Ten wrestlers head to districts in Norwalk this weekend

Rockets ride into postseason on wave of second place team finish in sectional tournament


Photo by Aspen Hanzak

Junior Donovan Paes preparing for the match to start at home. Paes recently went undefeated at the District Championship for 132 and will be going to Columbus for the State Championship. Photo taken by Aspen Hanzak

Riding on a successful weekend at sectionals, head coach Josh Zupancic and 10 of his wrestlers are heading into the district tournament this weekend with the end goal of states in mind. 

Streetsboro cleaned up at sectionals with a second-place team finish, and 10 wrestlers are advancing to the district tournament: Landon Bodovetz, Sam Brunner, Aidan Carone, Joey Fedor, Morgan Harris, Cohen Klimak, Matt Klimak, Donovan Paes, Alex Shaffer, Hunter Smith. 

All will have their work cut out for them at districts, the next step before the state tournament in Columbus.

Freshman Cohen Klimak is wrestling against a Ravenna wrestler. Klimak pinned him in the first period. Klimak is currently a State qualifier at 150 and will be heading to Columbus. Photo taken by Aspen Hanzak

There is more ahead for this team, and they are hungry to win. As the postseason continues, practices have been way more intense and focused than in the past, said freshman Cohen Klimak. “Definitely been higher intensity practices, and then we’ll stay after to get extra work with the coaches,” he said. 

Cohen Klimak and his fellow freshman cousin, Matthew Klimak, were both named MAC champions as well as junior Donavon Paes. 

The “win and advance” postseason can be extremely stressful, especially for freshmen who have never been through it before. Cohen Klimak said of his MAC title win, “It was really cool because it was a tough match, so it definitely means a lot, especially since my cousin (Matt Klimak) won, too, so it’s like we’re making our name known.”

Upperclassman Paes is no stranger to the postseason. When asked about his MAC and sectional titles, Paes said, “It feels good. I mean, I’m not really complacent with those. I want to do more, like, better things. I want to do more, a lot more.” 

Paes is working on a state tournament placement. 

With Streetsboro’s winning tradition at the state level of wrestling, what makes this team different from past years is the culture. 

“After all of our big team wins, we go out to eat as a team and it’s a really good time,” Cohen Klimak said. “I’ve made a lot of good friends throughout the season.” 

Though Paes has been on the high school team for three years, this is the first time he has felt more of the team comradery. 

Freshman Matthew Klimak winning a match at the Field Falcon’s gym.

“Usually I don’t say wrestling is a team sport, but now it is more of a team sport and we have more fun as a team,” he said. “Even in practices, we just all enjoy being around each other and there’s never a dull moment.”

With all of the success in various tournaments, the wealth has been spread among the team. 

“It seems like we’ve had a lot of different kids win other than Paes, and we have had four or five kids win and different people place,” Zupancic said of this shift. “It’s not like just one small group leading it’s everyone.”

As a unified team, the wrestlers will compete today and Saturday (March 4 and 5 at the district tournament at Norwalk High School,) 350 Shady Lane Drive, Norwalk, OH 44857.