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Lebe heads into AA wrestling quarterfinals

Paul Schofield
| Friday, March 9, 2001

HERSHEY - Matt Lebe of Jeannette High School didn't wrestle his best match in the opening round of the PIAA Class AA tournament Thursday at the Hersheypark Arena.

He didn't have to. The senior did what he had to in his 7-4 victory against Derek Elliott of Milton Hershey.

Lebe, a two-time PIAA placewinner, controlled the match from the start. He got a takedown in the first period and then extended his lead to 5-2 after the second period.

'Matt's going to do what he can to get through the tournament,' Jeannette coach Charlie Cook said. 'He seemed tentative, but he had enough to win.'

Lebe, who improved to 35-1, is fighting a virus. He got sick after the regional tournament at Pitt-Johnstown last weekend and missed two days of practice.

'I can't let that slow me down,' Lebe said. 'I felt fine moving, but I was having problems breathing. It wasn't a pretty victory. I'm just happy to move on.'

Lebe, who will meet Desmond Johnson of Grove City this morning in the quarterfinals, is one of five wrestlers from Westmoreland County to reach the quarterfinals.

Southmoreland freshman Shane Datz pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the first round. Datz, now 29-10, knocked off the Northeast Region champion Kurtis Yeager of Bloomsburg 8-6. Yeager had defeated defending champion Mike Robinson of Benton twice during the regular season. Datz will meet Mitch Naugle of Boiling Springs in today's quarterfinals.

'I figured, being a fourth-place finisher, I had nothing to lose,' Datz said. 'I learned early that I could stay with him.'

Datz got the first takedown and took control of the match. He built an 8-4 lead and held for the win.

'This is a big boost in my confidence,' Datz said. 'I'm excited about the victory. I'm still in shock that I won.'

'Shane did a good job,' Southmoreland coach Jon Banko said. 'He took control of the match early. Hopefully, he will believe he can defeat good kids.'

The wrestlers to advance were Burrell's Joe Makara (112), Zach Majocha, also of Burrell (275), and Brian Hall of Yough.

Makara defeated Wade Ginter of West York 3-2 in his match, and Majocha rallied to defeat Chris Pomraning of Kennard-Dale 8-6.

Makara (33-3), who placed second last year at 103, will meet Jim Collins of Northern Lebanon in the quarterfinals and said he was looking ahead to that match.

'I didn't wrestle my match,' Makara said. 'My head wasn't in it. I better get my head in it for the next match.'

Hall breezed to a 5-0 victory against Andrew Marsteller of Wilson. Hall (33-6) will have a tough quarterfinal-round match. He will meet Kyle Cathcart (35-0) of Clarion.

Majocha (29-7) will meet Shane Mihalko of Freedom (35-3) in the quarterfinals.

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