To say Monroeville did well at the Walsh Ironman would be an understatement. The Eagles went against the big dogs and came away with a fifth-place finish, including having three champions.
Also, Chris Phillips earned MVP honors with his effort, including beating Lakewood St. Edward's Brian Roddy for the 171-pound championship. Roddy was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Reflector Advertising Director John Ringenberg went to the tournament. His son, Ben, wrestles for the Eagles.
Here's John's account of the two-day event
Many believe itâ€™s the best high school wrestling tournament in the country.
Almost all say itâ€™s one of the top two.
Fifty four of the nationâ€™s very best wrestling programs sent teams to the â€œIronmanâ€ competition at Walsh Jesuit High School this past weekend. Above all, one captured the imagination of those in attendance.Â
St. Edward?... New Jerseyâ€™s Blair Academy?...Â Broken Arrow from Oklahoma?Â
Nope. The wrestling world stamped a big star on its map across the tiny village of Monroeville, as the Eagles placed fifth capturing three championships, a sixth place finish and a â€œMost Valuable Wrestlerâ€ award and they did it with three freshmen and a sophomore.
At a tournament this large, where the wrestling goes on non-stop for hours over two days, I had a tendency to move from seat to seat to avoid rigamortis.
As the tournament went on, one could hear the buzz begin about the young men in the gold and black.
As I cheered on the Eagles, I became the man with the answers to those close by me.Â â€œNow which ones are brothers?â€ â€œWhereâ€™s Monroeville?â€Â
â€œHow big is it?â€
â€œItâ€™s a public school?â€
â€œAre you kidding me?â€
After winning his first three matches, freshman Cam Tessari lost to the eventual champion in the quarter final match at 112 pounds.Â
With a couple of tough breaks through the wrestler backs, he took home the sixth place trophy.
Sophomore Logan Stieber took first at 119. His grandfather, Ron Stieber said it best, â€œLogan is like a rattlesnake, always striking, striking, striking until he gets his prey.Â His younger brother, freshman Hunter was more businesslike in taking care of every opponent on his way to the 103 championship.
Question? Whatâ€™s wasÂ freshman Chris Phillips doing out on the mat with 171 seniors who, next year, will be wrestling at the most prestigious wrestling universities in America?Â
Answer: He was handling each of them in a very impressive manner. When he beat the top ranked 171 wrestler in the country for the championship, the tournament wrestling coaches voted him the â€œMost Valuable Wrestlerâ€ of the tournament.
During the awards ceremony, the announcer sounded astonished at his own words...Â â€œ in itâ€™s 14year history, this tournament rarely sees a freshman champion. We have never seen two freshman champions from the same school. Â
And, we certainly have never seen a freshman â€œMost Valuable Wrestlerâ€.
As Chris was picking up his MVW trophy, I heard someone behind me say, â€œWhat an amazing athleteâ€.
On my drive home, I realized that I had just witness the most remarkable sporting event I had ever seen. Amazing, indeed.Â Â