We're back

The one thing that frustrates any journalist is when the computer decides to take the night off. Well, I submerged the urge to toss mine out a window and I am back up and blogging at the Powerade tournament.

Sam Brownlee of Canon-McMillan is the lone Washington-Greene County wrestler competing for a gold medal. Brownlee, the top seed, takes on Karl Grren of Mount St. Joseph in the finals.

Ryan Watson of Burgettstown took fourth place at 215, C-M's Nick Catalano was sixth at 130 pounds, and McGuffey's Alex Dunaway was seventh at 112 pounds. Michael Innes of Chartiers-Houston placed fourth at 140.

Central Dauphin is running away with the team title and has three wrestlers in the finals.

Keep checking back as I will update after each final.

103-Jim Gulibon, Derry, dec. Core Keener, Blue Mountain, 10-1
"Gulibon dominated the match, and he's just a freshman."

112-Nico Megaludis, Franklin Regional, 3, Zach Zimmer, Clovis West, Calif., 1, OT
"Yawn. The two spent 5:52 of regulation in neutral and most of that in ties. Megaludis spun around for the winning points."

119-Shane Young, Penn Trafford, 6, Tyler Rauenzahn, Blue Mountain 3
"Young terrific on feet, but just a mediocre rider in this bout."

125-Nathan Pennesi, Latrobe, 7, Clinton McAlester, Clovis, Calif., 2
"Pennesi is strong and knows how to get into the legs. He won the bout with a cross-face cradle."

130-Frank Martellotti, SS Academy 2, John Prezzia, SS Beaver 1 OT
"Martolellotti was stronger but Prezzia is the better technical wrestler."

135-Josh Kindig, Blue Mountain, pinned Corey Mock, Chapel Hill, N.C., :54
"Kindig tossed Mock around the mat. What a beast!"

140-Dane Johnson, SS Academy, dec. Jack Bachman, Hempfield, 6-4
"Impressed by Bachman's aggressiveness. Didn't back down and led early 2-0."

145–Scott Sakaguchi, Clovis, Calif., dec. Brian Sewalt, Waverly, N.Y., 13-6
"Sakaguchi just a better all-around wrestler in this match."

152-Marshall Peppelman, Central Dauphin, tech. fall over Chris Moon, Fauquier, Va., 16-0, 1:46
"Watch this match on PCN 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 9 and see what a state champion looks like."

160-Matthew Cunningham, SS Academy, dec. Ken Courts, Central Dauphin, 10-5
"Courts gave away four bout points. He needs to be more aggressive. Wonder if he is in shape."

171-Jake Kemmerer, Hempfield, dec. Christian Oberle, Bellefonte,
"Oberle had his ups and downs in this bout, seven to be exact, in this loss."

189-Tony Dallago, Central Dauphin, dec. Roman Sandoval, SS Academy, 11-2
"Dallago tilted him twice and just dominated in every facet. Wow."

215-Zac Bennett, Westmont Hilltop, pinned Adam Lazenga, Bethel Park, 2:46
"Bennett looks fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery."

Hvy-Karl Green, Mount St. Joseph, dec. Sam Brownlee, Canon-McMillan, 3-1
"Not a lot of shots. Takedown at edge of mat the deal-maker."


Technical problems

I am currently experiencing technical difficulties with my computer and can not blog from Powerade. Four wrestlers from the area are in the quarterfinals: Canon-McMillan's Nick Catalano (130) and Sam Brownlee (Hvy); Burgettstown's Ryan Watson (215); Chartiers-Houston's Michael Innes (140) and McGuffey's Alex Dunaway (112).

Hopefully, I can update you on how they did if I get my tech problems resolved. You can find all Powerade results at poweradewrestling.com


Blogging from Powerade

As long as the computer gods are with us, I will blog from the Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament. Expect to see posts from mid-afternoon Monday through Tuesday's finals.


Waynesburg's 800th

Waynesburg High School's wrestling program reached the 800th victory in the program's history over the weekend at the Franklin Regional Duals. The Raiders became only the second team in PIAA history to surpass 800 victories.

The other team, of course, is Canon-McMillan. The two teams wrestled one heck of a dual meet Tuesday with the Big Macs taking a 34-30 victory. For those who saw the match, consider yourselves fortunate. There are too few of these in the regular season.

You can read the rest by heading to the sports stories on today's Observer-Reporter Web page. For some reason, the link is not working right now.

Wash High wrestling

Whenever I write a column about a struggling program, I am always accused of being "negative" and "mean spirited." Some even think I am "making fun" of the situation. So I like to tell this story.

