CAHS wrestlers outmaneuver Latrobe
The Connellsville wrestling team had a couple of hurdles to overcome before it ever stepped onto the mat for Monday’s non-section bout against visiting Latrobe. Head coach Tommy Dolde said the Falcons are a little road-weary after hitting the tournament circuit in recent weeks, and in addition, the team was unable to practice on Sunday and so, was a little unsure of its lineup for the match.
Still, Connellsville managed to put together a 45-16 win.
“It was a good match,” Dolde said. “We didn’t know what our lineup was going to be until about noon today because we weren’t allowed to practice on Sunday, and we had trouble making weight today because of it. The kids were faced with that adversity, and they’re tough kids; they came through it.”
Dolde said tournament action has also taken its toll on the Falcons. The team competed in the Beast of the East Tournament on Dec. 21 and 22, followed by its annual trek to the Powerade Tournament this past weekend.
“We went through two tough weeks there,” Dolde said. “Our kids have been banged up, and they’re hurting a little bit.”
The pain didn’t show as 135-pounder Buddy Sines opened the match with a 12-6 decision over Bernie Lynch, but tempers flared as the match ended. Both wrestlers were assessed one penalty point for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving Connellsville a 2-(-1) lead.
The Wildcats remained in the negative column after Kyle Martin handed Dan Thompson another 12-6 decision at 140, but Jase Stas (145) pulled Latrobe within a point of the lead with a 15-0 technical fall over Adam Knepper. Royal Ferry’s 3-0 decision over the Falcons’ Corey Fox (152) lifted the Wildcats to a 7-5 edge.
Jarrod King put Connellsville back on top by planking Anthony Gigliotti in the second period of their 160-pound bout. Dolde said the match was one of the keys to the Falcons’ win.
“Jarrod King really sparked the team a little bit, moving him up to 60,” he said. “He got a big pin for us.”
King’s pin seemed to shift the favor in Connellsville’s direction, as Jason Doppelheuer (171) scored a 12-3 major decision over Josh Turnbull and Jim Tony (189) took Brian Rushnock to the mat near the end of the second period in their match-up.
But with the Falcons leading 21-7, the Wildcats began to claw their way back. Sam Ansel (215) chalked up a 3-1 decision over Brent Wilson, and Frank Cremanese pinned Steve Hughes in the third period of the heavyweight match, leaving Latrobe trailing just 21-16.
That’s when Connellsville’s lighter weights stepped up for the team. P.J. Holden held a comfortable 8-2 lead over the Wildcats’ B.J. Sesteli when Holden recorded the pin with just 13 seconds left in the bout. Steve Bell (112) took down Zach Small in just under three minutes, and Ashtin Primus (119) clinched the Falcons’ win by beating Pete Elers in a 7-2 decision.
Connellsville was up 36-16 with just two matches remaining, but certain victory didn’t mean those last two weight classes took it easy. Instead, Adam Bucci wrestled through some pain to post a 15-10 decision over Zach Walton at 125. Josh Martin (130) wrapped up the win in style, planking Matt Ruffner midway through their bout.
Dolde said the Falcons may be tired, but they’ll keep working. In fact, the team will compete at the New Oxford Duals this weekend, wrestling six dual matches in two days.
“We’re going to take this week and work on the mistakes we made the last two weeks, and we’re just going to keep plugging away,” Dolde said. “Just keep training.”