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Connellsville team wrestling season ends with 1st-round loss

| Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, 11:27 p.m.

The Connellsville team wrestling season ended the same way it began: with a loss to Latrobe.

The Falcons fell to the No. 2-ranked Wildcats, 47-18, on Wednesday and failed to get through the first round for the first time since 1987. Latrobe, which defeated the Falcons, 49-15, to open the season, will face Canon-McMillan in a WPIAL semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Norwin.

Connellsville is the only WPIAL team to make the team tournament every year since it began in 1979.

While the score again was lopsided, Connellsville coach Tommy Dolde was pleased with a few wrestlers who claimed big wins.

Connellsville had five victories:

• Tyler Kenney used a late reversal to upset No. 3 ranked Ethan McCoy, 2-1, at 113 pounds.

• Bryce Butler posted an 8-4 victory against Jake Willochell at 138.

• William Bell used a late reversal to edge Ethan Smith, 8-6, at 145.

• Dale Provance topped Justin Short, 8-2, at 170.

• Matt Butler rallied to pin Travis Schmeling at 195.

Despite the early exit, Dolde said his team needs to learn from this experience.

“We finished 16-6. That's a good season,” Dolde said.

“We made the playoffs and beat some quality teams. But we only had one senior, and the lack of leadership hurt a little. It's been a tough season. We had to weed out some wrestlers and went with a younger team. We still have a lot of maturing that has to happen. But I like the team tournament, especially the way the WPIAL runs it.”

Dolde said he wants his team to win or lose with integrity.

“We still can wrestle another dual match, and we have the individuals stuff to get ready for,” Dolde said.

Despite the victory, Latrobe coach Tad Harbert was not pleased with his team's performance against Connellsville.

“I let them know it, and after the match, they had a team meeting,” Harbert said. “They knew I was ticked off. We wrestled a lot better against Peters Township.

“I wanted to see improvement from the first time we wrestled Connellsville. We let a couple matches slip away. ”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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