Tallmadge wrestlers falls to Nordonia and Wadsworth


by Michael Leonard

Sports Editor

Wadsworth -- Seeing red and green is generally a good thing during the holidays.

Seeing red and green across from you during a Suburban League double dual meet?

Not so much.

That's because seeing those colors mean you're facing Suburban League heavyweights Wadsworth and Nordonia, which is exactly what the Tallmadge wrestling team did Dec. 19 at Wadsworth.

The results: The Blue Devils lost 53-9 to the Grizzlies and 62-15 to the Knights.

The meet wrapped up a busy seven days for Tallmadge. On Dec. 12 at Revere, Tallmadge lost to Copley 45-24 and to Green 43-32.

"We didn't wrestle as well as I hoped we could," Blue Devils head coach Jason Shaw said of the Dec. 12 matches. "We left too many matches on the mat and I wasn't happy with the number of pins we gave up."

Taking a team comprised mostly of second-team wrestlers to the GMC Performance Duals Dec. 14 at Columbiana, Tallmadge went 2-3. The Blue Devils defeated Canton Timken 39-30 and Columbiana 48-30, but lost to Hubbard 41-21, Austintown Fitch 41-39 and Waterloo 40-32.

Shaw said 132-pounder Dustin McGraw was the team's most valuable wrestler of the duals as he went 5-0.

As a result, the Blue Devils' dual-meet record stands at 2-7 overall and 0-4 in the Suburban League heading into 2014.

Although Tallmadge won only five individual matches against Nordonia and Wadsworth, Shaw was not discouraged by his team's performance.

"Like I told them coming into [Dec. 19], we've got nothing to lose," Shaw said. "I won't be upset at them for making any mistakes as long as we're being aggressive. And a lot of the kids were, especially against Wadsworth. We battled them. That's something that didn't happen last year."

The Blue Devils' lone double winner on the night was junior heavyweight Ben Cipa. Cipa used his 6-foot-9 frame to perfection as he threw Wadsworth's Jeremy Randolph onto his back in third period and scored the pin at 5 minutes, 35 seconds.

Against Nordonia's Brandon Rem, Cipa used his height and weight advantage to overpower the Knight senior and pin him in 3:59.

"He's really starting to put things together," Shaw said of Cipa. "He's learning how to win. It was a big step in the right direction."

Against Wadsworth, Tallmadge's only other win came from 220-pounder Jacob Lahtonen, who scored a 4-2 win over Kyle Green.

Against the Knights, junior 106-pounder Terrell Grant got the win in a back-and-forth match with Nordonia's Cam Duvall. Grant turned Duvall onto his back in the third period to earn a 10-5 win.

Blue Devils' 195-pounder Travis Darago picked up a forfeit win against Nordonia.

Beyond that, it was a tough night for Tallmadge, which gave up eight pins, two technical falls and a major decision to Nordonia.

Against Wadsworth, the Blue Devils did a better job staying off their backs, surrendering only four pins.

Tallmadge was scheduled to travel to St. Clairsville Dec. 27 and 28 to participate in the America's Best Value Inn Tournament. The competition is set to begin Dec. 27 at 11 a.m. and is scheduled to resume Dec. 28 at 10 a.m.

"I think the guys are looking forward to going down there," Shaw said. "We're looking forward to trying to finish in the top two."

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