Even though the state wrestling tournament is still in the distant future, Wapakoneta wrestlers will get a glimpse of what might await them in March when the Redskins compete in the 51st annual Brecksville Holiday Invitational Tournament on Thursday and Friday.
This year’s edition of the long-standing tournament boasts 37 of some of the best teams in the state of Ohio and one squad from Georgia. Individually 98 of the grapplers entered have state tournament experience with a little more than half of those placing at state in 2011.
Redskin varsity coach Jason Rostorfer said there are three big tournaments on the Redskins schedule with the first stop is Brecksville to face top state talent and gauge where a wrestler stands as the first third of the season comes to an end.
“We have wrestled some good tournaments so far but I want to see where we rank and where our older guys rank in the state,” Rostorfer said. “Brecksville and Top Gun (the second major tournament before state) are very tough tournaments and we go there just to get ready for state because winning the league is important to us is a goal but our program’s focus is the state tournament and that is what we are going to shoot for.”
Rostorfer said he believes that he has several wrestlers who have the talent to compete at state this year and he knows this early test will give both him and the respective wrestler see how they fare against some of the best.
According to the Brecksville Tournament website, nine of the teams in the field finished inside the top ten at their state championships during 2011, with St. Peter Chanel (Division III) and Pope (Georgia, Class 4A) finishing as state champions.
It continues to say that seven individuals in this 38-team field are nationally ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes by InterMat – Austin Assad (Brecksville), George DiCamillo (St. Ignatius), Kagan Squire (Wadsworth), Brent Fickel (Padua), Chaz Gresham (Goshen), Brooks Climmons (Pope GA), and Nick Tavanello (Wadsworth).
“They can expect a lot of multiple state placers not just qualifiers in every weight class,” Rostorfer said.
The Redskin coach points out that when Logan Erb garnered his state title his junior year he placed sixth at Brecksville that same year and finished last year.
The Redskins placed four wrestlers at last year’s event. Sophomore John Martin lost in his third place match in 2010.
“Placing at Brecksville his a huge feat,” Rostorfer said. “It doesn’t get much tougher than Brecksville and Top Gun.”
Whether they are experienced wrestlers or up-and-comers, Rostorfer said the team should take away some valuable experience and more importantly give them a chance to self-evaluate.
Last year, the Redskins finished ninth overall as a team.
“Some of the older guys will know what to expect and that is what we are focusing on right now,” Rostorfer said. “Some of the younger guys we are sending to other tournaments just to get them some more matches. There is nothing like experience.”
One of the benefits of not sending some of the more inexperienced wrestlers to high profile tournaments like Brecksville and Top Gun where they might just wrestle twice where in a full tournament they will wrestle five times.