By Pete Chiodo
It was an exciting final round at the 2014 District 10 Class AA wrestling championships, which wrapped up Saturday at Sharon High School.
Of the 14 final bouts, all but one went the distance, nine of them ended with a margin of four points or less, and three went into extra time.
There was little excitement in the team race, however. Reynolds dominated, scoring 222 points while advancing 13 of 14 wrestlers to next weekends Northwest Region championships, which begin Friday back at Sharon High School.
Greenville took second with 158 points. Fort LeBoeuf was third with 136 points. Saegertown grabbed fourth with 139.5 points. And Conneaut rounded out the top five with 71 points.
Vath, Reynolds repeat for Saegertown
It’s a three-peat for Saegertown junior Tyler Vath.
He notched his third District 10 title in three years after defeating Conneaut’s Kyle Lukowich 3-0 in last night’s final.
“Every one is just as thrilling as the last one,” said Vath. “I’m feeling good just to be a part of it.”
Vath never really found himself in much trouble during the weekend. Along with a pin in the quarterfinals, he added an 8-0 major over Reynolds’ Joel Leise in the semis, and then added the shutout against Lukowich, a match that proved to be his toughest of the tournament.
Vath clinched it with a takedown with six seconds left in the second period, spinning on top of Lukowich four or five times before locking it down.
“That takedown, getting that was key,” he said. “I could wrestle more freely after that.”
Dylan Reynolds, Saegertown’s 182-pounder, picked up his second D-10 medal just a few weight classes later.
Reynolds began Saturday’s round with a 5-2 decision over familiar foe Justin Reynolds of Greenville.
“This year and last year, I’ve probably wrestled him something like eight to 10 times,” said Dylan Reynolds. “It seems like every other week it’s him and me.”
As well scouted as Dylan Reynolds is, Justin Reynolds still can’t get by him. And that victory for the Panthers’ junior moved him on to the finals against a defensive-minded Austin Moffett of Reynolds. Dylan Reynolds got it as many shots as he could in a 9-3 victory.
“I knew he was going to try to throw me, so I just kept doing shots and trying to beat him on my feet,” he said.
Along with the two champs, Saegertown had five others advance to next weekend’s Northwest Regional tournament.
Panthers 120-pounder Bingbong Elizon wrestled an outstanding tournament. He opened the day with a 6-4 victory over Section 3 champion Matt Wheeler of Northwestern in the semifinals. That put him in the finals against LeBoeuf’s Jarrett Carter. Carter scored an escape and a takedown in the second period. Elizon couldn’t come up with the answer in the third, falling 3-1.
At 138 pounds, Nick Monico finished in second place after giving up a heart-rending takedown at the final buzzer to Fort LeBoeuf’s George McGuire, allowing the Bison wrestler to pull out a 4-3 victory.
Matt Humes ended up taking third place at 145 for the Panthers. He lost a tough battle with Conneaut’s Taylor Ellis in the semifinals 3-1. He rebounded in the consolation rounds with a pin in 2:41 over Grove City’s Jared Sample and added a 2-1 verdict over Franklin’s Derek Steetle in the third-place match.
At 160 pounds, Lance Neuscheler was bounced to the fifth-place match via a 3-2 loss to Grove City’s Kenny Bable. But once there, Neuscheler looked solid, defeating Section 2 champion Kegan Miller of Reynolds 4-1.
Garrett Zuver, the Panthers’ 152-pounder, added a sixth-place finish to move on to regionals. He won a pair of bouts on Saturday, but back-to-back losses to LeBoeuf’s Brad Malinowski (5-0) and Eisenhower’s Louie Head (5-0) left him with sixth.
Boozer lands title for Cards
“The game plan was just push, push, push and don’t stop,” said Cochranton’s R.J. Boozer about his mindset heading into the 152-pound final against Reynolds’ Mason McCollum.
And he stuck to that plan. In fact, Boozer was so tenacious that even up 8-4 and with just two seconds left in the bout he was still working to turn McCollum onto his back.
“(Reynolds wrestlers), they try to lock you up and make the match go at their pace,” said Boozer. “I didn’t want that to happen, so I just kept scoring.”
