UTICA — It was a chance for the Utica Redskins to post another big tournament win before heading to the Mid-Buckeye Conference showdown. This time, the tournament they won was their own.
The Redskins were led by heavyweight Bryce Stewart, 103-pounder Dillon Fletcher and 145-pounder Will Sturm, who won their weight classes. As a team, they scored 220.5 points to soundly beat a field of nine other schools and win Saturday’s 2011 Utica Invitational Tournament. They did it with some surprising contributions.
“Will Sturm really stepped up — especially for a freshman,” said Utica coach Mike Garven. “He had a really good tournament. I hope he’ll do well in the MBC. We need him. Bryce pinned a Harvest Prep kid (Terry Harper) in the finals, who was 20-1.”
Utica, one of the area’s best-balanced teams, had a top four finisher in each of 10 weight classes, besting several strong programs including second-place Heath (199.5) and third-place Philo (196). They were followed by Coshocton (139) and Newark (130).
“It’s a good gauging block to see how hard you’ve got to work these last few weeks with the Sectionals coming on,” said Garven about this community-supported match. “There’s at least one or two really good kids in each weight class.”
Stewart defeated teammate Austin Burris, who finished second in the 103-pound class. Utica’s Gavin Shannon was the best area wrestler in the 160-pound class, finishing second to Mason Robinson of Heath.