Through two weeks of the wrestling season, there have been a lot of surprising stories.
There's Monroeville, weathering the loss of standout Logan Stieber to post a respectible showing at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Tournament, then stage a huge comeback to win the Elyria Catholic McNulty Invitational.
There's Oak Harbor, which got an underclassmen placer at the Ironman (Konnor Witt) before winning its own tournament with 246 points.
But one of the biggest surprises is Edison under first-year coach Davy Hermes.
Winning its own season-opening tournament is fine enough. But, to go into the Bellevue Bob Bailey Invitational and win it, even knocking off the traditionally tough host Redmen in the process, opens a lot of eyes.
"Two in a row ... I'm retiring," Hermes joked after the win. "Two and done."
Of course, he's not ready to retire. But, the coaches and teams in the Sandusky Bay Conference should be on notice that the Chargers are for real.
Throw in Oak Harbor's recent performance, along with Perkins, which had a nice showing at the season-opening Olentangy Invite before defeating Norwalk and Willard in a home quad on Saturday, and the SBC is shaping up to be a very nice wrestling conference.
Then again, when isn't it? This is par for the course for the SBC, but the players have changed a bit from the traditional powerhouses of St. Mary Central Catholic, Clyde and Perkins.
As Edison, Oak Harbor and Monroeville begin their seasons with wins, it should be noted that the underclassmen are stepping up huge for these three teams when it matters most. For the Eagles, that shouldn't be a surprise. They have three returning state champions as freshmen -- Hunter Stieber (112), Cam Tessari (130) and Chris Phillips (171) -- and all three placed in the top four at the Ironman and pinned their ways through the McNulty.
But, another sophomore, Cal Clark (135), also stepped up and filled the big void left by Logan Stieber, picking up two pins and two decisions, including a major decision over Jackson-MIlton's Alex Tomaino, 11-3, in the finals.
"I didn't think we had enough horses," Monroeville coach Scott Bauer said. "The kids wreslted very well. All of our champions had at least two pins for us and the other guys kept working and scored for us."
For Edison, it's a freshman -- Kyle Burns -- who is quickly becoming a wrestler to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
For the second-consecutive week, Burns (125) defeated a defending state qualifier and preseason ranked wrestler in the championship match. Two weeks ago, it was Hopewell-Loudon's Kyle Dandurand, who was ranked third in the state. Last week, it was Shelby's John Worthington, who Burns beat, 8-6 in overtime, in the Bellevue finals.
"Kyle was losing 5-2 in the third, and he just kept after it with a couple of takedowns to tie it up," Hermes said. "Then, he took him down in the OT to win it.
"We thought, for sure, Kyle would win the MVP award for the second week in a row. But, it certainly doesn't take away from how he's started this season."
The Rockets had five champions in their own invitational, and just missed a sixth. Witt was just beaten, 3-2, by defending state placer (and eventual tounament MVP) Jerrell Valliant in the 145-pound championship.
However, sophomore Ian Miller, fresh off getting some noteriety for how he hung with three-time state champion David Taylor of St. Paris Graham in the Ironman, won the title at 135 with an 18-3 technical fall over Shawn Bryant of Rossford.
Thanks to how well the underclassmen in this area have wrestled, it shows that the well certainly isn't dry after getting 16 in the state championship match last season.
n With only six healthy wrestlers, South Central placed all six at the Sparta Highland Tournament last weekend and took sixth place with 141 points.
Payton Oney (135), Anthony Ferber (145) and Nick Hamilton (HVY) were the individual champions for the Trojans, all going 5-0. Hamilton and Ferber pinned their way to the championship, while Oney had three pins and two tech. falls. Hamilton even set a record with a three-second pin.
"The guys looked like they are in good shape," South Central coach Ken Johnson said. "They are getting refined more and more in their technique. Now, it's just a matter of time to see how well they can put things together over the long haul."
n Sandusky had a stellar showing at the Oak Harbor Invitational, taking third overall with 195 points and four champions.
Defending state runner-up Delonne Baker, in his first action of the season, went 5-0 to win the heavyweight championship of the tournament for the Blue Streaks. Joining Baker and Valliant as champions were Davion Caston (112) and Gavin Blanchard (130).
n Clyde, only competing with 12 out of 14 wrestlers due to injury and the ACT, finished fifth at the Dublin Coffman Rox Winter Classic. The Fliers placed 10 of those 12 wrestlers. Trever Strickland (215) was a runner-up, while Dylan Stiffler (125) and Zach Thurn (112) each took third.
"The kids wrestled well," Clyde coach Matt Merrill said. "It was a tough tournament. We would have liked to get a champion or two, but to place 10 is nothing to be ashamed of."
n In sweeping Norwalk (40-29) and Willard (45-28) in a home quad on Saturday, Perkins had five wrestlers go 2-0. They were headlined by senior Jon McGookey (152), Sebastian Kilbury (125) and Allen Crum (215), who each had two pins.
n Lost in Edison's win at the Bellevue Invitational was the fact that the host Redmen wrestled a very nice tournament.
Bellevue, which lost to Edison by nine, 335-324, crowned four champions -- Shane Justice (130), C.J. Rogers (135), Charlie Alafita (152) and Markie Brooks (HVY). Josh Zenowicz (171) was a runner-up for the Redmen.
Other area runners-up at the Bellevue tourney were Port Clinton's Derick Johannsen (130) and Vermilion's Alex West (112). Defending champion Anthoney Budka (140) finished third this year for the Sailors.
n Plymouth took eighth in the 12-team Arcadia Invite over the weekend and had two champions -- Myles Rinehart (135) and David McDonald (130). Rinehart won his 100th career match in his first match of the tournament and is 11-1 on the young season.
The big tournament in the area this weekend is the 10-team Norwalk Invitational.
Sandusky is the lone area team competing, along with the host Truckers. Other teams include Clear Fork, Cuyahoga Heights, Garfield Heights, Ontario, Medina Buckeye, Fostoria St. Wendelin, Tiffin Columbian and Toledo Wittmer. The Norwalk Invite, as it has since it began 10 years ago, will be run in a pool format, with pool winners being matched up in the finals.
Wrestling begins at 10:30 a.m., with finals slated to start between 5:30-6 p.m.
"This is good little tournament," said former Norwalk coach Ron DeLuca, who is back as the tournament director. "The coaches and wrestlers like it because they get to wrestle throughout the day, and the only time all the kids don't wrestle is the finals."
Norwalk is the defending champion. Sandusky, Cuyahoga Heights and Buckeye could challenge the Truckers for the top spot this season.
Beginning with the first Fandy.com Magazine of 2009 (Jan. 8), we will begin to accept and run wrestling records for all the area wrestlers. Records will be accepted on Sundays and Mondays prior to that edition of Fandy coming out. They can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or faxed to 419-625-3007. Also, feel free to nominate anyone you feel is worthy for wrestler of the week. Please submit those by Sunday nights by the above methods.