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by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
In a season full of tough results, the Streetsboro wrestling team suffered through a very tough weekend at the Portage Trail Conference Championship , which concluded Feb. 2 at Rootstown High School.
The Rockets finished ninth in the 14-team tournament with 79.5 points.
Crestwood won the team title with 190.5 points, just one point ahead of Coventry, which also gave the Red Devils the Metro Division title.
Although Streetsboro ended up with four wrestlers on the podium, Rockets head coach Rick Charlton said his team needed to up its game with the postseason coming up.
"We need to wrestle better," he said. "It's as simple as that.
"If we wrestled like we did this weekend, it's going to be a very short postseason for us."
The highlight of the weekend for Streetsboro was the performance of junior 106-pounder Sean Kuklisin, who was the only Rocket to reach a title match.
Kuklisin opened with a pair of pins Feb. 1, sticking Woodridge's Jacob Morehouse in 1 minutes, 15 seconds and Garfield's Greg Smallwood in 44 seconds.
In the semifinals Feb. 2, Kuklisin took care of Crestwood's Ryan Deuly with a 12-4 major decision to reach the final.
In the final, however, Kuklisin ran into top-seeded Cory Simpson of Field, who had pinned his way through the tournament.
Simpson continued his run in the finals, sticking Kuklisin in 1:38.
"Sean has worked hard all season long," Charlton said. "The Field kid is really good, but Sean did well to get there."
Streetsboro heavyweight Sam Creque finished fourth. Creque opened by pinning Mogadore's Jacob Holderbaum in 1:44, but then lost a tight 4-3 decision to Field's Nate Smith.
Creque recovered well in the consolation bracket as he pinned Rootstown's Spencer Dixon in 38 seconds, stuck Waterloo's John Supel in 3:29 and beat Norton's John Glas 2-1 to reach the third-place match.
In the third-place match, Creque ran into Coventry state qualifier Travis Gosnell. Gosnell scored the pin in 2:04.
In a loaded 220-pound bracket, sophomore Tyler Rowland gave a good account of himself by taking fifth place. He defeated Crestwood's Doug Battiest 1-0 in the fifth-place match.
Rounding of the placement finishers for the Rockets was 120-pounder Aaron Dantimo, who finished in sixth place.
Streetsboro's regular season is over. The Rockets are scheduled to next see action at a Division II sectional tournament Feb. 15 and 16 at Walsh Jesuit High School.