The 26th Walsh Ironman tournament came to an end on Saturday evening and for only the second time ever, Wyoming Seminary came away with the team title. Three individual champions lead head coach Scott Green’s team and each was impressive in their own right. Third-ranked Nic Bouzakis captured the 126 lb championship in the last match of the finals after getting a late reversal to down second-ranked Ryan Crookham (Notre Dame-Green Pond), 4-3. The de facto main event of the evening featured two of the top sophomores in the nation and featured one of the deepest weight classes in the tournament. The Blue Knights also claimed the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler in 145 lb champion, Lachlan McNeil. The North Carolina-signee continued his excellent run of late after winning the Super 32 in October. McNeil not only defeated number one-ranked Victor Voinovich (Brecksville), but he also downed #8 Jackson Dean (Cesar Rodney) and #11 Manzona Bryant (Western Reserve). The last champion for Wyoming Seminary was senior Drew Munch, who made a strong case for OW himself. Munch pinned all four of his opponents on the way to the finals and won his title with a decisive, 10-4 decision, over #11 Ethen Miller (Park Hill). Overall, ten Wyoming Seminary wrestlers made the medal stand and one other made the finals.
The win by Wyoming Seminary snapped a three-year winning streak by perennial power Blair Academy. Blair took second place, a distant 45.5 points behind Sem. Two Blair wrestlers came away with titles, Marc-Anthony McGowan at 106 and Rylan Rogers at 182 lbs. McGowan won a rematch of the 2019 Cadet World Team Trials finals over Mac Church (Waynesburg), 6-3. Rogers got by Jake Evans (Elyria), 5-4- to win the 182 lb weight class.
Heads were turned by the third-place team Malvern Prep. Like Blair, Malvern Prep finished with two champions, Dalton Harkins at 152 and Cole Deery at 285 lbs. Harkins completed one of the best runs of the tournament when he pinned Travis Mastrogiovanni (Blair Academy) during a sudden victory period. The match was sent to extra time after a pair of late, controversial, stall calls against the Blair wrestler. Mastrogiovanni appeared poised to secure the winning takedown when Harkins chin-whipped him to his back for the pin. In addition to the second-ranked Mastrogiovanni, Harkins also upset #3 Cole Handlovic (Bethlehem Catholic), #6 Peyton Hall (Oak Grove), and #8 at 160 Bilal Bailey (Thornton Fractional North). Deery also needed more than six minutes to claim his championship. A takedown in sudden victory propelled the Malvern Prep big man to a title at heavyweight.
History was made at 220 lbs when Parkersburg South’s Braxton Amos became the 16th wrestler to win three or more Ironman titles. Like his previous runs, Amos was rarely tested in 2019. His 7-1 win over #10 Noah Pettigrew (Blair Academy) was his closest match of the tournament.
The only two Ohio natives that won titles at the 2019 tournament are underclassmen that have verballed to the Buckeyes in their home state. Paddy Gallagher (St. Edward) came back from an early 3-0 deficit to edge Andrew Cerniglia (Notre Dame-Green Pond), 4-3 at 160 lbs. Up a few weights at 195 lbs, Seth Shumate emerged victorious in a battle of talented big men from the Class of 2022 when he outlasted Nick Feldman (Malvern Prep), 10-8.
More history came at 120 lbs when Jordan Titus (Center Moriches) became the first New York high schooler to win an Ironman title. For years, New York did not attend the event due to travel restrictions. Titus was awarded what appeared to be the match-clinching takedown at the end of regulation in a 1-1 match with Cooper Flynn (McDonogh). The call was overturned by the assistant referee; however, Titus did not complain and found a way to win 5-2 in tiebreakers.
From the semifinals on, one of the craziest brackets of the tournament proved to come at 170 lbs. Tyler Stoltzfus (St. Joseph’s Catholic) ended up downing fifth-seeded Jaden Bullock (Oscar Smith), 10-6. Bullock has shocked number one seed Nevan Snodgrass (Fairmont) in the semi’s, while Stoltzfus dropped the two seed, Dom Mata (Blair Academy). Stoltzfus’ top game ended up being the difference in the title bout as he was able to turn Bullock for three near-fall points in a deciding second period.
After coming in second at this tournament in 2018, Frankie Tal-Shahar (American Heritage) was able to move one step up the podium when he won the title at 138 lbs. He managed to upset the top-ranked wrestler in the nation at the weight, Beau Bartlett (Wyoming Seminary), 3-2. The two could cross paths in the Big Ten as Tal-Shahar has signed with Northwestern, while Bartlett inked with Penn State.
Finally, at 113 lbs, we got treated to a possible Pennsylvania AA state final when Gary Steen (Reynolds) used a late charge to drop Brett Ungar (Notre Dame-Green Pond), 6-4. Steen had the opportunity to compete for the championship after getting by Erik Roggie (St. Christopher’s), 2-0
106 lbs Championship – Marc-Anthony McGowan (Blair Academy) dec Mac Church (Waynesburg Central) 6-3
113 lbs championship – Gary Steen (Reynolds) dec Brett Ungar (Notre Dame) 6-4
120 lbs championship – Jordan Titus (Center Moriches) dec Cooper Flynn (McDonogh School) 5-2TB
126 lbs championship – Nic Bouzakis (Wyoming Seminary) dec Ryan Crookham (Notre Dame-Green Pond) 4-3
132 lbs championship – Drew Munch (Wyoming Seminary) dec Ethen Miller (Park Hill) 10-4
138 lbs championship – Frankie Tal-Shahar (American Heritage) dec Beau Bartlett (Wyoming Seminary) 3-2TB
145 lbs championship – Lachlan McNeil (Wyoming Seminary) dec Victor Voinovich (Brecksville) 5-1
152 lbs championship – Dalton Harkins (Malvern Prep) fall Travis Mastrogiovanni (Blair Academy) 6:17SV
160 lbs championship – Paddy Gallagher (St. Edward) dec Andrew Cerniglia (Notre Dame-Green Pond) 4-3
170 lbs championship – Tyler Stoltzfus (St. Joseph’s) dec Jaden Bullock (Oscar Smith) 10-6
182 lbs championship – Rylan Rogers (Blair Academy) dec Jake Evans (Elyria) 5-4
195 lbs championship – Seth Shumate (Dublin Coffman) dec Nicholas Feldman (Malvern Prep) 10-8
220 lbs championship – Braxton Amos (Parkersburg South) dec Ethan Hatcher (Brecksville) 7-1
285 lbs championship – Max Millin (Malvern Prep) dec Max Millin (Massillon Perry) 3-1SV