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Ligonier Valley wrestling team goes down in first round

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Peter Turcik | for the Ligonier Echo
Rams junior Derek Croyle takes the dominant position on his opponent. Peter Turcik | for the Ligonier Echo The photo was taken by Peter Turcik 01/14/13 at the Ligonier Valley High School gym.

Last week the Ligonier Valley High School wrestling team lost 55-21 in a dual match to Blairsville High School, dropping out of the District Six playoffs. Ligonier was seeded 11th in the bracket, wrestling against sixth-seed Blairsville.

Four of Ligonier's starters, Joshua Patrick at the 120 weight-division, Dominick Shawley, 182 pounds; as well as Justin Patrick, 113 pounds; and Oliver Hall, 170 pounds, did not wrestle in the match.

Justin Patrick strained his neck wrestling with a club outside of school. Head Coach Brian Matson said this injury was the main reason for keeping the other wrestlers out of the dual match as a way to keep them healthy for a dual match tournament at West Shamokin High School in Freeport.

“If we needed to, we probably could have wrestled Josh, but without Justin in the lineup we weren't going to be able to win the match, so we went ahead and rested him. It was a case of getting ready for these seven matches over the next few days,” Matson explained.

Matson said Shawley and Hall were unable to make weight, and although they could have wrestled up a weight-class, they would not be eligible to wrestle at their preferred weight in West Shamokin.

“If we were going to be able to win the match, we would have put more concern into trying to get them down,” Matson said. “Because of the way it was going to work out ahead of time with Josh and Justin being out, there was no sense in messing up their weight loss plan.”

Daniel Croyle wrestling in the 132-pound weight class, Max Caldwell, 126 pounds; and Raymond Marsh, 220 pounds, all scored pins over their opponents. Gordon Matson also won receiving a 6-2 decision victory in his bout at 106 pounds.

Justin Bellas, wrestling at 170 pounds; Benjamin Hoch, 195 pounds; Kyler Kruel, 285 pounds; and Tyler Smith, 152 pounds, all lost their bouts by pin. Derek Croyle, 145 pounds, lost an 8-4 decision and Joseph Neiderhiser lost by a major decision. The Rams also forfeited the 113-pound division, 120-pound, 160-pound and 182-pound weight classes.

“On paper, we are a pretty close match up,” Matson said. “They're tougher in their upper weights and we are generally tougher in our lower weights, so it will come down to maybe just one or two matches here or there. That match should be a real tight match, assuming everyone's healthy. We may be able to pull off a win, but we need everybody healthy if we're going to do that.”

The Rams will face Blairsville again Feb. 12 in another dual match at Blairsville.

Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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