Three Bison Wrestlers Place at CVC Championship

At the Chagrin Valley Conference wrestling championship, held at BHS on Feb. 6-7, sophomore Josh Bialosky (182 lb.) placed 2nd, sophomore Ben Kitay (126 lb.) placed 3rd and senior Justin Albaugh (220 lb.) placed 6th.

Wrestlers are scheduled to compete at sectionals on Feb. 28.

Kitay and Bialosky have mixed feelings about their performances at the championship.

“I’ve still got some work to do to improve for sectionals, but I thought I did pretty well,” Kitay said.

“It was a bittersweet tournament because I was just coming back from an injury,” Bialosky said. “I competed at a good level, but I would have preferred to compete at a higher level.”

Earlier in the season, Kitay placed 4th at the Riverside Rumble on Dec. 12-13 and 2nd at the Columbia Invitational Tournament on Jan. 4. Senior Jacob Markovich also took 3rd at the Riverside Rumble.

This is a respectable performance for a team in a transition year.

In spite of losing its head coach and an extremely successful senior class, this year’s team has built a foundation from which it can rival the accomplishments of recent years.

The new additions to the staff include head coach C. Peter Cimoroni, assistant coach Antonio Nicholson and assistant Alan Fried, who all bring an impressive track record.

Cimoroni, a BHS alum, lettered in four sports and was the varsity coach from 1987-1992.

Nicholson comes from Solon’s wrestling team, where he was a long-time assistant in one of the most successful programs in the state.

Fried is a three-time state champion for St. Edward’s High School, a one-time NCAA Champion for Oklahoma State and a world champion.

When Cimoroni took over in the summer, there were only six wrestlers in the 7-12 pipeline, so he had no choice but to recruit more kids to the program.

“This year’s (goal) is to create a foundation,” Cimoroni said. “We were left with a pretty bare cupboard as of this summer.”

“We went out and we recruited,” he said. “Now we have 23 wrestlers in the program, so it’s a good foundation, and we’ve got some good talent.”

Cimoroni feels good about the team’s progress.

“It’s a real learning year, but we can see some excellent improvement from all the wrestlers,” he said.

“They are really starting to understand the commitment, and they are now starting to take hold of the technical philosophy that we’re bringing,” he added.

Athletic Director Ryan Peters explained Cimoroni’s philosophy.

“They’re tactically oriented,” he said. “We’re not going to beat guys on brute strength. Everything is focused on the technique that will win matches.”

“[Cimoroni] is a teacher,” Peters continued. “He comes at sports with a more philosophical approach. He is constantly talking about the importance of overcoming adversity.”

Cimoroni has ambitious plans for the team.

“What we’re really trying to do is not only exceed (last year’s team), but have a state championship team; that’s our ultimate goal,” he said.

“We want to be a perennial powerhouse,” he added.

Kitay, who placed 6th in districts last season and was a match away from making it to states, has set big goals for himself this season.

“(My goal this year is to) place in states,” he said.

Like his coach, Kitay also sees potential for growth.

“Looking to the future, there is a lot of middle school talent that we will add to our team in the next couple years,” he said.

Cimoroni says one of his main goals is making team members not only better wrestlers, but better people.

“Our focus really is (on) doing the right thing for these young men under our tutelage,” he says

“They give me as much as I try to give them,” he said.