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by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Cuyahoga Falls -- In some ways, the Streetsboro wrestling team's performance at a Division II sectional tournament, which concluded Feb. 16 at Walsh Jesuit High School was a microcosm of its entire season.
After a distinctly up-and-down year, the Rockets had a up-and-down weekend to open the postseason.
Streetsboro finished seventh overall at the sectional with 85 points.
Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy won the tournament with 266 points.
More importantly, the Rockets advanced four wrestlers to the Division II district tournament at Alliance. The top four finishers in each weight class advanced to districts.
The problem for Streetsboro was none of its wrestlers reached the finals at Walsh, which could lead to some tricky draws at the district meet.
"When you work hard in the room, you get the results you want," said Rockets head coach Rick Charlton Feb. 15. "We had a couple of nice wins from Sean Kuklisin and Kyle Woods. We've still got to wrestle."
Kuklisin might have been considered Streetsboro's best chance to win an individual title at 106 pounds. He started well by pinning Warrensville Heights' Pierre Savage in 1 minute, 33 seconds, but lost a tight 10-7 decision to Aurora's Josh Whitelaw in the semifinals.
Kuklisin clinched his district berth with an 11-7 win over CVCA's Mason Brainard and then took third place with a 5-0 win over Tallmadge's Dallas Testa.
The Rockets' other third-place finisher had to do it the hard way. At 132 pounds, Chris Dynowski opened with a 17-6 win over Aurora's Carter Driscoll, but then lost 13-9 to Woodridge's Alex Teodecki.
Needing three straight wins to advance to districts, Dynowski did just that. He defeated Tallmadge's Josh Potok 13-9, went to sudden-victory to take a 3-1 win over Orange's Adam Kirsh and then defeated Warrensville's David Cozart 5-3 to advance.
Dynowski took third place when Revere's Dustin Shaffer chose to forfeit the match.
Charlton was very happy with the performance of 120-pounder Aaron Dantimo. Dantimo started by avenging two earlier losses to Ravenna's Brogan Lovejoy, winning 3-0.
However, Dantimo's semifinal opponent was none other than three-time state champion Nate Tomasello of CVCA. Tomasello got the pin in 36 seconds.
Dantimo rebounded by defeating Tallmadge's Tyler Severns by disqualification in the consolation semifinal, but then lost 13-10 in the third-place match to Aurora's Andrew Petersen.
Streetsboro's final district qualifier was heavyweight Sam Creque. Creque went to overtime in his first two matches, getting pinned in 7:26 by Aurora's Josh Burger before beating Tallmadge's Ben Cipa 2-1 in the ultimate tie-breaker.
Creque lost 3-1 to Revere's Carl Roman in the third-place match.
The Rockets also got a fifth-place finish from 152-pounder Kyle Woods and a sixth-place finish from 113-pounder Joey Teibel.
The Alliance district tournament is scheduled to take place Feb. 22 and 23 with the first match set for 3 p.m. Feb. 22.