By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The Rootwstown High School wrestling program made history on Saturday.
In the 35 years of the Bill Dies Memorial Wrestling Tournament, no Division III team had ever ascended to the very top of the standings and won the championship.
The Rovers accomplished the feat by scoring 236.5 total points to top runners-up Canton South, which finished with 171 points in the annual event hosted by Firestone High School.
The rest of the field followed as GlenOak in third place with 157 points, then Midview (144.5), Chippewa (143), Barberton (126), Revere (116.5), Brunswick (100.5), Canton McKinley (94.5), Woodridge (88.0) and Olmsted Falls (86.0).
Rootstown had a pair of tournament champions, with Bryce Edwards besting the field at 126 pounds, while Cody Coontz won the title at 175 pounds.
In the championship final, Edwards defeated Hoban’s Tommy Conway with a 7-3 decision.
Coontz’s title match came against Chippewa’s Neil Miller, which the Rovers’ senior won 21-8 in a major decision.
Rootstown’s team score was aided by a slew of runner-up finishes, which included Will McEwuen at 120 pounds, Dylan Wise at 144 and Lane McKenzie at 190.
Brian Youngblood, wrestling at 150 pounds, earned a third-place finish, while Rootstown’s total of placing wrestlers grew to 11, with Nick Malek placing fourth at 138 pounds, Sylas Reiheld fifth at 165, Nathan Lee sixth at 132, Alex Ely seventh at 106 and Damion Reuting eighth at 157.