Powerade notes

Powerade always reveals young and rising talent and this year is no different. Here are some wrestlers to watch for:

Shane Young, freshman, 103, Penn Traford, nearly knocked off top-seeded Alex Weaver of Moeller in the quarters

Brock Lovorio, soph. 112, Penn Trafford, gave Canon-Mac's Colin Johnston all he could handle in quarters before falling 8-7

Tony Dallago, soph. 112 Central Dauphin, easily captured first three bouts as unseeded wrestler

James Fleming, fresh. 130, Greensburg Central, impressive in 7-4 loss to top-seed Kevin Hardy of Solon

Zach Beenzio, fresh. 171 Connellsville, rough, tough, beat No. 3 seed Andrew Hoffer of Christiansburg before losing to Lance Bryson of Albert Gallatin in quarters

Here are a few disappointments.

Kyle Fluke, Sr. 130 State College, third seed, was a runnerup here last year but didn't make it past second round. No medal

Grady Paxton Jr, 140 Chartiers-Houston, third seed, second-round loser to unseeded Kanden Tolbert of Shaker Heights, could finish third

Travis Uncapher, Jr. 152, Greensburg Central, top seed, lost to No. 8 Curtis Branchen in quarters, could finish third.

Tony Comunale, Jr, 112, Pius X, third seed, never made it out of the first round, could finish third

Adam Farrell, Sr., 215, Fort Leboeuf, fourth seed, lost in second round to unseeded Dan Utchel of Char Valley, could still finish third


Holiday schedule

Powerade isn't the only wrestling tournament on tap for this week.
Here are a two others that local teams will compete in:

Peters Township and Ringgold are at the Wheeling Park Duals, which end Thursday night.
Washington is at the West Mifflin Tournament Thursday and Friday.

Powerade seeds

Here are the No. 1 seeds for Powerade.

103 Alex Weaver, Moeller
112 Colin Johnston, Canon-McMillan
119 Troy Dolan, Derry
125 Kelly Kubec, Lake Stevens
130 Kevin Hardy Solon
135 Jon Kohler, Mount St. Joseph
140 Ashtin Primus, Connellsville
145 Donnie Ament, Mt. Pleasant
152 Travis Uncapher, Greensburg Central Catholic
160 Mack Lewens, Mount St. Joseph
171 Jame Sciascia, Piux X
189 Jantzen Minton, Christianburg
215 Cody Gardner, Christianburg
Hvy Ryan Tomei, Penn-Trafford


An early Christmas gift

To save you a trip to the newspaper box, here is the story in Saturday's Observer-Reporter on Friday night's Canon-McMillan-Connellsville wrestling match.

Merry Christmas.

CANONSBURG - You know it's been a good month when your team has battled through the heart of Washington County wrestling and lived to talk about it in glowing terms.

That's what Connellsville accomplished in the early part of this season, stopping Canon-McMillan Friday night in the Big Macs' gym, 30-25, in a non-section matchup of Class AAA powers.

That victory comes nearly three weeks after the Falcons, defending PIAA team champions, handed Trinity a 46-17 loss in a season-opening road match Dec. 3.

"We lost the close ones and in big matches like these, you can't afford to lose the close ones," said Canon-McMillan head coach Chris Mary. "Our kids in the upperweights wrestled a little tentative."

The turning point for the 5-0 Falcons came in the middle and upper weights, where they chalked up three victories by a combined four points and took seven out of nine bouts from 135 through heavyweight.

The ones that hurt Canon-McMillan most came at 171, 215 and heavyweight. Zach Benzio won the 171-pound bout 2-1 in overtime when C-M's Jurdan Maier was hit for his second stalling call of the match.

Josh Brewer captured the 215-pound bout against Canon-Mac's Ron Totterdale by rideout, 2-1. And Justin Haines stopped the Big Macs' A.J. Williams 3-1 on a takedown with 20 seconds remaining.

Those nine team points were critical.

"It's been a fun month," said Connellsville head coach Tom Dolde Jr. "We have a lot of young guys. It's a sophomore-dominated team with about 30. And it's a hard-working group. I started with 54 and then we got down to 48, so I thought I'd work them and see how many would stay. I just pounded them in practice and they all came back."

The Big Macs (3-3) began the match with a bang, when 130-pounder Justin O'Brien pinned Connellsville's Chris Crutchman in 1:20 but Connellsville ran off the next four wins, including a forfeit to defending state champion Ashtin Primus at 145.

