BELOIT - No one is more elated that there was a week break in between the league and sectional tournaments than the Howland wrestling team - especially Kyle Descenna.
The 112-pound junior had pneumonia two weeks ago and felt like his wrestling wasn't anywhere near where it needed to be at this time of the season.
It's amazing what two weeks of hard practices and some healing time can do.
Descenna was one of three Tigers to win a title at the Division II sectional tournament on Feb. 21 at West Branch High School.
Descenna emerged from a weight class that even he didn't think he had a chance of conquering. But he did just that, beating Chad Hupp of West Branch, 4-1, in the finals.
''I didn't expect to do as well as I did,'' he said. ''This is the first tournament in a while that I've come out and actually been wrestling healthy. I felt like I wrestled to my full potential, finally.''
The turning point for Descenna came in a semifinal match against Hubbard's Mitch Perry, the No. 1 seed. Perry had handily beaten Descenna twice this year - once at the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League tournament on Feb. 6-7 and again at a dual meet on Feb. 11. Yet Descenna hit a five-point move midway through the match, and ended up winning, 9-5.
''After I beat (Perry) I got a real big boost in confidence because he was the one I was expecting to go down to,'' said Descenna (27-10), who transferred from John F. Kennedy this past season. ''Last year I was injured all year so I didn't get to wrestle at all, and I was at Kennedy so it's a new school for me. But we've had good training all year and I've had a good drill partner all year, and it's really paid off. I definitely improved a lot.''
Descenna wasn't alone in feeling ill the past few weeks. Howland coach Brian Earich said he would have been without a number of wrestlers if the sectional tournament was last week. Instead, he had a number of wrestlers on the top step of the podium - three to be exact.
''If we had sectionals last week, we might have had three or four kids who got (to districts),'' said Earich, who had seven wrestlers advance to the Akron Firestone district. ''Everybody's been sick. So, we were very blessed, and we caught a little bit of luck.''