Kiski Area wrestlers wrap up Section 1-AAA championship
Kiski Area's wrestling team clinched the Section 1-AAA championship late in a hard-fought match against Greensburg Salem in an unusual way ?quot; by receiving six points via a forfeit.
Kiski Area's wrestlers, coaches and fans originally reacted with surprise, but were glad to accept the title.
The Cavaliers won seven of 14 bouts, including three crucial matches in the middle weights and a pair of unexpected forfeits in the upper classes, to defeat host Greensburg Salem, 33-30, on Wednesday night.
Kiski Area coach Chuck Tursky doesn't want to see any wrestler get hurt. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of sports, and the Cavaliers have had to overcome their share this season en route to their first section title since 2008.
"Sometimes, you need a little of bit of luck, along with talent," Tursky said. "Staying healthy is all a part of this."
Kiski Area (19-0), which is No. 2 in the Tribune-Review News Service rankings, received wins from Jake Ardellitz (126 pounds), Cole Landowski (138), Jim Bistline (145), Shawn McGowan (152), Dakota Lange (182), Matt McCutcheon (195) and Shane Kuhn (220).
Landowski and McCutcheon recorded first-period pins, Ardellitz, Bistline and McGowan eked out wins by decision, and Lange and Kuhn accepted forfeits.
Kiski Area's clincher came when Greensburg Salem forfeited at 220 pounds, giving the Cavaliers an insurmountable 33-20 lead with two bouts left.
Greensburg Salem senior 182-pounder Josh Falatovich was injured during a semifinal win over Central Catholic earlier last night and didn't wrestle in the final. Greensburg Salem coach Randy Parsley explained that he forfeited the 182 class because he didn't have another eligible wrestler at that weight. He also had to juggle his lineup, which caused the other forfeit at 220.
Kiski Area's arguably most important win on the mat came at 152. In the first period, McGowan looked like he was overmatched by Trey Hahn, who had defeated him at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament. But McGowan avoided getting pinned and rebounded to earn a 3-0 win.
"I got head-locked twice (in the first period) and got thrown on my back," McGowan said. "I felt I had to get my offense going. I had to work for a takedown.
"This was a great win for us as a team. We haven't won sections in a number of years."
Kiski Area, one of four section champs in Class AAA, will be looking for a high seeding when the WPIAL playoffs start next week. Canon-McMillan (18-0) is likely to get the No. 1 spot.
"Our goal was to get a section title," said McCutcheon, who notched his pin with a chicken-wing maneuver. "Now, the next step is to get the second seed for the playoffs. Canon-McMillan is tough."