by Michael Leonard
The Tallmadge wrestling squad has had some success outside the confines of the Suburban League this season.
As coach Jason Shaw knows, however, the Blue Devils' performance in the Suburban League is the true measuring stick of progress.
On that note, Shaw has to be happy after what happened Jan. 9 on its home mats: For the first time in years, Tallmadge scored two wins in a Suburban League double dual meet.
What's more, the Blue Devils won the two matches in emphatic fashion, beating Highland 51-26 and Cloverleaf 54-27.
With the win, Tallmadge's dual meet record improved to 4-7 overall and 2-4 in the Suburban League.
Needless to say, Shaw was very happy with the outcomes.
"I can't remember winning both matches in the same night," Shaw said. "It was a good night for us."
Shaw noted the wins were even more impressive considering regular staters Terrell Grant, Danny Amato and Joe Siesel all were held out of the lineup due to minor injuries.
Highland's lineup didn't have any wrestlers from 182 pounds up, so the Blue Devils got 24 points worth of forfeits.
Tallmadge got pins from Fernando Wanton (126 pounds), Josh Postok (138) and Justin Paonessa (170) as well as an 8-3 win by Cailen Jackson (160).
Against Cloverleaf, every win the Blue Devils got was worth six points. That included pins from Potok, Paonessa, freshman Foster Zalar (120), freshman Devon Manning (182) and heavyweight Ben Cipa.
Shaw said he was looking forward to Cipa taking on some better competition in the coming weeks.
Travis Darago (195) and Jacob Lahtonen (220) each went 2-0 with a pair of forfeits
"This is the time to be peaking and moving forward towards sectionals," Shaw said.
Tallmadge was set to close out its league schedule by hosting Revere Jan. 16, followed by a trip to the Bill Dies Memorial Tournament Jan. 17 and 18 at Firestone High School in Akron. Results of these meets were not available at press time.
Tallmadge is scheduled to compete at the Josh Hephner Memorial Tournament Jan. 24 (4 p.m.) and 25 (9 a.m.) at Austintown Fitch High School.