"Two men were working on a railroad track, when a train came storming toward them. One mam saw it, the other didn't. The man who saw it stepped off the track and was saved. The one who didn't was run over. Later, when the boss asked the man, 'Why didn't you tell the other guy a train was coming down the track?' he replied, 'Because he said he didn't want to hear anything negative out of me today.'"

Pointing out the problem at Wash High is not being negative. It could be called a critical analysis but it's not mean spirited, and I wasn't making fun. I was doing what that railroad worker should have done: sound a warning so that something can be done about this problem.

In this case, and others like it in the past, the train that is heading down the track could be a school board that will wonder why it's worth keeping a program going when there is little interest in it. These boards are not mean or vindictive, just simply being reasonable. Small schools are cash-starved everywhere and it costs money to operate a wrestling program. It's hard to make an argument for keeping the program going if only half the weights are being filled because of a lack of interest from the students.

The column is meant to be a warning to those who want to see wrestling continue at Wash High. Count me in that group. If I didn't care, I would not have written the column. I simply would have let the train go by.


Powerade information

Here is the link to all the information on the Powerade Christmas Wrestling Tournament.


The Wash High situation

I recently wrote a column on the state of the wrestling program at Washington High School. It was a critical piece that took a hard look at the program.

Here is the link:


Among the responses I received was this letter.

"I am a wrestler for Washington High School.  I am writing in response to the column written by Mr. Tuscano, in which he stated that our wrestling team was “unwatchable” and also stated that myself and four other wrestlers wrestled a total time of 9:40 before being pinned, or losing by default.

What Mr. Tuscano failed to mention in this article was that one of our wrestlers pinned his opponent and two of our other seven wrestlers lost because of injuries that made them unable to finish the match. I find it highly offensive that people in our own community would criticize us and point us towards a co – op with Trinity that is completely impossible due to the fact that we have too many wrestlers to join with Trinity.  

Our “lack” of wrestlers is not the fault of any coach nor is it any fault of the schools, however it is due to the fact that one of our wrestlers is out for the season due to a shoulder injury and a few other members of the team are either held back due to grades or a lack of the amount of practices required to compete. How dare Mr. Tuscano disrespect my team and coaches (Josh Barrette and Adrian Turner) by stating that our team is “on life support”!

Mr. Tuscano obviously wrote this article in ignorance which is proven by the fact that he only knows half of our story. Instead of criticizing the Wash High wrestling team how about giving us a little bit of encouragement. I  am , however, glad the article was written, because it  inspired us to work just a little bit harder. Thank you Mr. Tuscano."

I would be interested in knowing what you think about this situation. I do have a response to the letter but I would like to hear from you first.


Catching up with – Garrett Hunter

Garrett Hunter, a graduate of McGuffey High School, has a 5-3 record and is the starter for Army at 184 pounds. Hunter, a sophomore for the Black Knights, had an injury-plagued freshman season but still won two tournaments: The Monarch Tournament and The Nassau Open.

Follow the Beast

The following is the link for this year's Beast of the East Tournament.



Your response, please

This season is not shaping up very well for most area wrestling teams. Programs such as McGuffey and West Greene are having problems filling the lineup and Washington was down to a handful of starters last week.

So here is what I want to know.

Why aren't you wrestling?
Or if you are, why are your friends not wrestlng? What reasons have they given? Is it too hard? Are they too lazy? Do they have other things to do?

Why is it that area basketball programs, no matter how bad the talent is, still can find 15 players but wrestling teams that are traditionally successful can't find 14?

Oh, and don't tell me that the coach doesn't like you. I know nearly all the wrestling coaches and none of them run athletes off the team unless they are deserving of it.

I eagerly await your responses.


C-H Invitational results

Char-Houston_Tournament Div.
103-Makenzie McGuire, Upper St. Clair MAJOR Nick Greco, Keystone Oaks 9-1
112-Ian Thom, Jeannette DEC Jeremy Hall, Center 5-1
119-Anthony Zanetta, Keystone Oaks DEC John Pezze, Norwin 3-2
125-Mike McGuire, Upper St. Clair DEC Victor LiPari, Chartiers-Houston 11-4
130-Michael Depalma, Jeannette FALL Ken Scott, West Allegheny Fall 1:13
135-Mitch Spencer, Avella DEC John Prezzia, South Side Beaver 8-4
140-Michael Innes, Chartiers-Houston DEC David Demor, South Side Beaver 3-1
145-Nick Carr, South Fayette DEC Colin Checkan, South Side Beaver 4-3
152-Dan Karpency, Albert Gallatin DEC Aaron McKinney, West Allegheny 3-1
160-Ben Amrhein, North Hills DEC Tyler Holt, Uniontown 5-1
171-Troy Reaghard, West Allegheny DEC Sam Guidi, Fort Cherry 3-1
189-Jake Leninsky, West Allegheny MAJOR Damon Thaxton, Elizabeth Forward 13-2
215-Jeremiah Karpency, Albert Gallatin DEC Corey Garry, Fort Cherry 6-2
Hvy-Marty Kisla, Chartiers-Houston DEC Zach Doman, Jefferson Morgan 2-1 OT

