By Victor Milani
Nordonia Head Wrestling Coach Beau Polcen has a number of rebuilding problems.The first is last years 1-6 dual meet record, however finishing fourth in the National Conference Tournament. The lack of wrestlers going out for the team (the Knights have only 15 wrestlers on the squad) is another dilemma. Filling all the weight divisions with wrestlers is a challenge in itself. The distance between Nordonia and the two powerhouse teams in the conference, Brecksville/ Broadview Heights, and Wadsworth seem worlds apart. Polcen, now in his second year as coach, has a very talented corps of assistant coaches to guide the ship. Legendary former Chanel Coach Graham Coghill, Danny Barrett, Lou Iacoboni and Jason Walters will assist Polcen this year with this young team. Filling weight divisions will be yet an ongoing issue due to the lack of wrestlers. The Knights are a young, green team, who are currently going through growing pains. The Knights lost only one senior to graduation from last year, heavyweight Alec Camelli.
The Knights one standout superstar will once again be senior Anthony Perrine. Perrine, who has accepted a wrestling scholarship from Gardner-Webb in North Carolina, will wrestle at 195 pounds, and his dreams of being a state champion are well with in his reach. Anything short of a trip to Columbus would be disappointing to Perrine this year.
Nordonia will be challenged to fill the lower weight slots in dual meets. Sophomore Jake Hamad started last year at 106 pounds, but could move up in weight class.Junior Jimmy Brenneman, who placed twice in sectionals last year at 120 pounds, might move up to 126 pound division this year.Senior Tommy Masteller returns again this year at 132 pounds. Sophomore Matt Gerlich, having recovered from last years season ending broken collarbone, will open at 138 pounds for the Knights. Sophomore Dominic Mannino (145 pounds), freshman Dakota Romantic (152 pounds), and sophomore Justin Olszko (160 pounds) will start initially for the Knights. Senior Thomas Joyce will provide weekly wrestle off competition for Olszko. Sophomore Colin Flynn could fluctuate between 170 and 182 pounds, after finishing fourth last year in the Suburban League at 160 pounds. Anthony Perrine will remain supreme at 195 pounds for the Knights, and is the undisputed leader on the team. The 220 pound weight class has sophomores Carl Schaub and Ryan Lee battling for the starting nod. Sophomore heavyweight Blake Morgenstern rounds out the squad. Nordonia will begin its season this year at the Solon Comet Classic December 2nd and 3rd. The first match on Friday is at 4 PM.
This years Knight squad may lose some of its matches, but they will be competitive. They may have to overcome forfeitures in unfilled weight divisions, and youthful mistakes. It’s hard to believe that it was forty years ago (1977) that Nordonia won the Ohio State Wrestling Division 1 title under head coach Gary Watters. The Knights have had very successful teams since then. but lately there seems to be a lack of interest for students wanting to come out for the team. Most powerhouse have year round practices in place, with youth programs to nurture and develop talent at an early age. The Firebird program served Nordonia well for years as a developmental group. Many wrestlers play other sports other than wrestling. The 12 month commitment to the sport,is no longer common. This group of coaches may be the ones to return the Knights back to the Glory Days, of high school wrestling dominance.