by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Crestwood wrestling coach Dave Wrobel may have said it best.
"A district tournament is where dreams are broken," Wrobel said.
Streetsboro 195-pounder Tyler Rowland knows all about the accuracy of that statement.
When he woke up Feb. 22, Rowland was in perfect position to earn a berth at the state meet via the Division II district tournament at Alliance High School. The top four placers in each weight class advanced.
Rowland won his first two matches Feb. 21, pinning Akron Kenmore's T.J. Mays in 2 minutes, 35 seconds and beating Perry's Kyle Kremiller 3-2 to reach the semifinals.
That meant Rowland had two chances to win and earn a state berth.
However, Rowland suffered two losses to two familiar opponents and saw his state dreams dashed.
In the semifinals, Rowland was involved in a very tight match with Crestwood's Kenny Jackson.
Down 1-0 in the third period, Jackson escaped to tie the match and got the lone takedown of the match. Although Rowland escaped, he could not score again and lost 3-2.
"I think Tyler readied himself after that loss," said Rockets coach Rick Charlton. "[The consolation semifinal] is one of the hardest matches to win in high school wrestling."
In the consolation semifinal, Rowland faced Woodridge's Cody Jenkins, who he had beaten multiple times earlier in the season.
After a scoreless first period, however, Jenkins hit his signature move: A head and arm throw which put Rowland on his back. Although Rowland avoided the pin and escaped, he was never able to get his offense going. Jenkins won 6-2 to earn his second state berth.
"It's hard to beat a good kid three times," Charlton said. "He's a returning state qualifier and he knows how to win matches."
Rowland was able to salvage a state-alternate position as he pinned Field's Andy Eckhart in 2:08.
Rowland has a slim chance of wrestling at states, but one of the four state qualifiers from Alliance would have to be unable to wrestle in Columbus for him to do so.
Despite the heartbreaking day Feb. 22, Charlton said Rowland had made huge strides this season.
"Last year being a district alternate, Tyler worked hard to get to this point," Charlton said. "Now that he's a state alternate, he's motivated now for next season".
The lone silver lining for Rowland is, as a junior, he will have another chance next season to reach the state meet.
The district meet saw the end of the careers for Streetsboro seniors Sean Kuklisin (106 pounds), Chris Dynowski (138) and Kyle Woods (160).
Kuklisin went 1-2 at Alliance as he was eliminated by Tallmadge state qualifier Terrell Grant 3-2.
Dynowski went 2-2. He was eliminated by Crestwood state qualifier Jake Zemaitis by pin.
Woods also went 2-2 as he was eliminated by Alliance Marlington state qualifier Tony Rupert 5-2.
The Rockets also had junior Aaron Dantimo (132) go 1-2 at Alliance, while freshman Cale Simpkins (120) went 0-2.
"I'm so proud of the guys," Charlton said. "They always wrestle hard."
Team-wise, Streetsboro tied with West Geauga for 24th place at Alliance with 24 points. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary won the team title with 166.5 points.