Connellsville wrestling team whips 2 foes to win Section 2-AAA title
Dylan Miller, Ethan Kenney and Tommy Provance each recorded two falls as Connellsville breezed to the Section 2-AAA wrestling championship Wednesday night.
The Falcons defeated Peters Township, 48-17, in the finals.
Connellsville began with pins by Matt Butler at 195 pounds and Miller at 220 and closed the match by winning five straight weight classes.
“It was a nice win,” Connellsville coach Tommy Dolde said. “With both Peters Township and Mt. Lebanon, there were a lot of tough matches. They're both tough clubs and well-coached.”
The Falcons advanced to the finals with an easy 52-12 win over Mt. Lebanon.
Peters Township claimed a spot in the championship with a thrilling 34-31 win over Belle Vernon.
With the score tied, 31-31, the Indians' Mackenzie Mitchell defeated Belle Vernon's Milton Kibaly at 170 pounds, 7-6, when he was awarded a penalty point with 10 seconds remaining in the third period.
Connellsville won four of the first five bouts in the finals, the only loss coming when heavyweight Gunnar Lynch dropped a 1-0 decision in three overtimes.
Lynch was also on the short end of a 1-0 decision in the semifinals.
Trailing 23-3, Peters Township won three straight bouts, beginning with Philip Mary's pin of Daniel Leonard.
Tyler Bucksio and Italo Merante followed with major decisions to cut Peters Township's deficit to 23-17.
But Ethan Kenney's pin of John Ivaschenko ended the Falcons' skid, and Connellsville didn't lose another match.
Dolde credits a grueling regular-season schedule with helping prepare his team for the postseason format of back-to-back matches.
“That's the way our athletic director sets it up for us,” Dolde said. “It's set up so we're peaking at the right time. The kids are seasoned. We have a lot of sophomores and freshmen wrestling, and we're hoping all the kids peak at the right moment.”
Connellsville's Francis Cavalier, Tyler Steele, Tyler Kenney and Butler each recorded two wins.
The semifinals started at 182 pounds, and Cavalier picked up a hard-fought 4-2 overtime decision over Mt. Lebanon's Baktiyar Zaynullayev.
A forfeit and Miller's pin of Blake Stewart quickly gave Connellsville a 15-0 lead.
After Zeynul Zaynullayev clipped Lynch, Tyler Kenney recorded a fall, and Leonard decisioned Kevin Kinyua; the lead was 24-3.
Beginning with Ethan Kenney at 138 pounds, Connellsville recorded four straight pins.
Connellsville will be back in action next Wednesday, when the WPIAL Class AAA team playoffs begin. The first round and quarterfinals will be Wednesday, with the semifinals and finals slated for Feb. 2.
Dolde is pleased with the direction his team is headed.
“We gave up some points tonight that we didn't have to give up,” Dolde said. “But both of the matches were good matches. This is the third time we've been in this type of tournament this season, and it has us ready for what's ahead of us.”
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.