The 57th edition of the nation’s oldest continuous running “holiday” tournament returns to Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School on Friday, December 29 and Saturday, December 30. The field will feature 47 teams in total, including 20 programs from northeast Ohio battling it out with a diverse field of teams from across Ohio, three from the state of Michigan, and two from Indana
Featured from the teams this field are 157 wrestlers that have previously appeared in a state wrestling tournament. This includes fourteen wrestlers that were state champions in 2017: Jacob Lagoa (Ashtabula St. John); Julian Tagg (Brecksville); David Crawford (Canfield); Jacob and Jordan Decatur (CVCA); Ben Kamali, Kevon Davenport, and Cameron Amine (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.); Zach Bellaire, Tyler Orrison, and Brandon Whitman (Dundee, Mich.); Brendon Fenton (Elyria); Kevon Freeman (Lake Catholic); and Austin Boone (Lowell, Mich.)
An additional seven wrestlers finished second at their state tournament last year: Josh Edmond (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.), Zach Shupp (Fairfield), Gio DiSabato (Hilliard Davidson), Colt Yinger (Nelsonville-York), Kris Rumph (Portage, Ind.), along with Gage Grunden and Sandro Ramirez (Wauseon). In all 79 members of the field placed in the top eight of their state tournament bracket last year.
Seeking to repeat as team champion is Elyria, which had earned a third straight runner-up finish in the Division I state tournament at the end of last season, and a third straight semifinal (or better) finish in the state dual team event. The Pioneers enter the season ranked No. 38 in the country anchored by two-time state champion Brendon Fenton; returning state placers Mick Burnett, Dylan Shawver, and Josh Breeding; 2016 state placer Farouq Muhammed; and two-time state qualifier Matt Zuckerman.
However, tournament debutant Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.) is the field’s highest ranked team at No. 10 in the country. The Shamrocks feature a trio of two-time state champions in Ben Kamali, Cameron Amine, and Kevon Davenport. Other key returnees include state runner-up Josh Edmond; returning state medalists Devin Johnsen, Rhett Newton, and Derek Gilcher; along with three additional state qualifiers. They are the defending dual team state champions in Michigan’s big-school division, earning that distinction in five of the last eight seasons.
The host school, Brecksville, is ranked No. 16 nationally. Last season the Bees were quarterfinalists in the team state tournament, which broke a four year streak of semifinal (or better) advancements. At the individual tournament, they finished fifth, marking a fifth consecutive year of finishing inside the top five. The squad for head coach Todd Haverdill is led by returning state champion Julian Tagg, two-time state placer Gabe Tagg, state placers Marco Regalbuto and Zach D’Anna, state qualifiers Jimmy Carmany and Ethan Hatcher, along with incoming freshman Victor Voinovich.
Two other teams in this field are ranked nationally, No. 30 Lowell (Mich.) and No. 36 Portage (Ind.). The Red Arrows won a fourth straight state dual team title last season. Individually they return state champion Austin Boone, two-time state placers Avery Mutschler and David Kruse, state placers Jeff Leach and Connor Nugent, along with five other state qualifiers. Tournament debutant Portage finished fifth in their single-class state tournament last season. The Indians are led by a pair of multi-time state placers in Kris Rumph and Kasper McIntosh; additional past or returning state placers include Jacob Moran, Brock Peele, and Colin Poynter; while Jeremy Torres and Anthony Maceo qualified for state last year
Eight teams in this field finished as champion or runner-up in at least one of the dual meet or individual bracket state tournaments last year: Canfield (Division II individual runner-up), Detroit Catholic Central (Mich. – Division 1 state champions), Dundee (Mich. – Division 3 state runner-up), Elyria (Division I individual runner-up), Lowell (Mich. – Division 2 state champions), Milan Edision (Division III dual meet champions), Tuslaw (Division III dual meet runner-up), and Wauseon (Division II dual meet runner-up).
On the individual side of things, five wrestlers will seek to repeat as champions in this year’s edition of the Brecksville Invitational Holiday Tournament (BIHT): Jordan Decatur, Kevon Freeman, Jake Marsh (Marysville), Brandon Whitman, and Antonio McCloud (Cincinnati Elder). Nine additional wrestlers seek to move one step higher on the podium after finishing as runner-up in a previous year: Julian Tagg, Dylan Shawver, Jordan Rosselli (Olentangy Liberty), Sandro Ramirez, and two-time Colt Yinger; runners-up from 2015 include Marco Regalbuto and Connor Brady (Olentangy Liberty); while Matt Cardello (CVCA) and Austin Murphy (Elder) were runner-up finishers in 2014.
The BIHT would like to welcome all 47 teams to the event, in particular the eight teams making their overall debut in this event. Those include Avon (Ind.), Bridgeport, Claymont, Detroit Catholic Central (Mich.), Indian Valley, Portage (Ind.), Rootstown, and Tuslaw. A cordial welcome back is also given to two squads returning back to the event after hiatus: Keystone and Perry (Lake County).