EUCLID — There’s probably not many area wrestlers who enjoy conference competition as much as Elyria senior Joshua Breeding.
The senior 132-pounder captured his fourth league championship Saturday at the Greater Cleveland Conference tournament, leading the Pioneers to their fourth straight conference title.
“It’s a pretty cool accomplishment because not a lot of wrestlers in the program have done it, but the conference was a little tougher back in the day,” Breeding said. “Winning that freshman year (in the Northeast Ohio Conference) was pretty big. But, yeah, it’s a great feeling to be a four-timer.”
Breeding received a quarterfinal bye before scoring a 59-second pin of Solon’s Max Ludin in the semifinals and a pin in 1:48 of Mentor’s Connor DeBoe in the final. The matchup foreshadowed the team finish, which Elyria won 227.5-190 over the Cardinals.
“It’s good to get bonus (points) out there and a lot of our kids know how to do it, so that’s a good feeling knowing we can rely on the team to build a good lead,” Breeding said.
Joining their senior leader with league championships for Elyria were freshman Colin Noel at 106 pounds, sophomore Mick Burnett at 126, junior Farouq Muhammed at 152, freshman Jake Evans at 160 and junior Andrew Levis at 195.
Other Pioneers finalists included Dylan Shawver (120), Enrique Munguia (145), Haydon Rockman (170) and Lewis Aguilar (182).
“We did good. We got almost all our guys in the finals,” Noel said of Elyria’s 10-for-12 performance.
Noel didn’t surrender a point during his GCC tournament debut, downing Solon’s Gavin Isaac with a 17-0 technical fall in the quarterfinals, beating Brunswick’s Brandon Tarnai 6-0 in the semifinals and finishing with an 11-0 major decision over Mentor’s Dominic Rico in the final.
“It feels great,” Noel said. “I didn’t expect coming into the season that I’d even make the varsity lineup. I won conference and I helped the team out a lot by scoring points in the state duals.”
Burnett beat a pair of state-ranked opponents en route to his first conference title — he was injured during his freshman season and couldn’t compete. He handed Solon’s Trysten Zahoransky — ranked No. 24 in Division I — a 16-1 technical fall and downed Brunswick’s Derek Fields, ranked No. 15, a 9-5 loss in the final.
Muhammed spent only 37 seconds on the mat Saturday, earning a quarterfinal bye, pinning Strongsville’s Adam Banal in the semifinals and earning his championship by forfeit over Medina’s Jonathan List.
Evans pinned his way to the title, downing Strongsville’s Zach Savage in 2:33 in the semifinals and beating top-seeded Christian Marinozzi of Mentor, ranked No. 9 in the state, in 1:06 in the final.
“This is huge for me,” Evans said. “I feel as a freshman it’s very unlikely for an upper weight to win the conference. So this is a very cool thing. Just do your thing and if you’re working hard enough it’s going to come to you.”
Levis capped the Pioneers’ individual title run with a tough 2-1 win over top-seeded Jake Rush from Mentor after a first-period pin of Medina’s Isaiah Helton in the semifinals.
“There were tough guys from Medina, Brunswick, Elyria, Mentor … there’s a lot of good individuals in this conference,” Elyria coach Erik Burnett said. “You hope to pick up those matchups. I was thrilled that my son got to wrestle Fields in the final. Fields has been a heck of a wrestler all year long. Those are the kinds of matches you want to wrestle.
“(The conference is) a really big deal. Josh Breeding won his fourth. Conference is pretty important, especially when it gets to that point where you’ve got a title on the line.”
Winning his fourth conference title means Breeding is just weeks away from the end of his high school career. He and his Elyria teammates will battle at the dual team state tournament next Sunday, then it will be on to the sectional tournament two weeks later.
“It’s really hard to believe,” Breeding said. “It goes so fast, and I’ve enjoyed every second of being on this team. It’s a little emotional for me.”
TEAM STANDINGS: Elyria 227.5, Mentor 190, Medina 169, Brunswick 161, Solon 107, Strongsville 70, Shaker Heights 31, Euclid 28.
