The Press Newspaper
The Clay Eagles started out the season against two City League perennial powers
— St. John’s Jesuit and Libbey.
Although the Titans routed the Eagles 73-42 and the Cowboys defeated the Eagles 68-51, first year Clay coach Rob Belegrin is liking what he sees so far.
“I’m real happy with the effort against St. John’s. I thought we played pretty well. They just hit every shot they took, almost, and they were three’s so that’s the game,” Belegrin said.
Belegrin took over for long time coach Joe Guerrero this season after spending six years as the junior varsity coach in the Clay basketball program. He’s enjoying his chance to oversee a program which competes in one of the state’s best leagues.
“I’m liking it. The fact that I’m in more control, that’s real nice,” Belegrin said.
Plus coaching in a league with local legends like Ed Heintschel and Jim Welling puts among the state’s elite. Welling, now in his second season at Central Catholic, won two junior college national championships when he was at Owens Community College, and Heintschel has repeatedly taken his St. John’s Titans to Columbus for the Division I state final four.
Taking on Genoa and Fremont Ross on Dec. 16 must have seemed like a
cakewalk for Oak Harbor's wrestling squad after what it went through less than a week earlier.
The Rockets crushed Ross 67-6 and manhandled Genoa 56-14 just four days after competing in the Ironman tournament at Walsh Jesuit High School. The Ironman is considered the toughest wrestling tournament in the nation.
Coach George Bergman's Rockets took 14th place out of 48 teams and had two individual place-winners in juniors Ian Miller and Konner Witt.
"This was our fifth year in a row there as a team - we've sent individuals before - and this was the best finish we've had," Bergman said. "It gives our guys some goals and lets them know what the best wrestling in the country is like.
"For our top-end guys, it shows where they're at, too. If we have anybody on our team undefeated at this point, then we have a scheduling problem. It lets us know what we need to work on, as a team and as individuals. If your kids perform well at the Ironman, they're nationally noticed. By placing at that tournament, they receive a lot of interest with Division I programs."
Blair Academy, located in New Jersey, defended its Ironman title by scoring 196.5 points, followed by St. Paris Graham with 157.5.
After one of the best seasons in modern school his¬tory, the Kent State wrestling team plans to continue to raise its standards. Two local wrestlers are part of the picture to do so.
Redshirt freshman Keith Witt (Oak Harbor) is getting plenty of action at 174, and Ryan Buckner (Woodmore) is competing for a chance to represent the Golden Flashes at 197.
“Our young guys have to develop the way that we think they can and our older guys have to continue developing like they have. Right now, expectations on the outside are that we're a top 20 team, but our goal is to be a top 10 team at the end of the year," Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said.
Witt went 4-1 at the Body Bar with three first period pins and is currently ranked third in the MAC. He is second on the team with five pins. Witt earned his way into the semifinals at both the Oklahoma Gold and the Hokie Open, where he won his first four matches and upset top-seeded and nationally ranked Bagna Tovuujav of George Mason.
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