One of the Falcons' unexpected wins came next, when Andy Snyder scored nine points in the third period for a 10-3 victory over Mike Eberly at 152.

"(Snyder) has never beaten Eberly before," said Dolde. "That was big for us."

Canon-McMillan trailed by as many as 12 points twice but still had a chance in the final four bouts. The Big Macs cut the deficit to 27-22 after Ron Schram (103) and Colin Johnston (112) each won by technical fall. But Kody Pujia put it out of reach for the Falcons with a 5-1 decision at 119.

"We got great efforts at 103 and 112," said Mary. "They gave the extra effort and really worked hard for the falls.

"We just need to improve on the areas where we got beat tonight."



Washington's Alex Evans returned to the lineup after recovering from some nagging injuries at the start of the season. ... Phil Mary will apparently give up his position as assistant wrestling coach at Canon-McMillan to become a principal at his alma mater, Chartiers-Houston. ... Powerade will be held at Canon-McMillan Dec. 29-30. ... John Yates coached Waynesburg to the 100th victory of his career last week. Ron Ledbetter of South Side Beaver also reached 100 career wins earlier this season. ... Don't miss Friday night's wrestling match between Connellsville and Canon-McMillan at the C-M gym. ... McGuffey needed pins in the final three bouts to hold off Keystone Oaks, 35-32, Wednesday night. Also, Canon-McMillan came within one point of a perfect score against Moon, winning 83-0. ... Trinity's Kalvin Schultz had to default out of the consolation round of the Beast of the East but was back in the lineup Wed in a 66-12 win over Montour.


Beastly performance

Here are the finals for the Beast of the East tournament.

Beast of the East
103–David Taylor, Graham, dec. Fred Santaite, Northern Highlands, 4-2
112–Colin Palmer, St. Edward’s, dec. Anthony Valles, Blair Academy, 12-0 (major)
119–Ben Ashmore, Bishop Lynch, dec. John Trumbetti, St. Joseph. 6-0
125–Kellen Russell, Blair Academy, dec. Mike Robinson, Lewistown, 2-1
130–Jordan Frishkorn, Great Bridge, dec. Luke Silver, Bishop Lynch, 3-1
135–Zack Kemmerer, Upper Perkiomen, dec. Max Shanaman, Blair Academy, 6-3
140–Lance Palmer, St. Edward’s pinned Luke Ashmore, Bishop Lynch, 5:44
145–Bubba Jenkins, Cox, dec. Travis Blasco, Blair Academy, 7-3
152–Eric Medina, Blair Academy, dec. Phil Black, Absegami, 9-3
160–Dave Rella, Walsh Jesuit, dec. Mack Lewens, Mount St. Jospeh, 3-1
171–Mike Letts, Octorara, dec. Kyle Kiss, Ocean Township, 3-2
189–James Jones, Winslow, dec. Matt Edmundson, Christiansburg, 8-4
215–Cody Gardner, Christiansburg, pinned Joey Lindamood, Parkersburg, 5:32
Hvy–Mike Ragone, Camden, dec. Charlie Weber, Christiansburg, 3-0

Locally, Nate Murin of Trinity took third at 171, teammate Grant Lowther was 6th at 125 and Waynesburg's Clint Podish was fifth at 171.

Beastley performance


Hope you didn't miss this

Friday night's wrestling match between Canon-McMillan and McGuffey was outstanding for an early season dual. The match was tied 25-25 after 13 bouts and C-M won with a pin in the final bout.

A few observations.

McGuffey is a much better team than most people thought. The Highlanders also have an interesting situation at 119 for the postseason, where two of their better wrestlers are best suited.

Either Tyler Sim or Matt Scherich will be there and the other will probably be forced to 112. I guess it will be decided in wrestleoffs. Scherich wrestled 125 against C-M and doesn't seem to be strong enough there.

Also, C-M heavyweight A.J. Williams is back after a leg injury sidelined him for most of last season. Powerade will be a good gauge how far back he is and how far he has to go.

The Big Macs have one of the most brutal non-section schedules in Dec. They wrestled at Upper Perkiomen and Council Rock to start the season, then at McGuffey Friday night, and are home to Connellsville next Friday. Oh yeah, they host Powerade Dec. 29-30.


Abajace into Hall

Good news for Trinity fans. John Abajace, a former state champion and head coach for the Hillers, is going to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

About time.