106 — FIRST: Colin Noel (Elyria) maj. dec. Dominic Rico (Mentor), 11-0. THIRD: Mitch Shuba (Strongsville) dec. Brandon Tarnai (Brunswick), 4-2 (OT). FIFTH: Gavin Isaac (Solon) won via bye.
113 — FIRST: Nick Sabin (Mentor) dec. Braydon Potter (Medina), 6-0. THIRD: Neo De Los Santos (Elyria) pinned Tyler Skiba (Brunswick), :55. FIFTH: None.
120 — FIRST: Logan Heil (Brunswick) dec. Dylan Shawver (Elyria), 10-4. THIRD: Jared Dressler (Medina) pinned Lincoln Splete (Mentor), 3:38. FIFTH: None.
126 — FIRST: Mick Burnett (Elyria) dec. Derek Fields (Brunswick), 9-5. THIRD: Nate DeBoe (Mentor) tech. fall Trysten Zahoransky (Solon), 15-0. FIFTH: Jacob White (Medina) pinned Dominic Newton (Euclid), 4:00.
132 — FIRST: Joshua Breeding (Elyria) pinned Connor DeBoe (Mentor), 1:48. THIRD: Max Ludin (Solon) dec. Mico Miloradovic (Brunswick), 9-8. FIFTH: Brendon Hanson (Shaker Hts.) pinned Faraj Silmi (Strongsville), 1:43.
138 — FIRST: Matt Fields (Brunswick) tech. fall Ben Blickle (Strongsville), 16-1. THIRD: Ian Senz (Medina) dec. Cameron Hupp (Mentor), 7-2. FIFTH: Ryan Mulvaney (Solon) won via bye.
145 — FIRST: Ryan Wissel (Medina) dec. Enrique Munguia (Elyria), 6-3. THIRD: David Grecol (Strongsville) maj. dec. Bratton Lantz (Brunswick), 9-1. FIFTH: Joey Ricco (Mentor) pinned Jake Mack (Solon), 4:25.
152 — FIRST: Farouq Muhammed (Elyria) def. Jonathan List (Medina) by forfeit. THIRD: Adam Banal (Strongsville) pinned Ferrel Thomas (Shaker Hts.), 3:54. FIFTH: Danny Morlani (Solon) dec. Jacob Kracker (Brunswick), 8-4.
160 — FIRST: Jake Evans (Elyria) pinned Christian Marinozzi (Mentor), 1:06. THIRD: Kevin Kiussis (Brunswick) tech. fall Nick DeFraine (Medina), 18-3. FIFTH: Zach Savage (Strongsville) won via bye.
170 — FIRST: Brady Chrisman (Medina) maj. dec. Haydon Rockman (Elyria), 17-5. THIRD: Nick Schuster (Mentor) dec. Marquis Churn (Solon), 12-8 (OT). FIFTH: Johnny Schmidt (Brunswick) dec. Justin Hammon (Strongsville), 9-8.
182 — FIRST: Dominic Shelley (Mentor) dec. Lewis Aguilar (Elyria), 8-4. THIRD: Seth DiCola (Medina) pinned Freddy Lisy (Euclid), 2:25. FIFTH: Curtis Helman (Brunswick) dec. Richard Chen (Solon), 8-3.
195 — FIRST: Andrew Levis (Elyria) dec. Jake Rush (Mentor), 2-1. THIRD: Isaiah Helton (Medina) dec. Garret Anderson (Brunswick), 1-0. FIFTH: None.
220 — FIRST: Da’Veon Parker (Solon) def. Eddie Sevastos (Brunswick) by default. THIRD: Romaine Meinhard (Shaker Hts.) pinned Laron Parks (Euclid), 1:54. FIFTH: Devan Welch (Mentor) won via bye.
285 — FIRST: Lee Coleman (Medina) dec. Yusef Russell (Solon), 9-5. THIRD: Hunter Calao (Mentor) pinned Kobe Thomas (Elyria), 3:25. FIFTH: Cory Sabo (Brunswick) pinned Nate Thompson (Euclid), 2:50.