Varsity Wrestling · Aggressive Pirates kick off circuit duals

PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio — Rocky River split a league double, going 1-1 as the Pirates opened Great Lakes Conference action on Thursday.

In a meet hosted by Holy Name High School, a Pirate squad which placed fourth in last year’s GLC Tournament defeated Elyria Catholic (36-18) and lost to Normandy (42-27). Rocky River (2-5, 1-1 GLC) got twin wins on the evening by Matt Williams (106 pounds), Ryan Maloney (120), Josh Bergin (132) and Mahdi Salti (195, 220).

“I like the we wrestled against Normandy,” said Head Coach Dan Juliani. “We just could outpace the forfeits.”

River’s match against Normandy included Pirate victories in 5-of-7 on-mat bouts. Five Rocky River forfeits loomed large in the final score. The Pirates took a 15-6 lead against the Invaders on the strength of low-scoring decisions won by Williams, Maloney and Bergin. Normandy tripled up River, 36-12, the rest of the way. Tommy Koch and Mahdi Salti earned wins by fall in the test against the Invaders; Koch’s pin was at 182, Salti earned a first-period pin over Kaleb Jones despite wrestling up and yielding nearly 30 pounds to his mat foe.

Rocky River and Elyria Catholic tangled in just two on-mat bouts — Pirate losses at 152 and 182. But the Maroon & White went 5-1 over six forfeited match-ups.

With his two wins on Thursday, Mahdi Salti is now 9-3 on the season. Matt Williams upped his record to 18-5; he is 3-1 in decisions.

“I saw a lot of improvement from our younger guys,” said Juliani. “I’m proud of the way they were aggressive in their matches.”

Its no stretch to tag freshman grappler Kai Delvinthal with that aggressiveness label. On Thursday, Delvinthal twice passed over forfeit opportunities to wrestle up and get in bouts. Delvinthal lost both — including a defeat at the hands of EC district placer Stephen Ferguson at 152 pounds — but Juliani noted that the freshman has gotten in quality action since logging his prep debut last Saturday in River’s 1-1 split at home.

Rocky River will travel to River Valley to compete in Bender Duals Tournament on Saturday.

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