by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Cuyahoga Falls -- After a season full of hardships and bad luck, Tallmadge head wrestling coach Jason Shaw hoped his team's fortunes would turn around in the postseason.
Unfortunately, the Blue Devils' luck remains the same: If it wasn't for bad luck, Tallmadge wouldn't have any at all.
After the Division II sectional tournament at Walsh Jesuit High School, Tallmadge advanced only one wrestler on to the district meet -- senior 106-pounder Dallas Testa. The tournament took place Feb. 15 and 16.
Team-wise, the Blue Devils finished 10th in the 11-team field at Walsh with 48 points. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy dominated the field with 266 points.
Shaw said Feb. 15 that optimism was running high in Tallmadge's camp coming into the tournament.
"We had a great week of practice," Shaw said. "We're hoping that five or six guys can get out of here this weekend.
However, the Blue Devils had only two wrestlers in the semifinals: Testa and senior 195-pounder Jake Wiegand.
Testa reached the semifinals by beating CVCA's Mason Brainard 12-4, but in the semifinal, he ran into top-seeded Alex Mackall of Walsh Jesuit. Mackall won via a 20-3 technical fall.
Testa rebounded and booked his berth at districts after pinning Cleveland Benedictine's Zack Krebs in 41 seconds. In the third-place match, however, Testa lost a 5-0 decision to Streetsboro's Sean Kuklisin.
Testa was set to face Coventry's Tucker Pearce in his opening-round match at the Division II district meet at Alliance. Results from districts were not available at press time.
Beyond that, it was heartbreaking weekend for the Blue Devils, particularly for Wiegand.
Wiegand started well, pinning Ravenna's A.J. Richmond in 46 seconds.
"We told Jake this tournament is his for the taking," Shaw said. "It's got to be all there for him."
However, Wiegand was upset 12-7 by Woodridge's Cody Jenkins in the semifinals and then lost in the consolation semifinals 8-3 to Aurora's A.J. Suchovsky.
Wiegand salvaged fifth place by pinning Pepper Pike Orange's Kenneth Golovan in 4:13, but had to settle for a district alternate position.
Tallmadge also got fifth-place finishes from 138-pounder Danny Amato and heavyweight Ben Cipa, while 160-pounder Justin Paonessa finished in sixth place.