Injuries catch up to Kittanning in loss to Clarion
By Matt Grubba
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 11:21 p.m.
Bonus points can make all the difference in a wrestling match, and for a couple of reasons, Kittanning gave away too many.
A short-handed Wildcats lineup lost 18 points by forfeit, and that made up more than the difference in a nonsection loss to visiting Clarion, 40-31, on Wednesday.
The match was the second of three nonsection matches this week for the Wildcats, who are looking to stay sharp ahead of the Section 3-AA team championship Wednesday. But perhaps the biggest thing the Kittanning lineup needs is to get wrestlers back and avoid conceding six points at multiple weights.
“The No. 1 thing with us right now is that we're trying to get healthy,” Kittanning coach Brandon Newill said. “It's really tough to wrestle when you're giving a team 18 points. That's tough to ask any team to do, but to be honest, this team has been pretty resilient, and we've been able to come back and win a few. Our goal is to get healthy and be ready for next week.”
Brendon Malia started the match well for Kittanning by getting a 2-0 decision over Caleb Bailey at 113 pounds. Kittanning had to forfeit the next three weights, however, which turned a 3-0 lead to an 18-3 deficit in less than a minute.
The Wildcats were unable to recover from that hole, despite winning six of 11 contested matches and getting four wins by fall. Jason Nolf (152) and Cade Hepner (182) both recorded first-period pins, while Nick Croyle (138) and Jacob Shaner (106) got third-period pins, with Croyle's coming with 4 seconds remaining in a 6-4 bout.
Jacob Robb had the Wildcats' other win, a 13-1 major decision over Zach Sintobin at 220.
Having so many wrestlers unavailable hasn't just hurt the Wildcats in matches, but it also makes things more difficult in the practice room. As an example, Newill pointed out his two lightweights — Shaner and Malia — have been each other's only practice partner for weeks without a wrestler at 120, 126 or 132 available.
“It's tough without so many kids in practice and having to give up so many forfeits,” Kittanning senior co-captain Austin Cox said. “I feel like we're getting closer (to full strength), but it's been tough.”
But while forfeits have hindered Kittanning, the team was able to overcome one in a win over Valley and three each in wins over West Shamokin and Marion Center.
Newill's biggest concern from the loss to Clarion was the wrestlers on the mat giving away additional points. That happened in the form of falls by Clarion's Alex Burkhart (195) and Zack Huet (285), and a 12-0 major decision for Riley Gunter (145).
“You can't give up pins, and you can't give up bonus points. We talked about that before the match, but we didn't do that,” Newill said. “Those are the keys to a match, and when you do give up pins, that's how you lose against good teams.”
The Wildcats have their final tune-up before the section championship Friday when they visit Kiski Area for a nonsection match.
In the Section 3-AA championship, Kittanning, as the B subsection runner-up, will face A subsection winner South Allegheny. A win would put the Wildcats in the final for the second straight year, and the most likely opponent will be reigning WPIAL champ Burrell, which beat Kittanning in last year's section final and in their match earlier this season.
“It motivates us, for sure, since we lost to (Burrell) the first time we wrestled them,” Cox said. “It would be nice to wrestle them again and try to get revenge the next time.”
But whether the Wildcats would be 100 percent for a rematch with the Bucs is a question that is still up in the air.
When asked if he thought his injured wrestlers would be ready for the section championship, Newill simply shrugged and said: “I hope so.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.
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.
- Peters Township, Penn-Trafford standouts to meet with finals berth on the line
- Southmoreland’s Beistel, Griffiths fall in PIAA quarters
- For Class AA heavyweights, redemption at states
- Burrell’s Edwards 1 of 4 WPIAL wrestlers to reach PIAA Class AA finals
- Kittanning’s Nolf 1 win away from 3rd PIAA title
- Norwin’s Phipps earns spot in PIAA semifinals
- Kiski Area’s Kuhn draws unbeaten 3-time champ in PIAA Class AAA semifinals
- Bethel Park’s Dunn continues hot streak at PIAA tournament
- Norwin’s Phipps advances to PIAA quarterfinals
- BVA’s Hasson advances; teammates eliminated
- Valley’s Fields penalized for prematch handslap, leading to loss