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Photo: Members of the 2017-18 Blair Academy wrestling team celebrate winning a 14th all-time Ironman team championship in the 24 years of the event that is held at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. (Robert Preston photo)
By Mike Finn
CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — Blair Academy was expected to win a 14th all-time team championship in the 2017 Walsh-Jesuit Ironman by sending five wrestlers to Saturday night’s finals and two Bucs — Trevor Mastrogiovanni at 113 pounds and Michael Colaiocco at 120 pounds — made sure the legendary program ended the endeavor in style by scoring a shutout and a fall in the final two final bouts of the 24th annual event.
“It was really cool for Trevor and Michael,” said Blair alumnus and coach Brian Antonelli, who took over the program in 2014 and lead the New Jersey prep school and a No. 1 national ranking for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons. “They were our only two champs but what a great way to end. I’m glad (tournament officials) started the finals at 126.”
Overall, Blair scored 249.5 points with 32.5 points coming from Colaiocco, who flattened Montini Catholic’s Joey Melendez in the final bout of the night.
Before Blair captured its only championships after Andrew Merola (160), Leo Tarantino (182) and Ryan Miller (106) lost title bouts, it was second-place St. Paris Graham making most of the noise: first from 138-pound J.D. Stickley, the No. 7 seed who upset top-seed Jaden Abas from Rancho Bernado, Calif., 11-7, despite wrestling on an injured ankle; and then a pin by Rocky Jordan at 170 pounds, becoming the third Jordan brother — joining current Ohio State Buckeyes Bo and Micah Jordan — and son of Graham coach Jeff Jordan to win an Ironman title for the Ohio high school.
Top-10 School Finishes
|1.||Blair Academy, NJ||249.5|
|2.||Graham HS, OH||196.5|
|3.||Wyoming Seminary, PA||158.5|
|4.||Montini Catholic, IL||158.0|
|5.||Lake Highland Prep School, FL||128.5|
|6.||St. Edward, OH||114.0|
|7.||Christian Brothers College, MO||101.5|
|8.||La Salle, OH||81.5|
|9.||Malvern Prep, PA||71.0|
|10.||Perry (Massillon) H.S., OH||70.5|
The following are highlights from the 14 championship matches, that included three pins, a repeat championship from Michael Beard and even a near fight between two of the coaches:
2017 Ironman Championship Highlights (Started at 126 pounds)
126 — #3 Malik Johnson (Christian Brothers) dec. #4 Jordan Crace (St. Paris, Graham), 5-4
Johnson, a three-time Missouri state champ, opened the scoring with a second-period escape. He then came out on top of a scramble with eight seconds left in that period, but Crace reversed him just before the end of the period to make the match 3-2. Johnson won the bout by scoring a takedown with 17 seconds left.
132 — #1 Joey Silva (Lake Highland Prep, Fla.) dec. #2 Real Woods (Montini Catholic, Ill.), 5-2 tb
A pair of technical points against Woods — when he shoe flew off his foot — played a big part in the victory by Silva, a runner-up to Spencer Lee a year ago.
The first occurred in the second period and later in overtime when Woods’ shoe came off for a second time in the bout after Silva got an escape. Woods’ coach Israel Martinez came running across the mat to the main table to say Silva had pulled his shoe off on purpose, which drew Silva’s coach out of the corner. Then, the two coaches nearly got into a fight on the mat, forcing police to come storming onto the mat to get both coaches back to their corners and to settle the crowd down. Once peace returned, Woods let Silva up in his portion of the tiebreaker to make it 5-2.
138 — #7 J.D. Stickley (St. Paris, Graham, Ohio) dec. #1 Jaden Abas (Rancho Bernado, Calif.), 11-7
About a minute into the match, Stickley opened with a takedown and back points off a tilt to take 5-0 lead, Abas then got a reversal and put Stickley in a cradle to tie the match at 5-5. Stickley opened up his lead to 9-6 with a throw-by for a takedown with a little over a minute left in the match, added a two-point near-fall and ended up just being too much for Abas in the third period in the 11-7 win.