I always felt Abajace was under appreciated, especially by super critical Hillers fans. He never had the type of talent some of the other top teams in the WPIAL did, such as North Allegheny and Canon-McMillan. But the Hillers were always tough to beat.

He was the only District 7 wrestler and or coach to make this year's induction list.


Where to get info

When I first began covering wrestling for the O-R 25 years ago, there was one ranking for the entire state, the Keystone Wrestling Rankings. Norm Paslovic and Jimmy Butler compiled the list and that was it. They were thorough and very accurate in their work.

Since technology makes it much easier to get scores, individual results and standings, nearly every newspaper has wrestling ranlkings. Normally, they start in January and run through the state tournament in March.

So where should you go to obtain as much information as possible?

Start with offthemat.com and sign up for their service. I know of no other individuals who see as many tournaments and dual meets as Al Fricke and Mark Dugan. Simply excellent work.

Bruce Closson also does an outstanding job with his Web page wrestlingreport.com. What makes Bruce's Web site so unique is that he has video of many of the events he goes to. Priceless.

The WPIAL's Web site wpial.org is good if you are looking for alignments, championship dates, qualiying standards, the basic nuts and bolts of wrestling.

Also, WJPA radio does a great job covering wrestling in Western Pennsylvania. Bob Gregg and Mark Uriah have been doing this as long if not longer than me and I am still amazed that they broadcast wrestling matches on the radio. Try it some time while sitting in the gym and see how hard it is. Their site is wjpa.com. They also do Webcasts off the MSA network.

Finally, bookmark the sports pages of all the Western Pa. newspapers and you're set.



Two wrestling matches highlight this week's events: McGuffey at Peters Twp. on Wednesday and Canon-McMillan at McGuffey on Friday.

* Wednesday's match features two teams with new coaches, who are not new to wrestling. Bob Bove is head coach at McGuffey, being hired away from Ringgold after last season. Peters Township welcomes back a familiar face in Dale Murdock, who has returned to PT after coaching the program for nearly two decades.

* Canon-McMillan visits McGuffey Friday after having an up-and-down start. The Big Macs lost two dual meets, to Upper Perkiomen and Council Rock, and then won the Brooke Tournament, beating out Wheeling Park by 26 points.

* Kalvin Schultz was out of Trinity's lineup in Friday's dual meet against Moon not because of an injury. He just missed weight.

* Washington legend Stan Mousetis has taken an assistant coaching position at Riverview, where he will be head coach Dick Bane's right-hand man.

* Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament is just a couple weeks away, Dec. 29-30 at Canon-McMillan High School.

Clearing up misconceptions

Now that I'm in the blogging business, I find myself checking other forums and gauging people's feelings. One thing I believe needs addressed is the Observer-Reporter sports department's policy on getting results into the newspaper. Yes, there is a policy and here it is.

First, we require that results of games, matches, tournament, etc., be called in on the day they are held. We have an 800 number (1-800-222-6397) so there is no charge. We need the results before our deadline, which is 11 p.m. for an evening event. Anything called in after that is iffy to get into the newspaper, but we try to accommodate.

Normally, we don't run results two or three days late. Why? For the same reason that you would not want to read about the Steelers' victory on Sunday in Tuesday's paper. If results are accepted late, then inevitably teams won't call in on the night they are held and Monday's dual meet could end up in Thursday's paper and Tuesday's event might appear in Wednesday. All it would do is confuse people.

We have one person covering wrestling for our newspaper, me, and I depend on the high schools to provide info on their dual meets and tournaments. Do we miss stuff? Sure, every newspaper does. Each November, coaches are sent out questionaires, detailing our policies reminding them of our 800 number. Still, we do not always get cooperation. If a tournament or dual meet is not in the newspaper, the most likely explanation is that the coach or scorekeeper either conveniently forgot or just did not care enough to call. It's not because we don't want to take them.

The best thing you can do as a wrestling fan is complain to the athletic director if you don't see the results of your team's matches in the paper. I complain to them, but your voices are more effective.


Weekend tidbits

Maybe we've underestimated some schools early in the season. Albert Gallatin's wrestling team captured the Chartiers-Houston Wrestling Tournament Saturday with four first-place finishes and one second. The 19-team field makes this one of the better small school tournaments in the early part of the season. The Colonials will move up in the next rankings. ... Jeff-Morgan's team, which was on life support for much of last season, had a champion in Ty Basinger at the C-H tournament and the Rockets' 14th-place finish wasn't so bad, considering their low numbers. ... Trinity's Nate Murin has been extremely impressive in the early going, winning the 171-pound title in the Midwest Classic in Gateway. ... If the name of Trinity's new 140-pounder sounds familiar, it should because Todd Martinek wrestled for Fort Cherry last year.


