Friday, July 11, 2014

Inclement weather could hinder wrestlers

January 07. 2014 11:33PM

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Not everyone knows that when schools are cancelled for the day due to inclement weather, most school districts in the Wyoming Valley Conference don’t allow athletic events or practices to be held.

With eight WVC wrestling teams in action today, that means wrestlers had to be disciplined and watch their weight on Tuesday, or they risk not making weight for tonight’s meets.

“It’s tough to try to get any consistent weight plans going with delays and especially cancellations going, so we try to encourage them to get out on their own,” Lake-Lehman coach Tom Williams said. “Some of them go to a gym on their own if they can and their parents allow that. But our school, like many others, you can’t do anything when school is cancelled.”

So far this season, that’s happened more times than coaches would have liked. Weather even hindered the conference tournament this past weekend. Williams and his squad ran into another situation earlier this season when they missed the Catasauqua Duals due to weather issues. Luckily, he was able to get another event on the schedule to make up for the lost matches as Lehman heads to the South Williamsport Tournament this weekend.

One positive, though, is that over the last few years, the PIAA made a rule change giving wrestlers an extra pound allowance when school’s are closed the day before a meet. With the two-pound allowance that kicked in late last month, that means weights will be three pounds higher today than the actual weight class.

With no school Tuesday, another concern for Williams is that he and his team take on Meyers tonight in a key WVC Division II dual in Wilkes-Barre.

Even though Lehman finished in fifth at the conference tournament to Meyers’ 12th place, the Mohawks defeated Tunkhannock last month by three points. Before the season started, the Tigers were predicted to challenge two-time defending division champ Lake-Lehman for the division crown.

“Meyers is always a concern,” Williams added. “They had a full lineup and did a great job with Tunkhannock and I hope to see the same thing when we go down there. We’re struggling with a full lineup and they have one so that’s always going to be a struggle.”

Nation’s best could meet

While there are many dual meets taking place in District 2 this weekend, you might want to venture down to District 3 territory on Saturday to the York Expo Center.

That’s where the NHSCA Final Four Festival is being held and two of the top teams in the country are on track to possibly square off in the finals.

Wyoming Seminary, the fifth-ranked team in the nation according to WIN Magazine, and rival Blair Academy (No. 1) are placed in opposite pools of the tournament and if all goes as planned they will square off in the finals. The two programs were in the event last year as well, but Sem was upset in the semifinals as Blair won the event for the seventh straight year.

The Bucs are led by the top-ranked wrestler in the nation at 138 in Joey McKenna and have five other grapplers nationally-ranked by WIN. The Blue Knights consist of three ranked wrestlers in Nick Reenan (152), Chris Weiler (160) and Jake Scanlan (285).

Three other local teams are set to compete at the event in Wyoming Valley West, Tunkhannock and Benton. Tunkhannock is in Pool A and will see Blair in pool play, along with Bishop McDevitt. The Spartans will wrestle in Pool C along with John Carroll, from Maryland, and Dallastown. Benton and Wyoming Seminary are in Pool F together and are set to battle at 9 a.m. Saturday. In that pool also is Pennsbury and East Stroudsburg South.

Once pool play wraps up, the quarterfinals are scheduled for 1:40 p.m. with the finals set to follow at 3 p.m. and the finals at 4:40.

Connected to Benton

Although it wrestles in District 4, Benton is closer geographically to Wilkes-Barre than many District 2 programs. And not only that, but since they are only about 10 minutes from Northwest Area, the Tigers have a co-operational program with the Rangers, who participate in the Wyoming Valley Conference in just about every other sport. Therefore, periodically, we will report updates on the Tigers. Here’s the latest:

Currently on the Tigers’ roster from Northwest are juniors Marcus Welliver and Logan Womelsdorf. Womelsdorf, who played quarterback for the Rangers’ football team, is a returning state qualifier and has a 12-5 mark so far this season, while Welliver has not seen any action yet.

There are other local connections in junior Dominic Vitale and freshman Anthony Vitale. Both were part of Hanover Area’s program in 2012 before transferring. Dominic Vitale is 16-5 this season, while Anthony, who won the WVC Junior High Tournament as a seventh-grader in 2012, is 9-4.

Benton, 4-1 in dual meets this season, is led by senior 160-pounder Jeric Kasunic, a two-time state placewinner, who is 13-3 so far in 2013-14.

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