Photos: There was plenty of buzz between Penn State (left) and Iowa...
Blair Academy and freshman Lee earn honors at 20th Ironman
CUYAHOGA, FALLS, Ohio — On Saturday Dec. 14, 2013, there were five seniors who got a chance to enjoy their first Walsh Ironman championship in their senior season.
That included Blair Academy’s Joey McKenna, who saw his New Jersey school win a 12th team championship in the 20 years of the prestigious tournament … and St. Paris Graham’s Micah Jordan, who became the third member of his “family” to leave Walsh Jesuit High School’s dome with a title.
And then there was also a freshman — Spencer Lee of Franklin Regional in Pennsylvania — who won all his matches at 113 pounds in the 2013 event, including a pin in the final that also presented the ninth grader the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award.
“This took a lot of hard work, dedication and a strong mindset,” said Lee, who is ranked No. 1 by WIN and scored two pins, two technical falls and one major decision in his five matches over Friday and Saturday in the Northeast Ohio community. His pin in 1:44 against Anthony Bosco of Marmion Academy (Ill.) in the final solidified his position as the best wrestler in this tournament.
Meanwhile Blair Academy, which did not learn until two weeks ago that it would be able to compete in this year’s Ironman, saw junior Matthew Kolodzik (126), McKenna (138) and senior Dylan Milonas (160) win individual titles and help Blair score 207.5 points to help the Bucs win a third straight championship.
Originally, it appeared that Blair would not be able to attend the Ironman after the New Jersey state association suggested the tournament’s starting date — a week later than normal — would not allow the prep school to compete in this year’s event.
“I was so disappointed,” said Milonas, who pinned Alex Marinelli of St. Paris Graham in 4:51 of their 160-pound final. “This is the toughest tournament of the year, one of a kind.” The chance to return to Ohio also allowed Milonas to win a second championship. In 2011, he won his first Ironman, but finished third last year.
Meanwhile, the Valencia brothers of St. John Bosco High School of California, each won championships.
Zahid defeated Brock Ervin of Union County in Kentucky, 5-3, to win the 132-pound championship and claim his third title in as many years. His older brother, Anthony, meanwhile defeated Myles Martin of McDonogh School, 8-2, to win the 170-pound championship; giving the junior his first Ironman championship after simply placing in the past two Ironmen tournaments.
“It was tough not winning those years, especially after my brother won it in his freshman and sophomore years,” said Anthony. “But I kept my composure, kept working and finally won it.”
For Jordan, who wrestles for his father, Jeff Jordan, this championship took the sting out of finishing second in the 2012 Ironman, when his older brother Bo — now a freshman at Ohio State — won a third Ironman championship. Their cousin, Isaac, meanwhile won a championship in 2011 for St. Paris Graham. The following is a listing of all the placement matches, including the wrestler’s record and year in school.