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Gators bring home three medals from Southmoreland tournament

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Gateway varsity wrestling team spent part of its holiday break at the annual Southmoreland Holiday Tournament, and three Gators wrestlers earned medals with top-eight performances.

Senior Austin Davidson continues a strong early-season effort, and he placed fourth in a 28-wrestler bracket at 170 pounds.

Seeded fourth, Davidson received a bye past the first round and then won two bouts — a 3-0 decision over Northern Bedford sophomore Lucas Kolinchak and a 5-4 decision over Beth Center junior Nico Brown — to reach the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Davidson met top seed and returning Southmoreland champion Ryan Hannon.

Hannon edged Davidson, 3-2, and Davidson dropped to the consolation semifinals.

He bounced back quickly with a 5-0 decision over Baldwin senior Nelson Mangoliko.

That set up a rematch with Brown for third place. This time, Brown got the better of Davidson, 3-2.

Davidson's 3-2 record at Southmoreland put him at 7-3 for the season.

He finished runner-up at the Eastern Area tournament and then won his bout in Gateway's section dual meet with McKeesport.

Davidson missed the Gators' match with Kiski Area because of illness.

Senior Cody Pawlowski earned sixth out of 22 wrestlers at 195 pounds.

He started out his tournament with a quick 30-second pin of Grove City's Austin Burckbichler, and he then picked up a 7-5 decision win over Slippery Rock's Zane Wolf.

Pawlowski's run in the championship bracket ended in the quarterfinals with a tough pin in 3:54 at the hands of Ellwood City's Brad Grinnen, the No. 3 seed.

He wrestled three more times in the consolation bracket, scoring a fall over Jefferson-Morgan's Jeff Jento with six seconds left in their consolation quarterfinal bout.

However, a pinfall loss dropped him to the fifth-place finals, and a second pinfall setback placed him in sixth overall.

Pawlowski went 3-3 in the tournament, and now is 4-6 on the season.

Junior Justin Leone was busy over the two days of the tournament. He wrestled seven times, went 4-3 to up his season record to 7-5 and placed eighth overall in the 138-pound bracket.

He went 1-1 in the championship bracket and won three in a row in the consolation bracket to put him in position to earn a medal.

Grove City's Jarod Sample dealt Leone two of his three losses in the tournament, including a tough 3-2 decision in the match for seventh place.

As a team, Gateway earned 58.5 team points and placed 21st out of 33 teams.

Gateway returns to dual-match action on Saturday at 2 p.m. with a Section 1 contest against Penn Hills at Gateway High School.

The Gators then travel to Plum on Monday for a 7 p.m. nonsection match against the Section 3 Mustangs.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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