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STVM wrestling team takes home eight sectional titles

2/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

DOWNTOWN AKRON — This past weekend, the St. Vincent-St. Mary (STVM) High School wrestling team went away with eight sectionals titles and two additional top-four finishes at the Division II Northwest sectional.

The eight sectional champions were: John Chell, 113 pounds; Garrett Carter, 120 pounds; Michael Rix, 126 pounds; Walter Gibson, 132 pounds; Ryan Skonieczny, 138 pounds; Shawn Sovovool, 170 pounds; Aaron Adkins, 182 pounds; and Drek Brumley, 285 pounds.

In addition, Ben Knaus, 145 pounds, took third place and Matt Chu, 152 pounds, came in fourth place.

Head coach Anthony Gary said he knew coming into the season that STVM had a real opportunity to make some noise this year.

“We figured if we could get the kids in the weight room and working in the offseason, that we could have a pretty good season,” he said. “The kids have bought in this season, definitely. This weekend, with only taking 12 kids, and to have 10 of them qualify for the districts and to have eight kids in the finals all winning convincingly shows they all bought in. They all feed off each other, and you can see them feeling good about their confidence level and their wrestling ability. It’s nice to see that, and it’s nice to see them growing and maturing.”

According to the coach, the team has shown marked improvement as the season has progressed.

“Every week, we’ve been getting better,” he stated. “You know, our schedule is so difficult. We started out with some really hard tournaments — we went to the Ironman, we went to Brecksville and we went to a tournament in Pittsburgh — and we wrestled some great competition. As coaches, we are always trying to push the conditioning, and the kids are rising to the level of competition. As the season goes on, we become battle-tested from some of those bigger competitions, and it makes it easier for us to focus and make the transition to the postseason. That’s why we go to those big tournaments, so we’re ready to go when it gets time for sectionals and districts and state.”

Next up for the team will be the district tournament at Alliance High School tomorrow, Feb. 22. The event will start that day at 3 p.m. and continue Feb. 23 at 10 a.m.

“We’re in one of the toughest districts for Division II,” Gary said. “We have some real tough weight classes. I expect our kids to continue with the progress they made this past weekend. I look for us to have multiple kids qualifying for the state tournament.”

It’s worth noting that not only is the team set up well for this postseason, but STVM is well positioned for future success, as nearly everyone on this year’s team is scheduled to return next season, according to Gary. The only senior on the team this season, Gary said, is Rix.

“Mike is a three-time state placer. He took fourth, then he was a state champ his sophomore year, and he took fourth last year,” the coach stated. “He had a pin in the [sectional] finals [Feb. 17]. He had a great performance.”

Gary, who has been the STVM wrestling coach for a decade, said the future is incredibly bright for the program.

“I think we’re on a nice big upswing,” he said. “We have a good incoming freshman class and we have a lot of interest from the youth and junior high kids in the area, and I think the program has taken many steps in a forward direction. The kids are getting better and are earning some hardware at the state level.”

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