The Press Newspaper
Clay wrestling coach Gerry Anthony must have felt like a proud papa last weekend.
The coach, in his second stint leading the Eagles and in his 11th year of coaching overall, watched the Clay Gold team win the Mary Kerr Memorial wrestling tournament last Friday and Saturday at Waite. It was the Eagles' first team title at the prestigious tournament.
Last Saturday, at the inaugural Bowsher Rebel Invitational dual meet tournament, the Eagles' Green team went 5-0 and whipped Findlay 64-7 in the finals.
"It was definitely a history-making weekend for Oregon wrestling," Anthony said. "I know that's never happened. No school in the area has ever won two tournaments in a weekend. Then to see our middle schools taking first and second in their league tournament, and to have our biddy program win a large tournament - it was a history-making weekend.
"The program is going in the direction we want to see it go."
Clay has 63 wrestlers in its varsity and junior varsity programs, and that depth came to fruition last weekend. The Eagles are building momentum for the upcoming City League tournament, where they took second a year ago. Clay is seeking its first league title since it won the Great Lakes League in 1964.
At the Mary Kerr event, the Eagles had three individual champions and scored 205.5 points to second-place Lorain Southview's 180.5. Richie Urias, at 119 pounds, Kirk McLaughlin (130) and Justin Wharton (160) all won titles for Clay.
"It definitely was a big milestone for us to win that tournament," Anthony said. "It was a total team effort. We went into the finals with an 18-point lead, and to increase that against the teams of that caliber, that's quite a feat."
At the Rebel Invitational, the Eagles had nine undefeated wrestlers including sophomore 140-pounder Nico Castilleja, who was named the tournament MVP. Castilleja was 5-0 with four pins.
"He's an up-and-coming, outstanding wrestler," Anthony said. "We're looking forward to big things from him for the future."
Anthony, who coached Clay's Gold team last weekend while assistant coach Marty Nafel coached the Green team, said he found out Saturday night that the Green squad went undefeated at the Bowsher duals.
"I was excited," Anthony said. "We had just found out our middle school teams finished first and second in their GLL tournament. Going into the weekend, that was our goal as a team, to win both tourneys. We wanted it to be a history-making weekend, and it turned out to be so.
"Bowsher wasn't the toughest of tournaments, but it was comprised of varsity wrestlers. My dream as a coach was to win two varsity tournaments in the same weekend. That would really show the strength of our program. Marty was very excited and he said the team wrestled great."
The GLL middle school tournament, for grades 7-8, was held at Clay. Eisenhower, led by fifth-year coach Mike Edwards, scored 288 points to take first place.
Eisenhower crowned four individual champions while Fassett, which took second with 182 points, had four champions. Dave Herrera coached the Fassett squad.
"That's huge," Edwards said of the one-two finish. "It is also humbling, because I'm a part of something bigger than myself, to have the opportunity to spend the time motivating and teaching the kids about dedication and commitment at the lower levels and moving up through the chains with the other coaches. I truly believe in any sport, the great athletes have many great coaches behind them. It's a team effort up and down the board."
Last Sunday, Clay hosted its second-annual all-day novice tournament that drew nearly 300 competitors. The event, for wrestlers with two years or less of experience, included competitors from Northwest Ohio, Northeast Ohio and Michigan.
The Oregon Eagles Wrestling Club, under second-year coach Mike Screptock, recorded 93 points to win the tournament. Each team had 20 wrestlers or less.
"A lot of our kids we entered were just first-year kids," Screptock said. "The performance they did was above and beyond expectations."
Screptock said he was proud that the Oregon Eagles Wrestling Club, which has 92 wrestlers in grades 1-6, was able to contribute to the Oregon schools' strong wrestling weekend.
"Taking this as an overall picture, you can definitely see the direction the entire program is going, all the way from the novice biddy level to the middle school to the high school," Screptock said. "A lot of these kids at the middle school level have come through the club. They might go off to two different middle schools and they all come back to the high school as one big team."
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