Congratulations Bob

Bob Bove began his coaching career at McGuffey with a thrilling one-point win over Upper St. Clair Wednesday night. Bove took over the McGuffey program for Andy Shrader, who coached the team on an interim basis after Mark Caffrey retired. Bove coached at Ringgold last season. So pop the tab on a root beer and remember the Highlanders' credo: Just win baby.


In case you missed it

I know with all the Christmas shopping you had to do and all the little "have-tos" that life brings at this time, you might have missed the preseason state rankings that ran in last Friday's paper. Wel,, because I have a big heart and small mind, I'll run them again in this blog.

Make sure you read it, all of it or shame on you for six weeks.


Off The Mat
Preseason State Rankings
Class AAA
Matt Kyler 12 Clearfield 9
Jordan Oliver 10 Easton 11
Walter Peppelman 10 Central Dauphin 3
Nic Bedelyon 11 Indian Valley 6
Nico Cortese 10 Greensburg CC 7
Chris Sheetz 11 Upper Perkiomen 1
Tyler Nauman 11 Middletown 3
Ray Ward 12 Stroudsburg 11
Jay Ivanco 12 Gateway 7
Andrew Flegler 12 Nazareth 11 
Mike Rappo 12 Council Rock South 1
Kalvin Schultz 11 Trinity 7
Matt Moley 12 Spring Ford 1
Steve Fittery 12 Cocalico 3
Nick Hyatt 12 Boyertown 1
Klye Fluke 12 State College 6
Justin Accordino 10 Coughlin 2
Jared Kane 11 Lower Dauphin 3
Quentin Wright 10 Bald Eagle Area 6
Dillon Evans 11 Council Rock South 1
Tim Darling 11 Nazareth 11
Tyler Oravec 12 Kiski Area 7
Tom Barger 12 Clearfield 9
Matt Nelson 11 Shaler 7
Don Osinsky 12 General McLane 10 
Austin Primus 12 Connellsville 7
Nick Nelson 11 Shaler 7
Zack Kemmerer 11 Upper Perkiomen 1
Chtis GrillL 12 Upper Darby 1
Hadley Harriosn 12 General McLane 10 
Dave Zeek 12 Council Rock North 1
Chris Dahleimer 12 Red Lion 3
Justin Meyers 12 Dallastown 3
Brian Tanen 11 Souderton 1
Jason Ardillo 12 Erie Prep 10 
Chris Barrick 12 Big Spring 3
AJ Detwiler 12 Pennridge 1
Braylin Williams 12 Easton 11
Zach McKendree 12 Kiski Area 7
Steve Mooney 12 Governor Mifflin 3 
Brento Fiorito 12 Upper Perkiomen 1
Travis Uncapher 11 Greensburg Cent Cath 7
Brad Steinbach 12 St Marys 9
Brad Clark 11 Methacton 1
Thad Frick 11 Nazareth 11
Austin Carter 11 Council Rock South 1
Rob Waltko 11 North Allegheny 7
Landis Wright 12 Bald Eagle Area 6
Sam Eck 12 Jersey Shore 4
Jake Pelletier 12 Central Dauphin 3
Thomas Shovlin 12 Central Dauphin 3
Josh Serene 12 Kittanning 7
Brian Shaw 12 Hollidaysburg 6
Mario Morelli 12 DuBois 9
Nathan Murin 12 Trinity 7 
Patt Flynn 12 Quakertown 1
PJ Distefano 12 Whitehall 11
Drew Smith 12 Great Valley 1
Jeremy Little 12 McDowell 10
Josh White 12 Boyertown 1
Justin Wieller 11 Northampton 11
Derek Bennett 12 Upper Perkiomen 1
Justin Masorti 12 State College 6
Luke Cox 12 Red Land 3
Rich Dlubak 12 Ambridge 7
Ryan Tomei 12 Penn Trafford 7
Trevin Cowman 12 Wyoming Valley West 2
Gabe Bowley 12 DuBois 9
Mike Lukenda 12 Downingtown East 1
George Hingson 12 Moon Township 7
Top Teams
1. Nazareth 11
2. Upper Perkiomen 1
3. Easton 11
4. Council Rock South 1
5. Canon-McMillan 7

