Monroeville trio begins road to History

Cam Tessari had hoped to be here. Tessari's fifth-grade teacher at Berlin-Milan Middle School made him write his life goal during a detention.
Michael Truax
Mar 4, 2011

Cam Tessari had hoped to be here.

Tessari's fifth-grade teacher at Berlin-Milan Middle School made him write his life goal during a detention.

His goal was to be a four-time state wrestling champion.

Seven years later, Tessari -- with Monroeville teammates Chris Phillips and Hunter Stieber -- is through the first step towards No. 4. His teacher sent him the letter a month ago.

"It's a great feeling," he said. "We've taken care of business the last three years and we want to go out with a bang this year. To pin my way through is my goal this year. I definitely have an advantage because I've been here the last three years over the kids who haven't been down here."

And he has the advantage of experience over the first-timers in the state tournament. He was once there, too, and scared.

"I remember my first time," he said. "I was terrified to walk through the tunnel in front of all those fans and wrestle.

"I've just got the experience. I'm not going into my matches super nervous, I'm not looking up into the crowd. 'The gaze.' Not scared out of my mind. I just go out here and know I need to get through my next match, get on to the next round."

Except now, before each of his matches, the P.A. system booms to let the crowd know that a three-time state champion is on the mat, defending his title.

"I don't like hearing it," Tessari said. "It just makes me more nervous for the match, makes me feel like I have to go out there and show them something. I really just need to take care of business, not go out there and try to prove anything."

The trio made their way through the first round of the tournament without scares. Tessari scored a second-round pin against Nelsonville-York junior Dakota Hook in 2:59.

Stieber (51-0) led 8-3 heading into the third period against Kameran Clemens of Wayne Trace, finishing in with a pin in 4:27.

"I'm always nervous for the first match of every tournament," Stieber said. "After that, I start feeling good."

Phillips (48-0) won a 19-8 major decision against Rootstown's Garrett Linton. He's headed towards a semifinal showdown against Chippewa's Bryson Hall (43-0) on Friday afternoon.

If the trio can complete their task this weekend, it will make the first time that three wrestlers from the same school won their fourth state title in the same year.

Stieber would become the younger half of just the fourth brother-brother tandem to both win four state titles. Phillips would be the first four-timer to win a title in a weight class higher than 160 (he has three already at 171 and is going for a fourth).

The three have made it to the state tournament, healthy, with records ready to fall if they can continue through Saturday night.

So far, so good.