By Dan Gilles
St. Edward junior 195-pounder Gabe Dzuro was so far off the radar, he wasn’t among the top eight seeds in his weight class at this past weekend’s Walsh Jesuit Ironman Wrestling Tournament.
Dzuro, a North Olmsted resident, spent the last two years behind great Eagles wrestlers such as Dominic Abounader, waiting for his chance to crack the varsity gold team’s starting lineup.
Based on his performance at the Ironman, Dzuro won’t be an unknown commodity for very long.
Dzuro was one of only two St. Ed’s wrestlers (along with 145-pound champion Edgar Bright) to reach the championship match at the Ironman, a prestigious wrestling tournament that draws the best of the best not only from Ohio, but also all over the country.
Unfortunately, Dzuro couldn’t complete the Cinderella story in winning fashion. He was handed a 10-0 major decision loss to Blair Academy’s Frank Mattiace in the 195-pound finals.
Dzuro was one of two area wrestlers who placed in the top eight at the Ironman. St. Ed’s senior 152-pounder Markus Scheidel, a Bay Village resident, took seventh in his weight class with a 9-5 win over Wyoming Seminary’s Chris Weiler.
Dzuro was happy to reach the finals in his first Ironman tournament.
“I feel pretty good, but I wish I could have taken first,” Dzuro said. “Second’s alright. It’s a start. But I wished I could have performed better in that championship match. I was the underdog, so I didn’t have any pressure. I just went out there wrestled hard.
“I think I showed it out on the mat, but I think I could have wrestled my finals match a bit harder. (Mattiace) is good. He’s really good.”
Dzuro’s journey began with a first-round bye. He then pinned Wyoming Seminary’s Matt Doggett in 5:18 in the second round, defeated Broomfield’s D.J. Kissimos, 5-2, in the quarterfinals, then punched his ticket to the finals with a 11-8 win over Good Counsel’s Spencer Neff.
“He played football for us for a couple years, and he only came out for wrestling as recently as seventh grade,” St. Ed’s head coach Greg Urbas said. “He’s got great hips. He works his tail off. He’s getting better and better. His upside’s way up there.
“I saw a couple college coaches mentioning that Gabe’s got great hips. That’s pretty neat. He’s only a junior, and we’re very happy with his performance.”
Dzuro was happy to make the most of his shot and is excited about what the season could hold.
“I’m only a junior so I have one more year,” Dzuro said. “But my drill partner Dom (Abounader) is real good and he’s gotten me a lot better since my freshman year.
“This lets people know that I’m pretty good and that I can wrestle. Hopefully, I get to show it down at states.”
Scheidel advanced to the championship quarterfinals after pinning Kiski School’s Col McLaughlin in 2:53 and defeating Ashland’s Wyatt Music, 10-5. However, Reynolds’ Austin Matthews sent Scheidel down to the consolation bracket with a 5-4 loss.
Scheidel picked it up in the consolations, edging McDonogh’s Toby Hague, 5-4, to clinch a spot on the podium. But, he was denied a spot to go for fifth place with he fell to Bella Vista’s Shayne Tucker, 5-3, in sudden victory overtime.
“I placed sixth here last year,” Scheidel said. “Coming in, I knew there would be some tough guys I needed to wrestle. I know that I’ve got more work to do.
“It’s the beginning of the year and most everyone’s just now getting back to wrestling. But, I’ve been wrestling all summer, all year round basically. I felt like I had a bigger edge than everyone else. I was aiming to win it. I couldn’t do it, so I had to battle back to at least place. I at least accomplished my goal of placing.”
Other St. Ed’s players were L.J. Bentley (seventh, 106), Colin Heffernan (fifth, 138) and Dean Heil (third, 132). The Eagles finished fourth in the 75-team tournament with 132 points, trailing only Blair Academy (first, 240.5), Wyoming Seminary (second, 156) and St. Paris Graham (third, 143). Only Graham is located in Ohio; there were no other Division I Ohio teams or Northeast Ohio teams finishing higher than St. Ed’s.
Lakewood’s Chance Driscoll (126) and Fairview’s Robbie Rogers (170) also competed at the Ironman for St. Ed’s. However, neither one placed.
Driscoll pinned Oak Harbor’s Jeremy Balboa in 5:56 and defeated Reynolds’ Alex DiGregorio, 11-4. However, Christiansburg’s Joey Dance, the Ironman champion, sent him down to the consolation bracket with a 19-8 major decision loss, and Driscoll’s tournament came to an end with a 5-3 overtime loss to Park Hill’s Hunter Roberts.
Rogers got a bye in the first round, but was quickly sent to the consolation bracket with a 12-1 major decision loss to Sultana’s Corey Griego, who eventually placed fourth.
After a bye, Rogers pinned Kiski School’s Bobby Gaston in 4:20 and won by forfeit over Cincinnati Moeller’s Dakota Sizemore. However, he was handed a 5-3 sudden victory overtime loss by St. Ignatius’ Anthony McLaughlin to end his tournament.
North Olmsted was represented by 182-pounder Alexander Belaia-Martinouk at the Ironman.
Belaia-Martinouk lost his first match to Hermiston’s Sammy Shields-Colbray, 6-3, but came back with two consolation round victories.
He defeated Good Counsel’s Phil Robilotto, 4-2, and pinned St. Ed’s Jesse Brown in 5:49. However, his tournament run came to an end with a 13-5 major decision loss to Colonial Forge’s Zach Martinez.