Boozer led just 1-0 going into the third. But he angled McCollum onto his back for a couple near-fall points to take control.
McCollum managed to work Boozer’s lead down to 5-4 with a takedown with 35 seconds left. But Boozer slipped out, and – sticking with his attack-first, question-later style – kept shooting, eventually getting the decisive takedown with 14 seconds left.
“I was just sticking to the plan,” said Boozer. “It’s the same plan for next week too.”
Boozer’s not the only Cardinal looking to keep things rolling next week at the Northwest Regional tournament. Brad Carlini at 170 and heavyweight Evan Miller also advanced.
After a disappointing loss in the prelims, Carlini found his stride in the consolations. He won three straight bouts over Youngsville’s Jeremy Lyon (5-4), Cambridge Springs’ Deven Simpson (a 16-0 technical in 6:00) and Section 1 champion Jordan Bryan of North East (5-3). Carlini ended up taking fourth place, falling to Greenville’s Zach Miller 9-0 in the third-place final.
Then Evan Miller, Cochranton’s heavyweight, started Saturday off with a tough loss to Reynolds’ Gene Ringer in the semifinals. Ringer pinned him in 2:44. Miller later made it into the third-place match with an injury default victory over Conneaut’s Brian Lipps. But he ended up taking fourth, falling to Fort LeBoeuf’s Nate Conti in 1:26 in the consy final.
Breese nets first D-10 title
Sam Breese was not yet the wrestler who had everything.
Yes, he had a regional title. Yes, he had a state championship under his belt.
The one thing he did not have, however, was a district title.
That gap in his resume no longer exists. The Sailor standout notched a pair of victories yesterday to post his first D-10 championship.
In the semifinals, he defeated Fort LeBoeuf’s Nate Conti 6-3. Then he capped things off with a 7-2 victory over Reynolds’ Gene Ringer in the final.
“It feels good to get it out of the way,” said Breese. “I never perform well at districts, so it was good to get it off my mind.”
His final two matches of the tournament were only the third and fourth complete matches Breese had had to wrestle so far this season.
“It was good to get a full match,” he said. “I haven’t had very many of them this year. But I’ll probably have more at regions and at states, so this was good practice.”
Breese won’t be traveling to regionals alone. At 195 pounds, Marquis Spence added a second-place finish for the Sailors.
He and Fort LeBoeuf’s Garrett Reinwald battled to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation. After a scoreless overtime, Spence escaped in the first rideout period. Reinwald matched him, pulling out of Spence’s grip just as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second rideout. Reinwald took bottom for the ultimate rideout and managed to escape with 10 seconds remaining for the victory.
Messai hooks title for Muskies
Jamestown sophomore Faris Messai went from a sixth place finish a year ago to District 10 champion this year. But you’re not going to catch him resting on his laurels.
“I felt like I didn’t wrestle my toughest,” he said. “I was nervous. I wrestled hard, but I think I could have given it more.”
Messai won the 113-pound title with an exciting 5-3 overtime decision over Mercer’s Preston Hoover.
Hoover went into the bout having pitched three shutouts through the first three rounds (14-0, 4-0 and 4-0). And he was well on his way to another, leading Messai 3-0 in the second period.
“I felt that I had to do something,” he said. “I had to get some points. I saw an opening and I took it.”
Working from the top, Messai angled Hoover onto his back long enough for two near-fall points. Then a stalling call against Hoover tied it up 3-3 in the third.
To start overtime, both wrestlers went after it. A flurry ensued. After some twists and turns, Messai ended up on top for the victory.
Also placing for Jamestown: Hunter Goodlin was fourth at 106. He bounced back from a quarterfinal loss on Friday night and won three straight in the wrestlebacks. He eventually dropped the third-place match to Hickory’s Dominic Vadala 4-0.
Mohamed Messai also took fourth for the Muskies. The 182-pounder dropped a heartbreaker in the semifinals to Reynolds Austin Moffett 6-4 in overtime. He advanced to the third-place match with a 7-2 victory over North East’s Kyle Panko. But in the third-place final against Greenville’s Justin Reynolds he was quickly wrenched over to his back and pinned in 50 seconds.