Third & Fourth
103-Josh Freidhof, Norwin DEC Troy Zangaro, North Hills 2-0
112-Josh Kwasny, Charleroi DEC Jake Diana, Elizabeth Forward 5-4
119-Keith Cornman, Kittanning DEC Austin Wilding, Upper St. Clair 4-0
125-Tyler Haines, Albert Gallatin DEC Adam Marks, Elizabeth Forward 2-1
130-Jacob Lowry, Albert Gallatin MAJOR Erik Bolin, Beth Center 10-1
135-Dave Rattay, Albert Gallatin DEC Dylan Demain, Bentworth 4-1
140-Cameron Fine, Elizabeth Forward DEC Steve Bickerstaff, Norwin 7-3
145-Patrick Palmer, Albert Gallatin MAJOR Josh Etzel, Elizabeth Forward 15-7
152-Kyle Appleby, Avella FALL Mike Kazales, Keystone Oaks Fall 2:46
160-Cody Mitchell, Albert Gallatin DEC Connor Buker, Upper St. Clair 3-2
171-Tyler Wilps, Chartiers Valley DEC Cody Catalina, Beth Center 3-1
189-Alex Temple, Avella DEC Gary Kiefer, Fort Cherry 3-2
215-Tom McElwaine, North Hills DEC Anthony Deni, Jeannette 8-5
Hvy-Ben Hoover, Elizabeth Forward DEC Adam Wakefield, Freedom 4-1


He needs your help

Adam Frey wrestled for Cornell University. Following a traffic accident, he received some stunning news that changed his life. Now, he is in the fight of his life. Here's the link:



Switching schools

Two area wrestlers have switched schools for this season. Mark Powell (right), a graduate of Trinity High School, has transferred from Purdue to Pitt. Charlie Wonsettler began his college career at Bucknell but has moved to Penn State. Powell is the starter at 149 pounds. Powell is currently ranked 28th in the country.

Wonsettler, whose brothers Cliff and C.J. went to Penn State, is sitting out this season and plans to wrestle next season.


Chartiers-Houston Tournament info

Tournament Schedule
Friday, Dec. 12
4:30 p.m. – Opening Rounds
Saturday, Dec. 13
10 a.m. – 2nd Consolation Round
11:30 a.m. – Semifinal and 3rd Consolation Round
1:30 p.m. – 4th Consolation Round
4 p.m. – Consolation Finals & Championship Finals

Participating Schools
Albert Gallatin, Avella, Bentworth. Beth-Center,
Center, Charleroi, Chartiers-Houston, Chartiers Valley,
Elizabeth Forward, Freedom, Fort Cherry, Jeannette, Keystone Oaks, Kittanning, Jefferson-Morgan, North Hills, Norwin, South Fayette, South Park, Southmoreland, SS Beaver, Uniontown, Upper St. Clair, West Allegheny

Returning Champions: Anthony Zanetta, Keystone Oaks; John Prezzia, South Side Beaver; Aaron McKenney, West Allegheny; Colin Checkan, South Side Beaver.

Returning Runner-ups: Keith Cornman, Kittanning; Jacob Lowery, Albert Gallatin; David Demor, South Side Beaver; Mike Innes, Chartiers-Houston; Mitch Spencer, Avella; Dan Karpency, Albert Gallatin; Troy Reaghard, West Allegheny; Jeremiah Karpency, Albert Gallatin


