second.
At the North Canton Holiday Invitational, University School edged Holt, Mich. 178-177.5 to place first. Cuyahoga Falls Christian Academy finished third (148.5).
Teays Valley went 5-0 to win the Pickerington Duals. The Vikings beat Fairfield 31- 28 in the championship.