Lake Catholic wrestling: Lake Eight motivated to prove pundits wrong – News-Herald.com

Posted: March 14, 2020 at 1:45 pm


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The Lake Catholic wrestling team is flying under the radar this week. They might even feel a little disrespected.

That's OK with them.

When the Cougars' contingent of eight walks into the Jerome Schottenstein Center for the state wrestling tournament that will run March 13-15, they will do so without any projected state champions and as an afterthought by many, if not most, on the Division II state leaderboard.

Just the way they like it.

"I keep telling our guys the rest of the world is probably counting us out," said Coach Scott Hivnor. "I think we have the capabilities of getting many placers and several finalists and champions. We're more than capable of coming home with a trophy."

In the most recent rankings by IntermatOhio wrestling guru Josh Lowe, Lake Catholic is projected to place eighth in the Division II team race this weekend, with 113-pound Brendan McCrone (projected to finish as state runner-up) and 182-pound Cole Hivnor (projected to finish third) the only two wrestlers given a shot at state-title possibilities.

Not like they would know.

Scott Hivnor has put a gag order on his wrestlers looking at rankings or talking about them.

But they DO know not much is expected of them.

And that's part of their fire this weekend.

"I really don't look at them, per se," said junior Cole Hivnor, a two-time state placer of rankings. "I always know where I'm ranked. I know if I don't get beat, I'm not moving (in the ranks)."

Senior Nick Coreno, ranked eighth at 138, agrees.

"I never look at my weight class and division," he said. "I pretty much know who is in my weight class. It doesn't matter where anyone is ranked anyway."

Cole Hivnor, McCrone and Coreno will be joined in Columbus this weekend by freshman Brock Herman (106), sophomore Ethan Smith (132), junior Anthony Trivisonno (145), junior Rob Boley (160) and senior Owen Weaver (195).

Nearly two decades has passed since Lake Catholic had last sent eight wrestlers to the state tournament. The Cougars have accomplished that feat two years in a row.

"It says a lot," Cole Hivnor said of eight qualifiers this year. "Nobody thought we'd get eight. Our coaches the whole time said we were gonna get eight-plus. And that's what we did. We just trusted our training."

The Cougars feel their schedule this season has tested them well for what they're about to encounter at the state tournament.

A group of five Herman, McCrone, Coreno, Trivisonno and Hivnor wrestled in the Walsh Jesuit Ironman, touted as the toughest high school tournament in the country. The Cougars also took part in the Grizzly Invitational in Wadsworth, the North Canton tournament and the Brecksville Holiday Tournament, all featuring a Who's Who in Ohio wrestling lineup of teams.

Additionally, the Cougars advanced to the regional finals in the dual tournament, losing to Aurora, 31-30.

Even before all of that, five Cougars Smith, Boley, McCrone, Hivnor and Trivisonno wrestled in the freestyle nationals in Fargo, N.D. over the summer.

"I think that's a huge advantage our guys have," Scott Hivnor said of the Lake Catholic schedule. "We've wrestled the best kids in the country, not just the state. That makes tournaments like the state tournament a little less intimidating."

The current group of Lake Catholic wrestlers is a tight-knit group, Scott Hivnor said. They wrestled in the Lake youth club, all the way up through junior high, freestyle and now the state tournament.

"We've been all over the country trying to prepare our kids for big arenas and big venues," he said. "So when they get to state, they realize, 'Hey, we've wrestled in big places like this before.'"

The Cougars believe in themselves, their training, their schedule and where it's led them.

They believe, even if not everyone else does.

"These kids love each other support each other and want to win," Scott Hivnor said. "That culture is a big reason we are in this position right now."

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Lake Catholic wrestling: Lake Eight motivated to prove pundits wrong - News-Herald.com

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March 14th, 2020 at 1:45 pm

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