Eastern Area finals

103 - Rob Heuler Bethel Park M-Dec Willie Bohince Penn Trafford, 12-0
112 - Dylan Mogan Bethel Park Dec Tim Connelly Gateway, 1-0
119 - Shane Young Penn Trafford M-Dec John Pezze Norwin, 12-2
125 - Steve Spearman McDowell Dec Anthony Bonaccorsi Bethel Park, 5-2
130 - Evan Henderson Kiski Prep Fall Shawn Stancliff McDowell, :47
135 - Cory Bonura Plum Dec Phil Steinberg Central Cambria, 3-1
140 - Dom Pietropaolo Plum Dec Cullen McGowen Penn Trafford, 5-1
145 - Mike McCutcheon Kiski Area Fall Nick Carr South Fayette, 2:32
152 - Devan Jones Penn Trafford Dec Justin Harold Kiski Area, 3-2 OT
160 - Nick Bonaccorsi Bethel Park Dec Zach Shannon Kiski Area, 3-2
171 - PJ Tasser Belle Vernon Fall Daniel Anderson Gateway, 3:24
189 - Kyle McWreath Trinity Fall Mike Theys Penn Trafford, :35
215 - Matt Grupp Penn Trafford M-Dec Jordan Williams Seneca Valley, 12-4
Hvy - Don Rhodes Norwin Dec David Bonetti Seneca Valley, 7-1

Ironman results

Looking for the Ironman results? Here is the link.

As of Sunday morning, the finals had not been updated. But they might do it today and will probably have it by Monday. Just keep checking.

www.walshironman.com (Click on the bracket sheets on the right side of the page)

New entries into Hall

Two area wrestlers and one coach will be inducted into the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame this season. Nick Petronka, a two-time state champion at Washington, and Bob Truby, a two-time state champ from Trinity, will be among the dozen new inductees.

Jim Husk, who was a WPIAL champion at Waynesburg High School before coaching teams in Florida to more than 700 wins, will go in as a coach.

The other nine are Mark Cesari, a four-time state champion from North Schuykill; Joe Geesey, one of the nation's top officials; Tim McCall, a state champ from Erie Strong Vincent; John McHugh, longtime coach at the University of Maryland; Teague Moore, a state champion from North Allegheny; Fred Richardson, a respected wrestling official; Jeff Richardson, a state champ from Johnstown; Rich Santoro, a two-time state champion from Bethlehem Catholic; and Troy Sunderland, a two-timer from Mt. Union and current wrestling coach at Penn State.

The ceremonies will be held separate from the PIAA Individual Wrestling championships in Hershey next March. The induction ceremony will take place Saturday, April 18 at the Ramada Inn in State College.


10 Wrestlers to watch

Class AAA

Wrestler, school, record, 2008 wt.

1. Sam Brownlee, Canon-McMillan, 37-6, Hvy

2. Nick Catalano, Canon-McMillan, 36-7, 119

3. Alex Dunaway, McGuffey, 35-7, 103

4. Nick Whipkey, McGuffey, 26-7, 125

5. Fred Garcia, Ringgold, 31-4, 171

6. Todd Miller, Ringgold, 34-6, 189

7. Michael Ardeno, Trinity, 28-12, 112

8. Kyle McWreath, Trinity, 27-12, 171

9. Zach McGinnis, Waynesburg, 26-8, 103

10. Derrick Neslon, Waynesburg, 29-5, 112

Class AA

1. Mitch Spencer, Avella, 37-5, 125

2. Kyle Appleby, Avella, 33-6, 152

3. Ryan Watson, Burgettstown, 30-8, 171

4. Mike Fleming, Burgettstown, 24-17, 125

5. Ray Campbell, Charleroi, 28-10, 215

6. Vic LiPari, Chartiers-Houston, 24-13, 119

7. Joey Schneider, Chartiers-Houston, 26-11, 145

8. Colton Blumer, West Greene, 31-9, 119

9. Andrew Lucarini, Fort Cherry, 30-5, 103

10. Sam Guidi, Fort Cherry, 29-11, 160

Who do you think will win?

Last season, many fans believed the area would be fortunate to have a single champion in Hershey, and most believed it would be Canon-McMillan's Colin Johnston. It wasn't. Dan Conley stunned the 215-pound class in Double-A and became Burgettstown's first state champion since Jeff Abbott won in the early 1990s.

Believing a state champion will emerge from the area this year might be just wishful thinking. The best chances are at the same school. Michael Hull, if he doesn't sit out the season with back problems, and Sam Brownlee have the talent. Hull sprained an ankle in last year's state tournament and Brownlee got a severe case of the flu. That derailed their medal hopes.

After that, it's anyone's guess who might emerge. So tell me. If you had to pick a dark horse in the Washington-Greene County area, who would it be?

Preseason rankings

Class AAA

1. Penn-Trafford
2. Hempfield
3. Bethel Park
4. North Allegheny
5. Canon-McMillan
6. Derry
7. Connellsville
8. Albert Gallatin
9. Waynesburg
10. Fox Chapel

Class AA

1. Shady Side Academy
2. Burrell
3. Burgettstown
4. Chartiers-Houston
5. Mt. Pleasant