By Dan Gilles
Fairview coach Dave LeBrun didn’t come into the annual Vermilion Holiday Wrestling Tournament with a team goal in mind.
Rather, he was hoping that his wrestlers would have some fine individual showings at the two-day, 10-round round-robin tournament to build off of for the remainder of the season.
The Warriors finished in a tie for fifth with Strongsville in the 10-team field with 173 points, but had several individuals place in the top three in their respective weight classes.
“I think we’ve had some good performances,” LeBrun said. “We had quite a few guys today find their strides in their matches, so I was pleased with that.
“Our goal was to see kids wrestle well. We didn’t have a set goal for where we wanted to place as a team, but we wanted to see kids wrestle well over two days. Most of our kids have done that. We had a few kids who didn’t have a great couple of days. But, for the most part, I believe we have done that.”
The tournament was held round-robin style, with 10 rounds of competition held over the two-day event. The wrestler with the most wins after the 10 rounds would claim the individual championship, and ties were broken by criteria such as most pins.
Fairview was led by two individual champions. Mahmoud Awad went 6-0 to win the 138-pound championship, while Tyler Keating went 4-0 to claim the 182-pound championship.
Other placers in the top three for Fairview at Vermilion included runner-up Matt Wallace (5-1 at 106) and third-place finisher Kevin Thomas (3-2 at 195).
Fairview earned the fifth-place tie when Strongsville was docked two team points for unsportsmanlike conduct during the 10th round of the tournament.
LeBrun knows that there is still some more work to do as they prepare for their first Patriot Athletic Conference Tournament next month. Especially since four other PAC teams – Vermilion Tourney champion Brookside, Clearview (fourth), Firelands (eighth) and Oberlin (10th) – were competing at this tournament.
“I think we have to fix our mistakes,” he said. “A lot of times, we’re beating ourselves. We also want to improve our conditioning and turn it up a notch every week from here to the tournament. It will get more and more intense.
“With a young team, we don’t have a lot of experience, so we have to work through that and get them to develop that intensity for the first time.”