Marysville’s Walker Heard (top) is pictured in action during the 2017 state wrestling tournament. The Monarchs will compete in the Top Gun tournament at Alliance High School on Friday and Saturday.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
The Marysville High School varsity wrestling team has built a legacy on never backing down from a challenge.
Year in and year out, the Monarch matmen have gone in search of the toughest opposition they can find.
MHS coaches have long held to the philosophy that staunch competition during the regular season will prepare their athletes for the sectional, district and state tournaments.
The Brecksville, Ironman and Southwest Coaches Classic tournaments are among the events that provide Marysville grapplers with stern tests.
Another such two-day tournament is the Top Gun that will be held Friday and Saturday at Alliance High School.
This is the tenth year that Marysville has competed in the tournament that features high caliber athletes.
“This is a tournament that attracts more than 40 teams that have tough athletes up and down their line-ups,” said MHS head coach Shawn Andrews. “There may not be a lot of high-level teams there such as what you would find at Brecksville, but each guy who goes out on the mat is a tough kid who will fight hard.
“You’re getting good wrestlers from the Youngstown, Canton and Massillon areas, plus some from western Pennsylvania,” he said. “They give you tough matches and that’s what we want to see.”
A total of 45 teams will compete in the double elimination tournament that will feature 32-man brackets for each weight class.
“There will be some teams that won’t fill all of the 14 weight classes,” said Andrews. “That’s why it’s basically drawn into 32-man brackets.”
Among the top teams scheduled to compete are Massillon Perry, Carrollton, Aurora, Austintown Fitch, Tuslaw and Beloit West Branch.
Top Gun will represent the second-to-last tournament for the Monarchs during the regular season.
“We’ve got one other tournament later in the season at Watkins Memorial,” said Andrews. “However, after Top Gun, most of the remainder of the regular season will be dual matches.”
The Monarch coach said the double-elimination format is similar to what the team will see during its post-season tournaments.
“If you drop your first match, you have to figure out a way to stay in there (the competition),” said Andrews. “It’s just as much of learning how to recover from a loss and move on as it is in winning a match.”
Marysville has had success during its decade-long run at the tournament.
The Monarchs placed third as a team last year and were in the top five on a couple of other occasions.
MHS senior Jake Marsh (152) has won his weight class the past two years. He placed second his freshman year.
“We’ve had several individual champions at Top Gun,” said Andrews.
The team has had to juggle its lineup over several events due to some injuries.
Andrews, though, figures to have a pretty set lineup for the tournament.
Weight classes will feature the following athletes:
-106: Quinton Miller;
-120: Jamieson Bigler;
-126: Payne Miller;
-132: Cole Hosterman;
-138: Sam Shroyer;
-145: Walker Heard;
-160: Tyler Bates:
-170: Ian Johnson;
-182: Nathan DeWitt;
-195: Logan Painter;
-220: Ethan Smegal;
-Hwt.: Tyler Connolly.
Michael Jones is still nursing a knee injury. As such, no one will wrestle for MHS in the 113-pound weight class.
“Our depth is a little thin at the lighter weights,” said Andrews.
The Monarch coach was asked what he hopes to see from his team this weekend.
“We want to see a lot of fight and more consistency out of the guys,” he said.
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