By Victor Milani
The Nordonia High school wrestling program has a rich tradition. My 1977 graduating year (yeah, I’m getting old) was the Division 1 Ohio High School State Wrestling Champs under head Coach Gary Watters. For years the rivalry with powerhouse Maple Heights was an annual event for both schools. For many years, St. Edward and coach Howard Ferguson ruled the high school wrestling scene. The past few years have not been kind to the program, with not many students wanting to go out for the team. Forfeits in weight classes were common due to not being able to fill the class with a wrestler. The Longwood Wrestling program, which was the “feeder” program of young wrestlers to the High School, was a memory. This year, Nordonia assistant wrestling coach Jason Walters was elevated to head coach status. Walters, along with assistant coaches Tony Codner, Louie Iacaboni , Grahm Coghill, Jason Lara and Marty Collins have brought a new determination and dedication to the program. Walters gets the most out of each wrestler, and pushes them to their limits. Walters doesn’t coddle them and has a tough love mind set. Walters for years was an assistant coach and disciple of legendary St. Peter Chanel wrestling coach Graham Coghill. Basically, he learned from one of the best in Coghill, who is now one of his assistants. Walters’ first year as head coach has been remarkable, and he and his staff have done a phenomenal job!
Yesterday, the Knights wrestlers won the Kenston Sectional Districts, sending eight qualifiers to the North Canton Hoover district. The top four in that district then go to the Ohio State Championship. The champions advancing from Kenston were: Sal Perrine-145 lbs. Mitch Collica-138 lbs., and Justin Olszko-182 lbs. Second place honors went to Jimmy Brenneman -126lbs. Third place finishers were Jake Hamad-106 lbs and Tyler Angus-152 lbs. Fourth place qualifiers were: Ryan Lee-heavyweight and Colin Flynn-170 lbs. Congratulations to Coach Jason Walters and all the young men heading to the next round at North Canton Hoover Districts on the road to the finals in Columbus!