Saturday, July 26, 2014

Possibility for expansion exists

February 03. 2014 12:04AM
By Dave Rosengrant

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Prior to the District 2 Duals Tournament, there was controversy about Tunkhannock being snubbed from the Class 3A event and Dallas getting one of the wild card berths.

That brought up the idea of expanding the tournament. And now that the tourney is being held at one site, on one day, that may be more of a possibility for the future. But if there is possibly going to be more teams added, there are plenty of things that have to be figured out first.

Like how many teams would be added? The obvious answer is that one extra team is added in each classification. This season, Dallas could’ve wrestled Tunkhannock for the right to get in to the 3A event. In 2A, Nanticoke and Hanover Area could’ve wrestled for the final wild card spot.

OK, now how about a time, day and venue? In the perfect scenario, one place for two duals would be ideal. But to stick with this year’s possibilities, Nanticoke, Hanover Area or Tunkhannock could have hosted on Friday. Dallas High School was the site for a boys basketball game that night, while Hanover and Tunkhannock were free of varsity sports. Nanticoke had a nonconference home wrestling meet against Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech.

That all sounds like a good plan, but it’s just an idea to be considered by the committee, which has been open to change in the past. After all, the members did change venues for both district tournaments this season, and also made the wild cards open to teams from either league instead of specifying that one wild card from the Lackawanna League and WVC be represented.

“We’ve talked about (expansion). It’s one of those things where some years you have more Triple-A teams than Double-A that really are qualified to make the tournament,” District 2 wrestling chair Jay Starnes said. “I think we’ve found in the past that eight is a good representative number. We have looked at where we could have a pigtail round for a round of 16. It’s been talked about for sure.”

Having just one preliminary match is not something new. In 2010, Berwick and West Scranton had a wrestle-in dual for the right to go against top-seeded Delaware Valley. That was a little different scenario because an extra mat was added at Pittston Area. But it still shows it can be done in the future.

WVC back on top?

In 34 previous finals between Class 2A and 3A, Wyoming Valley Conference teams went head-to-head in the finals 14 times and has been represented in the finals all 34 times. It’s happened less most recently since Delaware Valley and Western Wayne have held strangleholds on the 3A and 2A titles.

So when Pittston Area knocked off the Warriors in Saturday’s 3A semis, is that an indication that the WVC is ready to get a commanding advantage again?

“I would like to say ‘yeah the Wyoming Valley Conference is really making a huge statement’, but in reality it could’ve been West Scranton and Del Valley in the finals on a different day,” Pittston Area coach James Woodall said. “The top four teams, they’re the top four teams, but it all depends on who shows up what kids do well. Everyone has those kids on their team that could do awesome or not do so well. On a different day it could’ve gone a different way.”

Milestones on the horizon

Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry went 3-0 on Saturday and currently has 143 career wins as he closes in on becoming just the eighth wrestler in District 2 history with 150 wins.

The seventh member joined the club over the weekend when Delaware Valley’s Jalen Palmer went 4-0.

Pittston Area’s Tyler Lutecki is closing in on the 100-win milestone. After going 3-0 on Saturday, the senior now has 97 career wins.

The armory was a hit

No matter where you were on Saturday at the Kingston Armory, you would’ve heard, fans, parent, wrestlers or coaches praising the district and the facility on a job well done.

It was just a test drive for the individual tournaments to be held later this month, so some things need to be taken care of, but overall there were really no complaints.

“I like that you get to see some of your friends, you get to see other teams,” Wyoming Valley West junior Cody Cordes said. “I kinda like when it’s all one day. You don’t have that double weigh-in. I like when it’s all one day and you get over with.”

Lending a hand

Not all Wyoming Valley Conference teams participated in the duals event because they didn’t qualify. But that didn’t mean they were just going to sit home.

Wrestlers, coaches and patrons of many of those schools were seen helping out in some way whether it was rolling up mats, keeping score or other doing other errands that are an important piece of helping a tournament run smoothly.

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