Ligonier wrestler wins title
Ligonier Valley High School wrestlers Josh Patrick and Justin Patrick wrestled March 1 and 2 in the SWPIAA AA Regional Championship. Senior Josh Patrick finished first in the 120-pound weight-class winning his first regional championship. Junior Justin Patrick, finished second in the 113-pound division, which means both brothers moved onto the PIAA AA State Championship.
Josh Patrick finished third in his last three regional tournaments,
“It feels good, it was a good victory, but it wasn't how I wanted to win,” Josh said. “I shouldn't have given up the points that I did. I gave up one escape and two stalling points. Those were given points. But I'm happy; a win is a win.”
As the top seed in District Six, Josh was given a bye in the first round of the competition. In his quarterfinal match, Josh pinned Mike Carr of South Fayette in 1:03. He also won a 5-0 decision over Nathan Reckner from South Side Beaver High School to make it to his first regional final.
In the 120-pound championship, Josh scored two points for taking down Ryan Easter of Bedford, but allowed Easter to level the scores with an escape, worth one point, and a stalling penalty while Easter had his back. In the second overtime period, Josh again took Easter down for two points. He rode the rest of the match out flat on his stomach, giving up one point for stalling, but taking the 4-3 victory.
“That was big for me, getting two back-points was huge,” Josh said. “I knew going into the third period of the tie I had some wiggle room. I gave up that stalling call at the end kind of easily because I wasn't going to do anything to risk any backs on him or letting him let me up and then take me down.”
Coach Brian Matson said Josh wrestled a smart match and was very happy with the result.
“I think Josh needed to be a little bit more active on the bottom,” Matson said. “He obviously got called for stalling and that was the point that really made the difference. Easter is pretty tough on top, so the biggest thing Josh needed to do on the bottom position was to not get into a bad position and get himself turned. He was doing the right thing; he just needed to be a little more active. It was a well-wrestled match and a smart match.”
Justin Patrick won a 7-0 decision against Joake Rothka from Bentworth High School and a 14-2 major decision against Bill Charlton of Myersdale in the first day of competition. In the semifinals, Justin scored an overtime pin at 8:12 against George Phillip from Derry to make it to the final, where he lost a 4-3 decision to Seth Carr of South Fayette.
“It's the same situation that Justin has had in all of his tight matches and losses this year, He's afraid to open it up offensively,” Matson said. “He's wrestling a very defensive style and that's not his strength. Justin's strength is being very aggressive, being offensive and going after guys.”
Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.