Handwerk first Longhorn two-time state champion

State Wrestling Meet
By Joe Ostrica

Lutheran West junior James Handwerk did it again. After picking up a 7-1 decision victory in the Division III 182-pound division, Handwerk became the first Longhorn wrestler to win two state championships. The victory boosted his final record for the season to 49-3 overall.
Handwerk defeated Pymatuning Valley’s Gaige Willis for the state championship in Columbus last Saturday. Handwerk scored a takedown in the first period to take a 2-0 lead going into the second period. Willis chose the down position and Handwerk was able to ride it out for the session. Handwerk was awarded a penalty point in the third period for locking hands by Willis.
Each wrestler was rewarded an additional point for stalling. With 20 seconds to go in the match Handwerk earned an escape and had a beautiful throw for a takedown to finish the match with a 7-1 decision. Handwerk did not give up an offensive point the entire state tournament.
“James did a great job staying composed through the match,” Lutheran West head wrestling coach Dave Ressler said. “Willis went on the defensive right from the first whistle. He basically wrestled from his knees.
“James stayed focused and picked his spot to score the opening points and was in control the entire match. The throw at the end of the match for the final takedown was impressive and a great way to end the match.”
Handwerk won the state title last year at the 170-pound division, going 4-0 in his bracket and finishing up with a 9-4 decision victory in the title match.
Olmsted Falls had three wrestlers competing at the Division I state level. Patrick Simon advanced to the 185-pound fifth-place match, where he fell by a pin in 4:59 to Copley’s Arman Samouk. Simon pinned Massillon Perry’s Adam Gregorie in 5:10 in the consolation preliminaries. He followed up with an 8-7 decision over Springboro’s Jonathan Floyd in the championship quarterfinals. Simon also wrestled in the championship semifinals, falling 18-2.
Bulldog Tony Caraffi was competing in the 170 pound weight class, getting as far as the seventh-round finals. After losing 5-2 in the championship preliminaries, Caraffi, pinned Ti-Ric Evans of Elder in 1:59 for a consolation round one victory. Caraffi followed up with a consolation round two win, a 2-0 decision against SWC foe Alec Forrer of Midview. Caraffi fell in a close 2-1 decision against Wadsworth’s Alex Jones in the consolation quarterfinals. Caraffi, wrapped things up with a 6-0 win over Will Stratton of Hilliard Bradley in the seventh-place match.
Teammate Noel Caraballo won his first match, an 8-4 win over Kyle Vilsack of St. Ignatius in the 195-pound championship preliminaries. He fell in the championship quarterfinals and the consolation round two matches.
Avon’s Tate Zemen wrestled in two matches in 106 pounds before falling 7-5 in the first round of the consolation match. Teammate Adam Kirresh wrestled at 138 pounds for the Eagles, but also fell after two matches.

Rockets, Huhn wrestle in Division II
The Bay wrestling squad had two athletes representing the Rockets in the Division II state championship meet. Vince Zitiello competed at the 152-pound division. Teammate Josh Barr battled in the 182-pound weight class, but fell in the championship preliminary and the first round of the consolation bracket.
Zitiello reached the seventh-place finals, winning the match with a 7-0 decision against St. Vincent-St. Mary wrestler Michael McIntire. He also had wins in the second round of the consolation bracket, defeating Defiance’s Kohle Clellan 11-1, Championship preliminaries and a 7-0 decision win over Sheridan’s Jarrett Munyan in the championship preliminaries. Zitiello fell in the consolation quarterfinals and championship quarterfinals matches.
Brookside junior Brad Huhn competed at the 113-pound weight division. After falling 5-0 in the championship preliminaries to Lukus Stricker of Hoban, Huhn lost a close battle to Hamilton Ross’s Jake Gentry in the consolation round one.

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