Penn Hills wrestler grabs tourney crown with upset
The Penn Hills wrestling team might not have been strong in numbers at the Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic, but it made its presence known.
Sophomore Justin Perkins, who finished third at the tournament last season, captured the 126-pound title after defeating Mars’ Alex Hornfeck, 9-7, at the tournament Dec. 29 at West Mifflin.
On the road to the title, Perkins upset top-seeded Braxton Byrd of Parkersburg by pinning him at 2 minutes, 19 seconds. Perkins made it to the finals with an 8-0 major decision over Quaker Valley’s John Rocco.
“Justin looked good the whole tournament. He didn’t have a point scored on him until the finals. In the quarterfinals, he beat the number one seed,” coach Jeremy Packer said.
“He did was he does. He just scores points and he can accumulate points real fast. He showed that last year and this year.”
Perkins (11-1) has seen offseason work starting to pay off on the mat. He looks to carry his aggressive style through the remainder of the section meets and the Allegheny County Wrestling Tournament on Jan. 20, where he hopes to wrestle at the 120-pound weight class.
“I shoot more and score more points this year. I get more turns and a lot of takedowns. I get off up on my feet more often now when I’m on the bottom. The more you work at it, the easier things get for you,” Perkins said.
“Last year, I wasn’t able to get off the bottom. I couldn’t get off the bottom as much. This year, I changed my shot. I changed my setup and my movement. I changed my stance.”
Junior DeShawn Perkins, who finished seventh last season in the same tournament, took fifth this season by pinning Central Valley’s Matthew Goff at 3:38.
The Indians received a surprise performance from senior Dan Ternent, who finished seventh at 195 pounds after defeating Montour’s Reno DiCesare by a 2-0 decision.
“He has the misfortune of being my next heaviest kid other than DeShawn. He has to take a lot of poundings every practice. I think he is starting to realize he can dish it out when he gets his opportunity against somebody his size,” Packer said.
The Indians sent eight wrestlers. Freshman Mike DeVito (106) had a pair of wins. Freshmen Ray Jenkins (120) and Dom Burden (152) as well as senior Eric Huston (138) earned wins.
Earlier in December, Perkins captured third after defeating Penn-Trafford’s Nick Coy by a 1-0 decision at the Eastern Area Invitational on Dec. 10 at Gateway. Butler finished fifth with a 4-0 decision over Altoona’s David Hess.
The Indians (1-2) started section duals with a 39-21 loss to Plum on Dec. 14. They bounced back to defeat Armstrong, 44-34, on Dec. 21 but lost to Gateway on Jan. 4.
The Indians continued their dual schedule when they traveled to Kiski Area on Jan. 11. Results of that match were unavailable at press time.
Penn Hills faces Woodland Hills at home Jan. 18 before the Allegheny County Wrestling Tournament on Jan. 20 at Fox Chapel.
Andrew John is freelance writer.
is a former freelancer.