Graham High School sophomore Mario Kastl sports a large scar along his left shoulder.
It’s a constant reminder of surgery to repair a torn labrum and shredded shoulder, but now Kastl is the one doing the shredding.
The 120-pounder cruised to the quarterfinals of the 43rd Annual Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament in putting his repaired shoulder through its first real tests Friday at Wright State’s Nutter Center.
“My first match, I didn’t wrestle to my ability,” Kastl said. “But, after that, I let go of all those nerves and went out and wrestled to my abilities.”
Contributing was a relief for Kastl after watching his teammates finish second at the Walsh Ironman two weeks ago.
“Watching all my teammates wrestle was hard, but it was fun to watch them do well,” Kastl said. “I just couldn’t wait for my opportunity.”
While Kastl is back, standouts Brent Moore (132) and Tanner Smith (106) were both held out. Combine the health issue with a field that includes the Archer, Ga., team ranked 14th in the nation by the Amateur Wrestling News and Graham coach Jeff Jordan is glad to have at least one of the pieces of the machine back.
“He has been off six months and right now he is working on getting his training back,” Jordan said of Kastl. “It was great to see him get out and compete again. We bang so hard in practice that we get the little nagging injuries. (Holding some wrestlers back) was a precautionary measure because we’ve got Blair (Academy) coming in next Saturday.”
The Falcons, ranked third nationally, spent the first day playing bumper cars with Archer for the tournament lead. Graham entered the final round of the first day with 109.5 points, 15 points back of Archer. Both teams have 10 in the quarters.
“Tomorrow is the day,” Jordan said. “We will see if we step up and wrestle, but I am looking forward to it.”
While the Falcons are looking to stay on top, Greeneview 138-pounder Andrew Hoskins is hoping the Division III Rams can garner some respect from a strong showing.
“We are a small D-III school so some people don’t give us much of a chance against the Division I and II kids,” Hoskins said after battling into the quartes of a stacked weight class with a 8-1 win over Edgewood’s Kaleb Campos. “We knew it would be tough, but we also knew it was a chance to beat some good kids and get a little more respect.”
Hoskins was also looking for a little personal respect.
“All week, Logan (LaCure) and I prepared for this like it was state,” Hoskins said. “We do well here, we know we will do well at the end of the season. If I wrestle tough against the big kids perhaps I will get more respect. People were talking about everyone else in my weight except me and that is helping me too.”
Hoskins and LaCure were joined in the quarters by top-seeded Armani Robinson at 182 as the Rams sat in sixrh place overall with 60.5 points. Kenton Ridge is 24th with 43 points and has three in the quarters.
Wrestling resumes at 11 a.m. today with the quarterfinals. Finals are slated to begin at approximately 5 p.m., or 45 minutes after the final consolation semifinal.