145 — Brock Hardy (Box Elder, Utah) pinned #5 Kendell Coleman (Mt. Carmel, Ill.), 4:57
The lightning-quick Hardy put two takedowns on the board for a 5-0 lead, then put Coleman in near-side cradle after the second one with a little over a minute left in the match and quickly got the fall at 4:57.
152 — #1 David Carr (Massillon Perry, Ohio) dec. #3 Anthony Artalona (Tampa Prep, Fla.), 8-1
Carr, a runner-up last year, opened the match with a takedown, then added three more points off a tilt to take the 5-0 lead just before the end of the first period. Carr got another takedown late in the third off the pursuing Artalona, but the first-period scoring sequence proved to be the difference in the win.
160 — #2 Ryan Thomas dec. #1 Andrew Merola (Blair Academy, NJ), 1-0
The only point came when Thomas escaped in the second period, and then rode out Merola the entire third period.
170 — #3 Rocky Jordan (St. Paris Graham, Ohio) pinned #4 Emil Soehnlen (Massilon Perry, Ohio) 5:56
Jordan was trailing 3-2 late in the match when — after getting in deep on a shot — the two men scrambled and Jordan scored the pin when he caught Soehnlen on his back while rolling through on a scramble, not even takedown points had been awarded yet. Soehnlen’s coaches protested the call, asking the officials for an explanation of the call but the fall was upheld. The Perry wrestler scored the match’s only takedown in the first period.
182 — #2 A.J. Ferrari (Allen, Texas) dec. #4 Leo Tarantino (Blair Academy, N.J.), 5-3
Ferrari got a second-period takedown to tie the match 2-2. Then in the third, the 16-year-old Ferrari scored an escape and another takedown for the win.
195 — #1 Michael Beard (Malvern Prep, Pa.) major dec. #7 Jayden Woodruff (Ponderosa, Colo.), 21-9
Beard defended his 2016 title in fine form when he opened up an 8-4 lead midway through a wild first period. Beard continued the scoring frenzy in the second, taking Woodruff down at will. Beard’s final takedown came with just over a 20 seconds to finish off an impressive 21-9 win for his second Ironman title in a row for the Penn State-bound wrestler.
220 — #1 Braxton Amos (Parkersburg South, W.Va.) dec. #2 Ben Goldin (Lake Highland Prep, Fla.), 2-1
Amos scored first with a reversal in the early part of the third period. Goldin was able to escape, but no further points were scored as Amos added an Ironman championship to go with his Super 32 title.
Hwt — #2 Cohlton Schultz (Ponderosa, Colo.) pinned #4 P.J. Mustipher (McDonough, Md.), 2:32
Schultz, the Cadet World champion in Greco, got a fall at the 2:32 mark of the bout after using a turk to turn Mustipher, who has signed to play defensive line for Penn State, to his back in what was a scoreless match.
106 — #2 Jacob Decatur (Cuyahoga Valley Christian, Ohio) dec. #4 Ryan Miller (Blair Academy, NJ), 5-3
Decatur scored first with a first-period takedown. Decatur hit a huge double 30 seconds into the third period for a 5-2 lead, then held off Miller’s end-of-the-bout takedown attempts and won 5-3.
113 — #3 Trevor Mastrogiovani (Blair Academy, NJ) dec. #8 Cevion Severado (Christian Brothers), 7-0
Mastrogiovani got the first takedown, and then tilted Severado for a 4-0 lead. Mastrogiovani then added a second-period takedown and didn’t allow Severado any leg attacks in the third period for the shutout.
120 — #2 Michael Colaiocco (Blair Academy, N.J.) pinned #1 Joey Melendez (Montini Catholic, Ill.), 3:32
Colaiocco opened the match with a takedown early in the first period. Up 2-1, Colaiocco then rolled up Melendez in a cradle for the fall at 3:32 in the bout between the two athletic 120-pounders.