Pittston Area’s Dominic Lussi, right, wrestles Coughlin’s John Wilson in the 189-pound bout in Wilkes-Barre Monday night. BILL TARUTIS/FOR THE SUNDAY DISPATCHBILL TARUTIS
Pittston Area’s Frank Ardo, front, wrestles Coughlin’s Steve Turner in the 145-pound bout in Wilkes-Barre on Monday night.
Pittston Area’s John Minich, front, wrestles Coughlin’s Joey Parsnik in the 160-pound bout in Wilkes-Barre Monday night.photos by BILL TARUTIS
The Pittston Area wrestling team is usually in the mix when it comes time to crown a Wyoming Valley Conference Division I Champion. And this year was no different. It just took a little longer to wear the crown.
The Patriots captured yet another WVC Division I title by defeating Coughlin 37-30 on the road Monday night in Wilkes-Barre as Justin Wilk won the final bout of the evening for Pittston Area.
Trailing 15-0 early, the Patriots clawed their way back to set up Wilk’s heroics in the final match.
Holding a 31-30 lead, Pittston Area sent out Wilk to wrestle at 140 pounds against the Crusaders Nick Davi. The drama and suspense was high on the mat and Davi was doing all he could to get into Wilk’s head. But, Wilk remained even-keeled and took care of his business on the mat by pinning Davi with 1.7 seconds left in the second round to secure the Patriots victory.
“This was a great win for us,” Wilk said. “I knew what I had to do and I did it. It felt amazing to pin him.”
After dropping the first three bouts, Bob Falvo turned things around for the Patriots with a huge pin in the 171-pound bout. Falvo was losing by a 4-1 margin after the first round, but he would knot the match at 4-4 in the second round thanks to an escape and a reversal. Falvo was unable to capture the pin in the second round as his opponent, Troy Vannucci was saved by the bell.
Vannucci got an early escape, giving him a 5-4 advantage, but the match went downhill from there for Vannucci as Falvo delivered a gym-rocking takedown and pinned Vannucci with 55 seconds remaining in the third round.
After the Falvo pin the Patriots were on the board and down just 15-6.
Dominick Lussi built off of the Falvo pin and captured a win of his own. Lussi was unable to pin John Olsen in the 189-pound bout, but he did capture an 8-2 decision. Lussi came out of the gate strong with a takedown and two back points giving him a 4-0 lead. Olsen then escaped to tighten Lussi’s lead to 4-1, but the PA senior reacted by earning another two-point takedown making it 6-1. In the final round, Lussi secured the victory with yet another takedown giving him an 8-1 advantage. Olsen earned another escape point, but he needed much more than that to defeat Lussi. The Patriots found themselves down just 15-9 after the Lussi decision.
The 189-pound weight class features many great wrestlers and Monday night featured two of the best in District 2 squared off in PA’s Jason Laboranti and Coughlin’s Josh Popple.
Both wrestlers jumped up a weight and competed in the 215-bout, and although round one featured no scoring, it did feature aggression. Both grapplers knew the magnitude of the match. Round two was all Popple as he jumped out to an 8-1 lead due to a combination of back points and takedowns. The match ended in a 9-3 decision and the Crusaders held an 18-9 lead over the Patriots.
In the heavyweight division, scoring was scarce. Chris Wesolowski earned two escape points to Shane Smith’s one, and it looked as though it was Wesolowski’s match with both heavyweights tiring. However, Smith received a sudden burst of energy and pinned Wesolowski with 25.5 seconds remaining in the third and final round. The Smith pin increased the Coughlin lead to 24-9.
That’s when Pittston took over.
In the 103 -pound match, PA’s Jamie Scarantino continued his dominance as he won an 8-0 decision over Bill Poray. Scarantino controlled the entire match and his victory brought the Patriots to within 24-12.
Pittston Area continued to gain momentum in the 112-pound bout as Tyler Lutecki won by a 12-5 decision. Lutecki controlled the match with a series of reversals and back points. Michael Domarasky than earned a forfeit victory at 119, and all of a sudden the Patriots were down just 24-22 with four matches remaining.
The Patriots captured their first lead of the night thanks to Donnie Parham’s 5-2 decision over Kyle Poray in the 125-pound bout. Parham earned a two-point reversal then received a point due to a Coughlin violation. He then gained another reversal jumping out to a 5-0 lead. Poray couldn’t catch up and the Patriots lead was 25-24.
Angelo Lussi increased the Patriots lead to 31-24 with a huge pin. Lussi controlled the match jumping out to an early 6-0 lead. With 27 seconds left in the second round Lussi put Chris Goy on his back and refused to let him up until the referee tapped the mat.
Intensity was high on the mat and in the stands as Kevin Wesolowski went toe-to-toe with Frank Mahmoud. Wesolowski struggled early falling to a 6-1 deficit. He crawled his way back into the match with an escape and reversal. But Mahmoud struck back with a reversal of his own making the score 8-4.
Wesolowski earned an escape point bringing the match to 8-5. However, Mahmoud extended his lead to 10-5 with a takedown. Wesolowski fired back with a takedown of his own and then earned three back points tying the match at 10-10. Mahmoud fired back with a reversal to take a 12-10 lead. However, Wesolowski was injured and unable to continue so the Crusaders earned six points by injury default. Those six points were huge, because Coughlin now had a chance to win the match with a decision victory or a pin in the final match.
But Wilk made sure Coughlin didn’t walk away with a victory by defeating Davi. The Patriots emerged victorious by a final score of 37-30 in the match.
Wyoming Area struggled with Dallas in a 58-18 loss to the Mountaineers on Saturday night in a Wyoming Valley Conference Division II match in Exeter.
The Warriors managed three wins – all pins – by Steve Barush (125), Andy Schutz (130) and Mitch Payne (215).
Barush pinned Jordan Vishnesky in 3:50, and Schutz pinned Steve Mingey in 4:25.
Payne got his first win at 215 pounds this year with a 55-second pin of Niko Cerza.
Eight Pittston Area wrestlers won twice as the Patriots advanced to last night’s District 2 Class 3A Duals title bout against Delaware Valley with wins over Scranton and Honesdale in the Thomas R. Kelly Gymnasium in Yatesville on Friday night.
Jason Laboranti (189) led the way with two wins by pinfall as the Patriots beat the Knights, 59-9, in the opening match, before beating the Hornets, 40-27, in the semifinals. Dom Lussi (160) won a decision against Scranton before pinning Tom Bryant of Honesdale in 36 seconds.
Jamie Scarantino (103) won two bouts by technical falls for the Patriots, and Michael Domarasky (112) pinned Tyler Farrell of Scranton in 1:37, and won a major decision against Honesdale. Justin Wilk (140) also won by pin and major decision for PA, and Brandon Dolan (152) and Jon Skrzysowski (215) each won two bouts with a pin and by forfeit.
Angelo Lussi also won twice – in separate weight classes – winning decisions at 130 and 135 pounds.
WA v. Elk Lake
WA v. West Scranton
WA v. Whitehall
WVC Division 1
Pittston Area …6-0, 12-2
Valley West…2-4, 6-7
WVC Division 2
Wyoming Area…2-4, 6-12