Jason Shappee also took fourth at 220. He won three straight in the wrestlebacks, but his run ended in the third-place match where Reynolds’ Cole Rickert decked him in 1:47.
CASH gets triple silver
Conneaut advanced three into the finals, and all three fell just a little bit short of gold.
Kyle Lukowich posted a second-place finish at 132 pounds for the Eagles. He won his semifinal bout against Grove City’s Luke Walter 3-1. Then in the finals, he went up against two-time state place-winner Tyler Vath of Saegertown. Lukowich kept it close, but couldn’t score on the Panther, falling 3-0.
Taylor Ellis added a second-place finish at 145. After beating Saegertown’s Matt Humes 3-1 in a terrific semifinal contest, Ellis went up against Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer in the finals. Stoyer scored often in a 15-4 major decision.
The Cinderella story of the tournament, however, was 220-pounder Connor Overman. The first-year wrestler rolled through the first three rounds, punctuating it with a fall in 3:51 over Greenville’s Randall Peabody in the semifinals.
In the championship bout, Overman and Mercer’s Colton Smith were tied 3-3 in the third when Overman was called for locked hands with 29 seconds left. He quickly let Smith up from the bottom, but couldn’t notch the takedown he needed and Smith escaped with the win.
Also for Conneaut, Brian Lipps took sixth place at heavyweight. He ended up defaulting his consy semifinal match with Cochranton’s Evan Miller due to injury, and had to forego the fifth-place match against Franklin’s Mike McCool.
Stafford, Noble lead Spa
In the 195-pound bracket, Cambridge Springs’ Zach Stafford started Saturday off with a tough loss, falling to LeBoeuf’s Garrett Reinwald 3-1. But he bounced back in a big way, pinning Maplewood’s Isaiah Stearns in 4:33 in the consy semifinals, and then winning the third-place match over Sharpsville’s Chris Mueller, pulling out from the bottom during the second overtime period to win 2-1.
Blue Devils 160-pounder Colton Noble had an outstanding run through the wrestlebacks. He started Saturday with a pin in 1:21 over Cochranton’s Logan Jacobs, added a narrow 5-4 verdict over Sharon’s Cory Buchanon, and then earned his way into the third-place match with a 2-1 victory over Section 2 champion Kegan Miller of Reynolds. Noble’s trip finally ran out of steam in the third-place final where he dropped a heartbreaker to Grove City’s Kenny Battle 2-1 in an overtime rideout.
’Wood advances trio
After his quarterfinal loss on Friday, Maplewood 160-pounder Jeremy Parsons had a nice run through the consolations for a fourth-place finish. First, he beat Girard’s Jordan Friend 10-4, then he pinned Hickory’s Noah Bianco in 1:19, and downed Eisenhower’s Louie Head 7-2. The streak ended with a 6-2 loss to LeBoeuf’s Brad Malinowski in the third-place match.
At 170, Jacob Parsons rallied from his quarterfinal loss with pins over Harbor Creek’s Dan Kuhn (4:15) and Sharon’s Giovanni Volpe (:41). He was then dropped to the fifth-place match via a busy 12-10 loss to Greenville’s Zach Miller. He got the automatic arm-lift for fifth when North East’s Jordan Bryan defaulted due to injury.
Isaiah Stearns ended up taking fifth for the Tigers. He ran off two straight shutout wins in the consolation rounds, 6-0 over Jamestown’s William Shappee and 5-0 over Saegertown’s Zach Stafford. He was dropped in the fifth-place match after getting pinned by Cambridge Springs’ Zach Stafford. And then he was awarded fifth when Corry’s Ryan Morris defaulted due to injury.
Weilacher, Tomcho lead UC
The Bears’ Dustin Weilacher got a big win on Friday when he beat Reynolds’ Chaise Hauck in the quarterfinals. Well, Hauck got some revenge on Saturday, defeating Weilacher 6-5 in a similarly competitive fifth-place match. Weilacher still moves on to regionals as the sixth-place wrestler.
At 138 pounds, Dustin Tomcho survived a tough battle with Reynolds’ Alex DiGregorio to win the fifth-place match. Tomcho rode DiGregorio for the whole of the second period. Then Tomcho posted an escape in the third for the only point of the match.