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Greensburg Salem wrestler reaches Coaches' Association semifinals

Paul Schofield
| Saturday, March 3, 2001

Jim Falatovich said he learned a valuable lesson at the Westmoreland County Coaches' Association tournament back in January.

'Be careful what you say. Your words may comeback to haunt you.'

They did.

Falatovich, a senior at Greensburg Salem, made some brash statements after his quarterfinal match, but he could not back up his words in the semifinals the next day. He had to settle for a third-place finish.

'I told myself I was never going to put myself in that position again,' Falatovich said after winning two matches Friday at the WPIAL Class AAA Wrestling Championships at the Charles L. Sewall Center at Robert Morris College.

The two victories put Falatovich into the 130-pound semifinals at noon today against T.J. Hunsberger of Moon. It was also the first time Falatovich had won a match in the WPIAL tournament.

'I'm more prepared this year,' Falatovich said. 'Last year, I was hurt. I'm going to try to relax and stay focused on my next match.'

Falatovich, who pinned Blake Rice of Seneca Valley in the first round and defeated Tom Fives of North Allegheny 11-2 in the quarterfinals, says he doesn't know much about his next opponent, and he likes it that way.

'I'll just go out and wrestle my style,' Falatovich said. 'If I can do that, I can wrestle with anyone.'

Falatovich's teammate Brian Sticca pulled off one of the 11 upsets during the first night. Sticca knocked off Dan Pacitti of Moon 3-1 in overtime in a 119-pound quarterfinal match.

Sticca, a junior, used his quickness and strength to fend off Pacitti's attack. In overtime, Sticca changed his shot and nailed a double-leg takedown for the winning points.

'I was shooting to the inside and he was stopping me,' Sticca said. 'I shot to the outside and was able to get the takedown.'

Sticca defeated Dean Jacobs of Peters Township 9-3 in the opening round.

The other district wrestlers to advance to the semifinals are Mike Ciotti (103) and Jon Stovich (125) of Greater Latrobe, Jeff Ruffini (103), Mike Crocetti (160) and Ryan McKendree (189), Dave Gardner (160) of Norwin, Evan Pohaski (189) of Laurel Highlands, Tom Prato (135) of Indiana, Jarrod King (125), DeWitt Driscoll (135), Ron Doppelheuer (140) and John Ferens (145) of Connellsville, Bill Enciso (119) of Valley, John Ptak (152) of Albert Gallatin, Nick Kozar (145) and B.J. Mikeska (152), and Mike Cardamone (152) of Penn-Trafford.

Ciotti, who will meet Drew Headlee of Waynesburg, defeated Josh Byerly of Keystone Oaks 7-0 in the opening round and Bill Spencer of Highlands 3-1 in the quarterfinals.

Ciotti, who was a PIAA qualifier last season, says he must wrestle better today if he hopes to earn another trip to Hershey.

'I'm just happy I got two victories (Friday),' Ciotti said. 'That means I need only one victory (today) to qualify for the state tournament. Sometimes getting that one victory is tougher than you think.'

Stovich, Ciotti's teammate, had an impressive night. He opened the tournament with an 8-5 victory against Chris Lanks of Peters Township, and followed with an impressive 11-3 win against Waynesburg freshman Mark Throckmorton.

Stovich meets another outstanding freshman, King of Connellsville, in the semifinals.

King pinned Denis Mazzoni of Derry in the opening round, and then upset second seeded Adam Curry of Woodland Hills 5-3 in the quarterfinals.

Cardamone and Mikeska were closer to their fourth rematch of the season. Mikeska, seeded first, owns a 2-1 lead in the series.

Connellsville, North Allegheny and Trinity were tied for first place in the team standings with 39 points. Kiski Area was fourth with 36 and Shaler followed with 35 ½.

WPIAL Class AAA Championship

When: Today

Where: Charles L. Sewall Center, Robert Morris College, Coraopolis

Time: second consolation round, 11 a.m.; semifinals, noon; finals, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: morning session: $3 students, $5 adults; evening session: $3 students, $6 adults.

The skinny: Top 4 wrestlers in each weight class advance to the PIAA Championship March 8-10.

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