HERSHEY — Looking at the scoreboard, you would think Wyoming Valley West was thrashed by Boyertown in the opening round of the PIAA Team Championships on Thursday night at the Giant Center.
But the 50-18 win by the second-ranked team in the state got the Spartans feeling good for the remainder of the double-elimination tournament.
That’s because District 2 Class 3A champion Valley West made a valiant comeback attempt after trailing 29-0 early to trim Boyertown’s lead to 17 points before coming up short.
The Spartans also got wins from their top wrestlers as returning state qualifier Travis Roper (132 pounds) picked up a win via technical fall, Nathan Cheek (145) won via major decision and Cody Cordes (160) defeated Gregg Harvey, a highly-ranked sophomore in the state.
“I’m very happy with the overall team effort. We didn’t roll over. We came and fought,” Spartans coach Drew Feldman said. “We won a few matches against a team that’s probably going to be in the state finals. If we wrestle like this (today) I think we’re going to make some noise and be around for awhile.”
Perhaps the most impressive victory for Valley West came once again from James Donovan at 152. The senior, who picked up two big pins in the District 2 Duals Tournament last weekend, came through again on Thursday with a fall at 152 as he got his opponent in a headlock and pinned his shoulders to the mat in 2:50 for the Spartans’ lone fall of the match.
“He’s a machine. That kid, honestly, I don’t even know what to say to him anymore,” Feldman added. “He’s just stunning me more and more. He’s just hitting and clamping, boom, going into different moves. He’s wrestling like a man possessed. If he keeps wrestling like that, he’ll be back here too in less than a month.”
Valley West will try to stay alive this morning at 10 in a match against D4 champ Jersey Shore, a 60-6 loser to Latrobe in Thursday’s action. The Spartans are attempting to become the first Wyoming Valley Conference Class 3A team to win a meet at the PIAA Team Championships in the 18-year history of the tournament. And it comes against a team that Valley West is fairly familiar with. Jersey Shore participated in the Northeast Regional Tournament until moving last season. The Bulldogs had just one win against Latrobe as 106-pounder Hunter Zondory won via fall. Shore also gave up two forfeits and another six points due to an injury.
The winner of today’s first-round consolation match wrestles again at 6 p.m. and the loser is eliminated.
“It’s my job to keep them focused and make sure they’re ready to go,” Feldman said. “We can’t be happy just being down here. We have to come out and get this win. We have to wrestle like we just did. They (Jersey Shore) just lost 60-6 and probably down in the dumps right now. We just have to come focused and ready to go.”
Wildcats fall in first round
District 2 Class 2A champion Western Wayne dropped its first dual at states Thursday afternoon, falling to Brookville 54-12.
Richard Sherman (170) and Austin Swoyer (220) won via decision for the Wildcats, while Tanner Gillette earned a pin. Western Wayne will try to stave off elimination when it wrestles Burrell at 8 a.m. today.
* * *
Boyertown 50, