KINGSTON – Jake Vaxmonsky made it to the top of District 2 wrestling.
It wasn’t easy.
Pittston Area’s Vaxmonsky recovered from an early deficit and battled through a tough and active third period to defeat top-seeded Kyle Hartman from Wallenpaupack in the Class AAA 220-pound championship match of the District 2 Wrestling Championships Feb. 21 at the Kingston Armory.
“He’s a great wrestler,” Vaxmonsky said. “It was a tough match. Not once in your mind did you say, ‘I’ve got this.’
“It was always, ‘He stopped that, what can I do now.’”
The Patriots senior (31-3) heads to regionals without a loss to a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association wrestler this season. Two of his losses have come to a New York state wrestler and the other was against Wyoming Seminary, which competes as a prep school in wrestling.
When he hasn’t been posting one of his team-high 15 pins, Vaxmonsky has often won low-scoring decisions. He has not had to come from behind often.
Vaxmonsky kept his composure after giving up a reversal to Hartman and in holding on to his lead late.
“I was as calm as you possibly could be in this type of match,” Vaxmonsky said.
Pittston Area advanced just two wrestlers – from the two highest weight classes – to the Feb. 27-28 Class AAA Northeast Regional in Bethlehem.
Brandon Goodlavage joined Vaxmonsky in qualifying by finishing fourth at 285 pounds.
Vaxmonsky clinched his regional berth in the semifinals with a 12-3 decision of Delaware Valley’s A.J. Sieber. He pinned West Scranton’s Anthony Giordano in 2:45 of the quarterfinals on opening night of the two-day event.
Needing a top-four finish to reach regionals, Goodlavage secured his trip with a 5-3 decision over Coughlin’s Naheem Kenzakoski in the consolation semifinals.
Goodlavage (10-6) won three bouts between a pair of losses to Delaware Valley’s John McCarthy.
McCarthy edged Goodlavage, 3-2, in double overtime in the quarterfinals, then pinned him in 2:20 of the consolation final.
Goodlavage started his road to the consolation final with a pin of Hazleton Area’s Travis Kostyal in 2:10. He then won the first of two close decisions, edging Jon Davis of Abington Heights, 1-0.
Pittston Area scored 46 points to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the Class AAA field.
Delaware Valley edged Scranton, 188-186, for the team title.
None of the other nine Patriots managed to make it to the top six and receive a medal.
Dan Gambini came the closest, winning twice and dropping a one-point decision in the 152-pound consolation quarterfinals with a medal on the line.
Gambini pinned two opponents and lost a pair of decisions to finish his senior season with a 20-15 record, the team’s second-highest win total for the season.