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Rams wrestlers defeat Marion Center

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Peter Turcik | for the Ligonier Echo
Ligonier's Dan Croyle (top) wrestles injured to gain team points. Peter Turcik | for the Ligonier Echo The photo was taken by Peter Turcik on 01/30/13 at Ligonier Valley High School gym.

The Ligonier Valley High School wrestling team took on Marion Center Area High School in a dual match, where the Rams won 42-39. This was the second of four conference matches this season, of which Ligonier has won both. In the match, Ligonier scored three pins and gave up four.

“This match was certainly not a thing of beauty, but it does speak to the team's ability to persevere,” head coach Brian Matson said. “As has all too often been the case, we were missing two starters from our line-up and had one, Dan Croyle, competing injured.”

Dominick Shawley, wrestling at 195 pounds; Derek Croyle, 152 pounds; and Tyler Smith, at 145 pounds all pinned their opponents to earn six points. Justin Patrick, a 113-pound wrestler; Kyler Kruel, 285 pounds; Max Caldwell, 126 pounds; and freshman Gordon Matson, 106 pounds all won by forfeit.

Ligonier had to forfeit bouts in the 120-s and 160-pound weight class because they didn't have wrestlers in the division. Justin Bellas, 182 pounds; Oliver Hall, 170 pounds; as well as Joseph Neiderhiser, 138 pounds; and Ben Hoch, 220 pounds, were all pinned by their opponents.

“The pin or be pinned trend in high school wrestling is not a real positive trend for the sport,” Matson stated. “I suppose there are a number of factors that contribute to this trend though, so we just hope that in the pin battle, we win more often than we lose. We certainly need some guys to step-up and learn to avoid bad situations that result in pins.”

Dan Croyle lost a six-to-four decision, which gave Marion Center only three points and kept Ligonier in the lead. Matson said Croyle wrestled with a strained rotator cuff, and though Croyle lost, the result of the bout was preferable to a forfeit, which would have given Marion Center six points, as opposed to three.

“Sometimes as Dan's match illustrates, not giving up bonus points – pins, technical falls and major decisions – is just as important as winning,” Matson said. “When you face a more skilled opponent than yourself, you have to learn to minimize the damage, so to speak.”

“It is disappointing seeing Dan lose his bout against a foe I would expect him to beat, however, the fact that Dan stepped up and competed injured helped the team immensely.

He was wrestling an above average opponent that I knew would give him a tight match, and Dan led the match until the last 15 seconds, but the fact he was only able to compete at about 75-percent resulted in a heart-breaking loss. But the fact that he stepped up and competed with discomfort speaks volumes.”

The Ligonier team traveled Jan. 28 to Northern Cambria and again yesterday to Cambria Heights. On Saturday, the team will compete in the Elderton Duals.

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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