One of this winter’s sports season’s success stories is the Avon Lake wrestling team.
Anchored by a core of underclassmen, the Shoremen quietly spent the offseason training with the newly recharged Avon Lake Wrestling Club. Now they are seeing success in the regular season.
The Shoremen have won two tournaments this winter – at Eastlake North and the Len Pariano Classic at Berea-Midpark.
They have also crowned several champs and placed a core of solid up-and-comers at every event.
“They tell me this is the best Avon Lake has done in about 14 years,” said second year head coach Nick Mayer. “But it is all about the people these kids have been around, like assistant coaches Marcus Effner, Anthony Coleman and Ken Weaver and others like Erik Burnett and Mark Moos.”
The life lessons of wrestling are filtering into the team attitude. Wrestlers like 174-pounder Jason Barnicle, a junior, had never won before this season. But this year he has stood atop the championship podium twice – at the Columbia Tournament and Pariano Tournament. “This is great! I never won anything before, it is a great feeling,” said Barnicle this week after practice.
Jason is learning what all experienced wrestlers know – that if you lose a tournament match, there is always another one coming up. But when you win and stand atop that podium, it is a victory that is yours for life.
“We are still building and we have a long way to go,” said Mayer. “This weekend, we are heading to Oregon Clay for a tournament that is going to be tough. We will see some new faces”
“It gives us a chance to see other wrestlers we will face at tournament time, and also other officials from another region. That is important,” said Coach Ken Weaver.
Team leader has to be sophomore Joey Bernosky. The 132-pounder has lost just once this year and has claimed titles at the Eastlake North, Avon Lake K of C and Columbia Tournaments. Other multiple tournament winners include Nick Mayer at 113 pounds and Tyler Mayer at 152 pounds.
At last week’s Pariano Tournament, sophomore Zack Klima also took a title, his first of the year.
“We have a real good core of young wrestlers who are coming on,” said Mayer. In the Southwestern Conference, the Shoremen will find the SWC Meet to be held at Westlake High in two weeks a real challenge. Brecksville-Broadview Hts. is a state power and league favorite.
But the way things are going this wrestling season, Avon Lake isn’t backing away from anyone. And the future of the Shoremen program is better than ever.