Charlie Ginisio and Zac Elam, wrestlers from Staley High School in Kansas City, Mo., won individual championships and the Falcons had nine wrestlers place in the top five in their respective weight classes as they edged (Chicago Heights) Marian Catholic for the team title Saturday at the William “Red” Schmitt wrestling tournament Friday at Granite City High School.
One of the top high school wrestling coaches in the nation when he coached at Granite City from 1950-1985, Schmitt passed away in August at the age of 94.
A moment of silence in memory of Schmitt came before the start of the final round Saturday in front of a large crowd.
“We could have gone to another tournament, but I really wanted to come to Granite City and for the kids to compete here this year in honor of Coach Schmitt. He was a great wrestling coach, but he was an even better man. He treated everybody with respect and class,’” Staley coach Gary Mayabb said. “ Where else can your kids get seven or eight matches in two days against this type of top-level competition. I was very pleased how my mids wrestled. We had a couple of our top wrestlers out, but we had awesome others really step up.”
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Ginisio won the title at 152 pounds, and Elam took the 195-pound weight class for the Falcons, who finished with 371 points, 14.5 more than Marian Catholic’s 356.5 points.
Neosho (Missouri) was third with 321 points, half a point better than Whitfield (Missouri). Granite City was the top local school with 175 points, placing 14th overall, with 175 points, while Collinsville was 16th with 161 points.
The Warriors also had the only local finalist in senior heavyweight Korinthian Nabors, who lost to Missouri high school state champion Max Darrah, of Whitfield, 6-1 in the 285-pound final.
Nabors said he felt like somebody from Granite City needed to be in the championship match.
“This year with the passing of coach Schmitt, I thought it was only right that Granite City needed to have someone — at least one — wrestler in the finals,” Nabors said. “I knew I would have my work cut out for me against Darrah. I knew he was a great wrestler.
“I may have failed in the final, but I was glad I was able to represent my school ... today. I tried my best.”
Granite City also got a fifth-place finish from Reide Wilson in the 170-pound weight class and a third-place finish from Kyle Thompson in the 195-pound weight class.
Collinsville’s top effort came from Jacob Blaha, who placed fourth in the 132-pound weight class.