Butler’s Pietro wins GWOC showdown in holiday tournament finals

Butler’s Ronnie Pietro (right) and Northmont’s Chad Craft square off in the finals at 120 pounds Wednesday at the GMVWA Holiday Tournament. Pietro claimed the title with a 4-0 win. John Cummings/Contributed photo
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Butler’s Ronnie Pietro (right) and Northmont’s Chad Craft square off in the finals at 120 pounds Wednesday at the GMVWA Holiday Tournament. Pietro claimed the title with a 4-0 win. John Cummings/Contributed photo

It has been a long couple of weeks for Butler High School 120-pounder Ronnie Pietro.

In his first match with Butler after transferring back home from Dayton Christian, Pietro dropped a 2-1 decision to Northmont’s Chad Craft.

In the finals of the 47th annual Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament on Wednesday night, Pietro turned the tables.

Pietro recorded a takedown and near-fall points in the first period on his way to a 4-0 win.

“It is something I have been looking forward to since that first match and obviously, it worked out for me,” Pietro said.

Pietro and Craft could see each other again at the Greater Western Ohio Conference, sectional, district and state tournaments.

For now, Pietro is enjoying the atmosphere of being home after his last season at Dayton Christian.

“It is a new team and a new experience,” Pietro said. “I’m having a lot of fun this year.”

Out on top: Milton-Union senior Kamron Paulus' first trip to the holiday tournament wasn't the best.

Paulus went two-and-out as a freshman before missing the tournament the past two seasons with injuries.

Wednesday night, he scored a 4-1 win in the finals at 138 over Butler freshman Jestin Love.

“I did it,” Paulus said of his thoughts when time expired. “This is pretty exciting for me.”

Even better for Paulus was doing it as the top seed, his first experience at the top of a bracket in a major tournament.

“That was a little tough coming in because I had never been seeded that high in a tournament like this,” he said. “I had to prove myself. I didn’t know how it’d turn out.”

Still king: Despite missing two returning state placers due to injury, Graham cruised to its 12th title with 311 points.

Dublin Coffman was second – and won the big school division – with 177, 31 points more than Butler.

“It’s pretty nice that even with guys out, we can still do good as a team,” Graham’s Rocky Jordan said after winning the title at 152. “We had some freshmen step up and prove themselves which was nice.

“This is a good tough tournament and it’s good to get some solid matches in before we host St. Ed’s (Jan. 21). Hopefully we are healthy by then.”

Clean sweep: Graham made a clean sweep of the special awards presented at the conclusion of the tournament.

Mitch Moore was named Most Outstanding Wrestler from 106-145 and won the award for most pins in the championship bracket in cruising to the title at 132.

Jordan was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler from 152-285 after recording five technical falls and a pin in the finals at 152.

Into the Hall: Prior to finals, the GMVWA inducted four members — Gary Baumgartner, Robyn Grant, Mike Hennessy and Dean Palmer — into its hall of fame.

Baumgartner, a former coach at Edgewood, created www.baumspage.com in 1999. The program generates brackets and results, allowing fans to follow tournaments online. The program is used by the GMVWA and the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Grant co-founded the program at Ben Logan in 1989 and stayed a part of the coaching staff until 2015. Hennessy spent his career at a host of high schools, but was instrumental in wrestling in Dayton Public Schools. Palmer was a long-time assistant coach at Brookville.

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