The North Royalton Wrestling team learned some valuable lessons during the regular season and are ready to make a statement in the post-season OHSAA Individual State Tournament.
Those lessons came by wrestling nationally-ranked teams like Brecksville and Wadsworth during the Suburban League regular season.
North Royalton Wrestling Coach Sean Folk said, “our guys learned a lot by battling against the toughest teams in the area, in the state and nationally.”
Those lessons began to pay off in the post-season Suburban League tournament and in the Individual and Team Dual Championships run by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
In the Suburban League Tournament, two North Royalton wrestlers showed they were ready for the State Tournament. Sophomore Lazar Gasic finished third in the Suburban League Tournament at 220 pounds. Junior Paul Twarog finished in fifth place at 152 pounds.
In the Team Dual Championship, North Royalton advanced past Parma in the opening round of the Regionals, but ran into nationally ranked Wadsworth once again.
In the Individual Championship, Twarog and Gasic advanced to the District meet at Perrysburg, along with sophomore Bradey Humble, who wrestles at 113 pounds. Humble, Twarog and Gasic all captured third place finishes in the Brecksville Sectional.
Four other North Royalton wrestlers finished fifth in the Brecksville Sectional, earning alternate status for the District. The four are senior Nick Rocco (106), senior Kenny Lint (120), junior Aaron Hertel (138) and freshman David Miller (126).
“It’s nice to see the three qualifiers advance to the districts,” said Folk. “The three (Bradey, Paul and Lazar) all showed improvement during the year and got better.”
Folk said he was “happy to see improvement with this year’s team, especially with the guys who came back from 2017. I always have time to help guys who make the effort to improve.”
Like many other High Schools in the area, North Royalton takes full advantage of the youth wrestling programs in the city. “We get steady contributions from wrestlers in the youth programs. We also get help from the middle school wrestling program.” The North Royalton Youth Wrestling Club is for students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.
Folk says while wrestling is a physical sport, the mental aspect of the sport is just as important.
“Many people think that wrestling is a sport where you use your strength to put your opponent on the mat. But, wrestling is a mental sport as well. Wrestlers can impose their will on their opponent to get them on the mat,” he said.
One of the high points of this year’s North Royalton Wrestling season was the team runner-up finish in the Maple Heights Holiday Tournament. Twarog, Gasic and Junior Matt Casey (170) were individual champions in the Maple Heights event. On an individual basis, both Twarog and Gasic have over 20 victories this season.
If you are looking ahead to next year’s North Royalton team, four of the six wrestlers who will be at the district meet will return. That’s a great starting point.

Contributing Writer