Belle Vernon wrestling team beats Connellsville, clinches share of subsection title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Over the years, many wrestling teams have wilted under the pressure of trying to beat Connellsville in its own gym in a big match.
This year's Belle Vernon squad was not one of those teams.
The Leopards, hungry to win the 2A subsection in Section 2-AAA, came into the Falcons' gym Tuesday, won eight of 14 bouts and walked out with a 37-22 victory.
The win clinched no less than a share of the subsection title for the Leopards, and they can win it outright with a victory over Ringgold on Wednesday.
“From what I've been told, it's the first time we've ever beaten Connellsville,” Belle Vernon first-year coach Tyler Nauman said. “That makes it a huge match. We just have a dedicated group.
“They want to wrestle, and they want to be good. It was about buying into our system, and they are being rewarded.”
It was their second home loss this season for the Falcons (13-4, 5-1). Connellsville lost to Latrobe on opening night. Connellsville coach Tommy Dolde is hoping that this regular-season defeat helps his team if Connellsville and Belle Vernon meet again next week in the section championship match.
“We learned some things, and that's what we wanted,” Dolde said. “The section championship is decided next week, and that's what we want to win.”
Connellsville started with a win. Tyler Kenney (113 pounds) opened with a 4-3 victory over Tyler Seliga.
The Leopards (8-2, 5-0) took an 8-3 lead on back-to-back major decisions by Brendan Hasson (120) and Mitchell Hartman (126).
The Falcons pulled to within 8-7, thanks to a major decision by Brenden Cooper (132). Belle Vernon won the next four bouts to take a 26-7 lead.
Cameron Evans (138) and Jarod Verkleeren (145) won back-to-back decisions before Derek Verkleeren (152) and Joshua Godzin (160) each won by fall.
Evans' victory was a 6-4 triumph over Bryce Butler. Jarod Verkleeren handled William Bell, 7-2.
The Falcons made a small move to get back in the match. Dale Provance (170) and Tommy Provance (182) each won on decisions. But the fact that Connellsville couldn't collect any bonus points in those two bouts was important, Nauman said.
“We had two kids bump up and were team players,” Nauman said of Austin Bell moving to 170 and Milton Kobaly jumping to 182. “They wrestled the Provance brothers, and they kept the bonus points to a minimum.”
Nauman also credited Jarod and Derek Verkleeren for wrestling strong matches.
“Everybody contributed,” Nauman said. “We did what we needed to do to win.”
Belle Vernon clinched the victory when William Korber (195) caught Matt Butler on his back and pinned him. With the match decided, Connellsville's Gunnar Lynch (220) won on a decision before Dakota McWilliams (285) picked up Connellsville's only pin of the match.
Belle Vernon's Jacob Dunlop (106) closed the match with a pin.
Despite losing, Dolde noted he was proud of the team's effort, especially considering that several wrestlers stepped into the lineup to fill spots that recently have been vacated.
Dolde credited the efforts of Alex Knopsnider (152) and Riley Eans (160) for filling the voids. He also acknowledged that despite some strong efforts on his team's part, losing to Belle Vernon wasn't a surprise.
“We could see it coming,” Dolde said, noting Belle Vernon had beaten Connellsville in each of the past two seasons at the junior high level.
Still, Dolde isn't conceding another loss should the teams meet again.
“I think we can win at 138 and 195,” Dolde said. “We can overturn those two matches, and if we don't give up some bonus points, then it's a match.”
The Falcons host Liberty (W.Va.) in a nonsection match Wednesday.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Shoulder injury sidelines top-seeded 126-pounder at WPIAL wrestling tournament
- Thomas Jefferson’s Devine pins way to coveted section championship
- Norwin’s Phipps chasing elusive WPIAL AAA wrestling title this week
- Move to Canon-McMillan means less travel for wrestlers headed to Southwest Regional
- Penn Hills star wrestler has No. 1 seed in WPIAL, no stomach pains
- Connellsville wrestlers ready for WPIAL tournament
- Wrestlers hope to benefit from numbers increase at PIAA championships
- Kiski Area freshman Reid closes in on PIAA tournament berth
- Franklin Regional defends PIAA Class AAA wrestling championship
- Southmoreland, Mt. Pleasant wrestlers set tone of success at WPIALs
- Large WPIAL contingent buoys South Allegheny wrestling team