Southmoreland wrestling team enjoys successful tournament
Fresh off the holiday, Southmoreland hosted its annual Holiday Classic wrestling tournament over the weekend.
Coach Ryan Shaw was surprised by his young team's strong ninth-place showing. The Scotties earned 98 total points.
“Our goal was to finish in the middle of the pack with 33 teams there and we kind of overachieved a little bit this weekend in finishing ninth,” Shaw said. “I thought performance-wise we did pretty well.”
The Scotties had four top-eight finishers, including sophomore Jake Beistel's championship at 285 pounds.
“Jake had an outstanding tournament,” Shaw said. “He's come around and really started his offensive tackling and feet. If he does that he's going to be successful all year.”
Other top Southmoreland finishers were junior Austin Griffiths (113), who lost to Jefferson-Morgan's Brendan Howard 4-2 a year after defeating him for the championship, and sophomores Cole Lamble (106, fifth) and Evan Myers (132, fourth).
“I think a guy that really had a great tournament was Evan Myers,” Shaw said. “He went up against Shane Gentry from South Side Beaver, who was ranked No. 1 (in the WPIAL at 132), lost to him in a very close match in the semis 3-2. (He) came back and won a consolation match and lost to (Grove City's Luke Walter) on a penalty point 2-1.”
Starting mostly freshman and sophomores, Shaw said he hopes his team's strong showing will create momentum.
“I was just proud of all my kids' efforts this weekend. Even the kids that didn't place wrestled hard,” Shaw said. “As a coach. I was just proud. I hope that can spill over here into the second half of the season.”
Another area team that wrestled at Southmoreland was Mt. Pleasant. However, the Vikings didn't have as much team success, placing 23rd with 51.50 total points.
“The coaching staff did see some improvements from some of our first- and second-year wrestlers at this tournament,” coach Mike Long said. “But on the other hand, we saw some bad decisions from some of our other wrestlers that caused them to lose matches.”
Junior Austin Mears took the top spot at 145, defeating Beth-Center's Tony Welsh 4-2, while fellow junior Ethan Charlesworth defeated Butler's Jeremiah Borimas 4-2.
“Mears and Charlesworth wrestled extremely well at the Southmoreland Tournament,” Long said. “Both wrestled hard and defeated some really good wrestlers.”
In other area wrestling news, Connellsville competed in the Powerade Tournament at Canon-McMillan with slim results. Only junior Dale Provance earned a spot on the podium with a seventh-place finish in the 170-pound bracket, defeating Father Judge's Idris White for his only tournament win.
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.