Class AA
Jason Guffy 11 Warrior Run 4
Cameron Moran 10 Kane 9
John Sutika 11 Curwensville 9
Nathan Link 10 Penn Cambria 6
Tom MvVicker 9 Forest Hills. 6
Troy Dolan 11 Derry Area. 7
Derek Reber 10 Lewisburg. 4
Steve Waite. 11 Fort LeBoeuf 10
Tony Comunale 11 Pius X. 11
Brad Kummerer 11 Hamburg 3
Russell Souders 12 Wilson Area 11
Rick Tedesco 12 Loyalsock 4
Adam Hluschak 11 Northern Lehigh 11
Paul Kulka 12 Reynolds 10
Shane Welsh 10 Burrell 7
Nick STabile 11 Hamburg 3
Steve Nestor 11 Reynolds 10
Tony Lascari 12 North Star 5
Lee Vanella. 12 Mount Pleasant 7
Josh Snyder 12 Hyndman. 5
Kellon Balum 12 Line Mountain 4
Matt Dunn 12 Reynolds 10
Rick Schmelyun 12 Bermudian Springs 3
Nikko LeitzelL 11 Ridgway 9
Donny Clark 12 West Branch 6
Garrett Scott 12 Juniata Valley 6
Corey Slater 12 Commodore Perry 10
Mason Stewart 12 Reynolds 10
Glenn Shober 12 Schuylkill Valley 3
Josh Knecht 12 Athens 4
Andy Rendos 12 Brockway 9
Aaron Nestor 11 Reynolds 10
Chad Sindoni 11 Athens 4
George Lobb 12 Pius X. 11
Matt Moore 11 Blairsville 6
Donnie Ament 12 Mount Pleasant 7
Josh Hunsberger 12 Salisbury 11
Josh Shields 12 Burrell 7
David Sunderland 12 Southern Huntingdon. 6
Manny Carpin 12 Clarion. 9
James Sciascia 12 Pius X. 11
Alex Brown 12 Delone Catholic 3
Lawrence Beckman 11 Reynolds 10
Frank Heffernan 12 Northern Lehigh 11
Nate Johnson 12 Central Columbia. 4
Mike Letts 12 Octorara 1
Matt Toggas 12 Brandywine Heights 3
C.J. Church 12 Fort LeBoeuf 10
Corey Beaver 10 Littlestown. 3
Derek Grosser 12 Halifax. 3
Brian Feltenberger 12 Cochranton. 10
Justin Hepburn 12 Loyalsock 4
Nick Hosford 12 Northern Lehigh 11
Heath Walk 12 Tyrone. 6
Jeremy Gross 11 Bloomsburg. 4
Nick Sipes 11 Curwensville 9
Kellen Harris 11 Sharon 10
Matt Panesevich 12 Mountain View. 2
Dustin Pine 12 James Buchanan 3
Phil Henderson 12 Chartiers-Houston 7
Scott Snyder 12 Northern Lehigh 11
Nathan Tomporoski 12 Highlands. 7
Brandon Boyer 12 Saucon Valley. 11
Donte Blakey 12 Milton Hershey 3
Andy Turner 11 Northern Cambria 6
Richard Smith 11 Pen Argyl. 11
Mike Sullivan 12 Youngsville 10
Josh Marks 11 Southern Columbia 4
Mike Edwards 12 Reynolds 10
Ryan Gibble 12 Central Columbia. 4

Top Teams
1. Reynolds
2. Mt. Pleasant
3. Northern Lehigh
4. Brandywine Heights
5. Bermudian Springs

(Courtesy www.offthemat.net)


Give the guys a hand

My assignment for Saturday was to cover the Connellsville-Trinity wrestling match.
It's time to give props to Trinity coach Jeff Bricker and wrestler Kalvin Schultz for going after defending state champion Ashtin Primus at 140 pounds. These type of bouts are so rare in the season because coaches normally keep their wrestlers from such a matchup to keep their record clean and their wrestler's spirits up. But Bricker and Schultz decided early in the week to wrestle against Primus and the bout was far superior to any of the others in the match.

Finally, some freshness to what has too often been a stale early season.


Why I'm blogging

This is my first blog on high school wrestling, and it will last until the end of the PIAA Championships in Hershey. Why am I blogging? Is it because I love wrestling? Because I feel I am such an expert that I can answer any and all questions? Because I am an egomaniac? Well, that may be true, but the main reason is they are holding a gun to my head and forcing me to do it. So take advantage and read this every day. My life depends on it.