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5 forfeits carry Derry wrestlers past Mt. Pleasant

| Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, 11:33 p.m.
Lori Padilla | For the Daily Courier
Mt. Pleasant's Austin Mears (top) gains control of Derry's Drake Westerbeck during a 145-pound bout on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 at Mt. Pleasant High School.

With only one win this season, it would be easy for the members of the Mt. Pleasant wrestling team to focus on what the team is lacking.

However, Mt. Pleasant coach Mike Long is taking a different approach.

Instead of lamenting the forfeits the team must surrender every match, Long is focused on the athletes who are working hard to better themselves in time for the individual tournaments at the end of the season.

“I'm focused on the individual accomplishments rather than the team score because of the forfeits we have to give up,” Long said.

With that in mind, it made Monday's 60-23 Section 2-AA (2B) home loss to Derry a bit easier to swallow.

The Vikings (1-7, 0-3) had to forfeit five matches, which equates to 30 team points. However, the Vikings were competitive in the nine contested bouts, and managed to win four of the nine.

“They met my expectations,” Long said. “Ethan Charlesworth, Austin Mihalchik, Austin Mears and Josh Lind all got pins or a technical fall. I praise the ones that perform well, and the ones that don't, I tell them to keep their head up.”

The four wrestlers Long mentioned certainly turned in strong efforts.

Mihalchik (106 pounds) and Lind (220) each had first-period falls, and Charlesworth (152) recorded a pin in the second period of his match. Mears (145) worked his way to a third-period technical fall.

Despite losing the match, Long is buoyed by his wrestlers' work ethic.

“We've had some ups and downs, but I'm seeing improvement,” Long said.

For the Trojans, much of the focus is on team goals. The Trojans (8-1, 3-0) used the five forfeits to their advantage, but they also earned the win thanks to winning performances in five bouts.

“I thought we wrestled well,” Derry coach Mike Weinell said. “The wrestlers that Mt. Pleasant does have are very solid and we knew they would be hard to wrestle. Even the kids that got pinned were able to get off their backs a few times. The overall effort was good, and I'm pretty happy.”

George Phillippi (120), Stone Kepple (126), Jarrett Dorazio (160), Derek Baker (170) and Noah Wiencek (195) each won by pin for Derry. Cole Wano (113), Austin Jellison (132), Devin Siko (138), Joey Kelly (180) and David Stevenson (285) each received a forfeit victory.

According to Weinell, the win clinches a playoff spot for his team.

“It's nice, and we know we have that extra match,” Weinell said.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at jblack@tribweb.com.

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