UPDATE: Finals results:
Monroeville's Cam Tessari fell in the finals to Evan Henderson of Kiski School (PA), 5-3.
Oak Harbor's Ian Miller won the title with an 8-6 decision over Stephen Robertson, Miller's first title. He defeated Robertson on the way to a second-place finish in 2009.
In the all-area 171-pound final, Monroeville's Chris Phillips defeated Oak Harbor's Konner Witt, 12-4. Phillips led 4-2 after one and 10-4 after two, holding Witt off for the win.
Hunter Stieber edged a strong opponent, Austin Ormsbee, in the 135 finals for his second Ironman title and the Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
After a brief scare due to incorrect livebrackets online, it appears as though all of the usual suspects are still wrestling in the championship round.
Monroeville's Hunter Stieber, Cam Tessari and Chris Phillips will wrestle in 135,140 and 171 tonight in the championships starting at 6:30, as will Oak Harbor's Ian Miller at 152. All four wrestlers were the top seeds in their class.
Here's the surprise: Oak Harbor's Konner Witt made his way through the field at 171, where he'll take on Phillips in the championship. Why is it a surprise? Witt was the 2010 state runner-up at 152 and jumped two weight classes heading into this season. He's likely to move down from 171 to 160 before the postseason tournament, too, which should make Oak Harbor fans even more optimistic about the Rockets.
Oak Harbor's Jake Cramer, who made it to state at 140 last season, made it to the championiship quarterfinals at 189, where he fell to the top-ranked wrestler in the nation, Morgan McIntosh of Calvary Chapel, CA. For what it's worth, Cramer was McIntosh's first opponent to make it out of the first round.
Hunter Stieber has a rough opponent in the finals in Blair Academy (NJ)'s Austin Ormsbee. Sure, Hunter is the top-ranked wrestler at 135 (by Intermat), and deservedly so, but Ormsbee holds the No. 1 spot at 140 in the same rankings. That's what makes this tournament -- and this sport -- great: It allows great marquee interstate matchups such as this with regularity. You'll struggle to find this in any other sport, just in the way they're structured. I asked Monroeville coach Scott Bauer about the possibility of this matchup before the tournament started. He noted that you can't look ahead that far in a tournament like this, or an opponent in a previous round is likely to stick you. I'll buy the "one match/game at a time" mantra in a tournament like this.
Cam Tessari started the tournament fast with two big wins over Tyler Manion of Kiski School (PA), a 16-1 tech fall, and Conner Shene of Park Hill (MO), a pin in 37 seconds. Since then, however, he's won by narrow margins against Angelo Silvestro of Marmion (IL) in a 5-3 decision and Andrew Romanchik of Padua Franciscan. Silvestro is a decorated and experienced wrestler: Not only is he an Illinois state semifinalist, he was fourth in the 2010 Cadet Freestyles in Fargo, N.D. Romanchik took third place in Division II-125 last year with his only loss in the tournament to a wrestler that the Monroeville boys know well: Walsh's Johnni DiJulius. (In the 2010 Ironman, DiJulius lost in the 130-pound semifinal round to Brandon Jeske of Frank W. Cox (VA)).
Ian Miller worked his way decisively through the first four rounds of of the tournament with a pair of pins and a pair of major decisions. He ran into the fifth seed, Eric Morris of Wyoming Seminary (PA) for a change of pace and a 3-1 win. Miller's made it to the Ironman finals for the second consecutive year. The 2009 Ironman finals were his last varsity loss. In the finals, Miller wrestles Stephen Robertson of Montini Catholic (IL), who edged St. Paris Graham's Matt Stephens in the semifinals, 3-2. Robertson is a two-time Illinois state champ and a runner-up his freshman year. He has also been working his way up the Ironman ladder, finishing 8th in 2008 and 6th in 2009. And why does Stephens' name sound familiar? Last season, Stephens was the popular favorite to take the 145-pound weight class in Division II -- the one that Miller eventually won -- before being disqualified for a vicious bodyslam of Lisbon Beaver's Dylan Ice (the youtube video; it's at 3:06) in the semifinals. In the finals, Miller finished the injured Ice with a 19-4 tech and Stephens won the third-place finals.
Konner Witt earned his chance at a title with three quick wins -- his first three opponents didn't last 3:00 -- and a 2-1 decision over St. Paris Graham's Kyle Ryan. Ryan won the 2009 Division II title at 160 and was the runner-up in the same class in 2010. He finished fourth in last year's Ironman tourney. Witt was runner-up in Division II at 152 last season. This will be his first match against Chris Phillips, who's been at 171 since he was a freshman. Only one varsity wrestler has walked off the mat with a pin or points decision over Phillips -- Ed Ruth of Blair Academy (NJ) edged Phillips 3-2 in this tournament in 2008. Phillips lost by injury default in last season's Ironman.
The Graham Falcons -- winning the tournament before the championship break with 148 points, followed by Blair Academy with 129 -- surprisingly don't have a top-seeded wrestler in any class. They do, however, have 11 seeded wrestlers, six in the top-four seeds.
Wrestling fans have to appreciate the epic Nathan Tomasello's (CVCA) seventh-period 2-1 victory over Darian Cruz (Bethlehem Catholic, Penn.). Tomasello was ranked No. 2 in the nation at 103 by Intermat, with Cruz No. 1. To make it sweeter for the CVCA sophomore and reigning state champ, he fell to Cruz at the Super 32 in late November.