Canfield coach Dean Conley said the whole idea came together when he contacted Boardman coach Dom Mancini. He said the original intent was to offer a chance for the state qualifiers to get in some practice sessions with wrestlers other than their team mates. The suggestion was made to contact another school or two and when all was said and done, there were seven schools represented at Canfield that included Boardman, Jackson-Milton, Pymatuning Valley, West Branch, Hubbard and Girard.
With so many state qualifiers in one place, Conley contacted the media and made it an unofficial “media day” event.
It worked out so well that there is already talk of doing it again next year.
“We all have wrestlers going to state,” Conley said. “This gathering was well received and I think it will become an annual thing.”
From Boardman, two of the three contenders showed for the joint practice session. Boardman head wrestling coach Dom Mancini said junior John Dillon was not feeling well, but plans on competing in the 119-pound class. Dillon is a two-time state placer and a prior district champion.
Boardman junior Nico Graziani will be competing in the 152-pound class in his first trip to state. Graziani is a prior district champion.
Boardman sophomore Nick Mancini said he has met his goal of going to state in his second year of high school. Mancini wrestles in the 103-pound class and also is making his first trip to state.
Coach Mancini, in his tenth year at Boardman, said, “These three will make 17 that Boardman has sent to state.”
On the Canfield side, two have qualified. Seniors Robby Reed and Alex Benedict will be heading to state this year. Both served as state alternates last year, but never made the trip.
Reed placed second at districts and will be competing in the 125-pound class while Benedict will be wrestling in the 130-pound class. Benedict also placed second at districts.
The state tournament will run on Thursday, Friday and will wrap up on Saturday.
Photos by J.T. whitehouse, Town Crier
On their way to the state finals in wrestling are Boardman grapplers junior Nico Graziani and sophomore Nick Mancini. Also going, but not pictured is junior John Dillon.