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.”
Canfield’s two state qualifiers, seniors Robby Reed and Alex Benedict, both got the opportunity to wrestle competitors other than their usual Canfield sparring partners. Conley felt that would give them a better workout coming up to the state finals that began on Thursday last week.
Reed, who competes in the 125-pound weight class, went all the way to the finals. He was pinned in the finals by Johnni DiJulius of Cuyahoga Falls in a time of 3:19 to earn second place in the championship standings.
“This is my first trip to state,” Reed said. “I credit my coaches, parents, the team and Alex [Benedict] for getting me there.”
He said last week that his plan was to win state. Although he didn’t come home with the title, he did get as close as anyone possibly could without doing it.
Reed began his wrestling career while in fourth grade. He signed up for the Canfield youth wrestling program. Over the years he improved his skills and this season posted a 40-3 record.
Like Reed, Benedict also ended his senior season as second in the state in the 130 pound weight class. He fell to Tyler Hackworth of Oak Harbor in a 2-0 decision. This was also Benedict’s first trip to state.
Benedict got his wrestling start a little earlier than Reed. He joined Canfield youth wrestling while in the first grade.
When both Benedict and Reed hit the high school level, they became best friends and were sparring partners for the past four years. Remarkably, both placed second at districts this year as well.
As a team, Canfield was ranked 11th in the state finals.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Canfield’s Alex Benedict took second place in the Div. II state finals on Saturday. He wrestled in the 125-pound weight class.