By Frank Foreman
Motivation can be a difficult thing to find as a wrestler when entering a match against an inexperienced Erie East squad that has a difficult time filling a lineup.
Then again, not everyone wrestles like Meadville’s Ashton Longstreth.
The Warriors came into Thursday night’s Region 4 match with just 10 wrestlers on the roster, forfeiting six bouts at The House of Thrills during a 72-4 win for the Bulldogs.
During a contest filled with pins and non-matches, it was Longstreth’s victory at 145 pounds that stood out, as he continued his hot start to the new season.
“Longstreth did a nice job for us. (Justin Cruz) came out and got a takedown on him, but Ashton worked his way back and got a fall in the second period,” Meadville head coach Barry Anderson said. “I give Ashton a lot of credit. He goes out there and might give up a few points to begin the match, but then he grinds it out. He’s a grinder.”
As for that motivation, Longstreth has it ready at all times.
“I just go out there, get angry, and go after them,” Longstreth said. “I think about how our team is doing, and I get angrier if the guy before me loses. I just go out there and get really tough.”
Cruz took an early advantage with a takedown to make it 2-0 before an escape cut the lead in half. A Longstreth takedown pushed the Meadville wrestler back on top before an illegal hold tied the match at 3-3.
With the match even at 4-4 early in the second period, Longstreth put a quick move on Cruz to score a takedown before earning the victory via pinfall at 2:52. The win made Longstreth 5-2 on the season.
“He was quick in the first period, but I kind of slowed down and just got it done,” Longstreth said.
Though Longstreth said he thrives when he follows a Bulldog loss, that would be hard to find Thursday.
As a team, the Bulldogs won seven bouts by pinfall and six by forfeit. After Nick Costa won by forfeit at 106 pounds to start the match, a double forfeit at 113 kept it 6-0 Meadville. That set off a string of five Bulldogs wins by pin, beginning with Aaron Ehrgott pinning Jose Brown at 1:29 at 120 pounds.
Kyle Luben followed by pinning Kevin Baeza at the 2:35 mark at 126 pounds before Derek Ridgeway pinned Mario Jamie in impressive fashion just 1:18 into the 132-pound match. Kris Nottingham supplied the next Bulldog win at 138 pounds when he pinned RaQuan Roberts in 1:30. Longstreth capped off the Meadville string of pins to make it 36-0 in the blink of an eye.
“We were intense. In each of the matches, I thought we battled,” Anderson said. “Our guys seemed to be in control from the beginning, and there were a lot of first period pins, which shows we’re being aggressive.”
Back-to-back forfeits by East at 152 and 160 pounds stretched the Meadville lead before Louis Crawford took care of business at 170 pounds for Meadville when he pinned Tyler Hammerman in 1:26. The lone East win came at 182 pounds, when Tishar Moss earned a major decision victory over Cameron DeMason.
The East winning streak ended at one however as Luke Carr’s pin of Dimarius Murel in 3:13 at 220 pounds capped off the night. That match was sandwiched between a pair of Warriors’ forfeits.
Costa, Brandon Owens, Patrick Adams, Dakota Turk and Logan Wessel all picked up wins by forfeit for the Bulldogs.
“It was kind of what we expected. We still have a lot to work on, but not as much to work on when you go out like that,” Anderson said. “Sometimes the kids get in their heads who they wrestle and that’s how they wrestle. It’s nice to see they didn’t make any errors tonight, for the most part.”
The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday when they travel to Oil City before returning home Thursday for a match against Titusville.