ShareThis Page

Young South Park wrestlers look to make impact at section championships

| Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, 10:09 p.m.
Chartiers-Houston's PEte Provenzano
Chartiers-Houston's PEte Provenzano

After a 0-6 Class AA Section 1A team season that fell short of expectations, South Park is among the WPIAL teams eager to hit the reset button.

The WPIAL individual wrestling section championships for Class AA will be Saturday, with the Section 1 and 2 tournaments starting at 10 a.m. at Chartiers Houston and Charleroi, respectively, and the Section 3 tournament will start at 11 a.m. at Avonworth.

“We get to this part of the season, and you feel like you're part of everything,” South Park coach Walt Karrenbauer said. “I've gotten more rejuvenated over the last couple of weeks looking at this part of the year because it is about the guys that have worked really hard, and they can start to show, ‘I'm one of the best and I'm there.' ”

With the focus now shifting to individual talents, plenty of attention will be paid to South Park and its three No. 1-ranked wrestlers: 152-pound sophomore Greg Bulsak (22-1), 138-pound sophomore Jake Wentzel (22-1), and 106-pound freshman Dallas Bulsak (16-4), Greg's cousin.

In last season's section championships, Greg Bulsak claimed the 126-pound title before doing the same at the WPIAL and regional level to reach the state tournament. Wentzel was the runner-up for the 132-pound section title and went on to place fifth at the WPIAL championships, fourth regionally and eighth at the state tournament.

Now with just nine members and only one upperclassman on the team — junior Nikolas Derenzo, who has missed most of the season with a concussion — the talented sophomores have acted like grizzled veterans this year.

“We lead by example,” Wentzel said. “We try to work hard just like everybody before us has. Greg (Bulsak) and I have been wrestling with each other since we were 5. We push each other pretty well.”

In preparation for Saturday's tournament, South Park has increased the intensity of its practices, replacing time that typically was spent on instruction with an extra portion of live wrestling.

“It's been pretty nice working hard, getting ready for the postseason,” Wentzel said. “All of us are working 110 percent.”

Much work also was done over the summer, long before the season started.

Greg Bulsak jumped weight classes in the offseason from 126 to 152 — and not entirely because of a growth spurt.

“Greg wrestled quite a bit and spent a lot of tme in the weight room,” Karrenabuer said. “He wasn't just a kid that gained weight and is wrestling that weight. He built his body up to that weight and carries it very well.”

Greg Bulsak has been leading by example as a de facto elder statesman this year, an example his cousin, Dallas, should have no problem following.

“Dallas is in the same position that Greg and (Wentzel) were last year,” Karrenbauer said. “People know who he is, just through the junior circuit.”

Although he thinks the top-ranked freshman's expectations for himself are pretty high, Karrenbauer hasn't pushed the issue leading up to the biggest tournament of his young career.

“I don't really press them on it,” Karrenbauer said. “It's just something that I choose not to do because I want their goals to be theirs and not mine.”

Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.