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Derry wrestlers fall short in section title match

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By Eric Tepper
Friday, Jan. 23, 2009

Derry Area head wrestling coach Mike Wood made it clear Wednesday night that in no way is he a "bad sport," but he does not like to lose close matches, especially when his team does not perform to its capability.

Those were his feelings shortly after his Trojans dropped a hard-fought 36-21 decision to Penn-Trafford and, in the process, let the WPIAL Section 1-AAA title slip away.

Penn-Trafford got painful revenge for losing a Section 1-B match to Derry Area in December and Wood knew the Warriors would be out to win in the most crucial match of the season.

Earlier in the evening, Derry Area defeated Kiski Area 38-21, but the 10-point win over the Cavaliers did not please Wood all that much.

"In my opinion, we just didn't wrestle all that well throughout the evening and left a great opportunity slip right out of our hands," Wood said.

Penn-Trafford got to the finals by defeating Franklin Regional 41-19. As a result of last night's action, all four teams will now be entered in the WPIAL team tournament, which begins Monday with pigtail matches.

The loss to Penn-Trafford means that Derry Area will have to travel in the opening round of the team tournament. Wood was hoping that, with a strong performance, his Trojans would begin tournament competition at home.

Early in the match, Derry Area (10-2) raced to a 14-6 lead, but Penn-Trafford proceeded to make it close the rest of the way.

Brandon Grainy (125) edged Dante DeCario 2-0 and what hurt even worse was when Dan Worbel (130) won by a major decision over Ben Myers.

Decisions by Travis Shaffer and Adam Japalucci trimmed the Warrior lead to 24-21.

However, Jake Matthews and Devan Jones each picked up a pin to close the match and give the victory to Penn-Trafford.

Wood said that while the loss to Penn-Trafford really hurts right now, it may very well serve as a "wake-up call" to his Trojans.

"What hurts in this situation is that we wrestle against strong competition all season and when it comes to a crucial match like this, we can't afford a letdown," Wood said.

He also made it clear that there are no excuses for what took place against Penn-Trafford and is hoping that his Trojans can regroup over the next few days.

"There is no doubt that it will take me a while to get over the loss," Wood said. "We let a great opportunity slip right out of our hands."

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