Poland youth wrestling team wrapped up the season on a good note by sending three to districts and having one grappler qualify for the state tournament in Akron later this month.
According to coach Dan Pagan, three of his sixth-grade wrestlers made the districts finals where they competed against wrestlers from 200 other youth wrestling teams from around Ohio. From that event held in Austintown at the beginning of the month, Jacob Blackburn placed second in the 95-lb. class; Scott Campbell placed second in the 132-lb. class and Joey Villani took fourth in the 175-lb. class. Campbell also qualified for state in Akron later this month.
"We haven't had a state qualifier in four years," Pagan said. "Scott is a natural born leader and is team captain. He is highly motivated. He refuses to lose on the wrestling mat."
Pagan said this year's district outcome was good considering the other 200 teams have been around a lot longer. Poland youth wrestling is in its ninth year and presently has 36 wrestlers ranging in age from kindergarten through the sixth grade.
"As a team we are growing," Pagan said. "We're the newer program on the block competing with youth teams that have been around for 30 years."
Pagan said if one looks at the recent top performers of the high school team, they would see that many of them came up through the youth program.
"In essence we are a feeder for the high school," he said. "We work hand-in-hand with the high school."