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 teammates. 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.
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. Mancini said BHS junior John Dillon was not feeling well, but he did compete in the 119-pound class at state. Dillon is a two-time state placer and a prior district champion. His record entering state competition was 37-1.
At state, Dillon won the preliminary round by defeating Josh Parrett of Kettering Fairmont. In the quarter-finals he took a 9-8 decision over Salem’s Yosef Abdel to move on to the semi final round. In the semifinals, Dillon lost a 3-2 decision to LaSalle’s Max Byrd to continue into the fifth place match.
The battle for fifth ended up going to Angelo DiSabato of Hilliard-Davidson by default, leaving Dillion with a sixth place finish at state.
Boardman junior Nico Graziani competed in the 152-pound class in his first trip to state. Graziani is a prior district champion.
At state, Graziani won his preliminary round with a pin over Elyria’s Devan Price. That win sent Graziani into the quarterfinals where he fell to Kyle Bryant of Piqua by a 11-3 decision.
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 was making his first trip to state. His first taste of state ended in the preliminaries after a 9-1 decision went to Jacob Spearman of Lancaster.
“I feel great,” the young Mancini said. “I made it my sophomore year. It will only lead to bigger and better things.”
Coach Mancini, in his tenth year at Boardman, said, “These three will make 17 that Boardman has sent to state.”
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Boardman’s Nico Graziani made the quarter-final round of the state wrestling championship on Saturday.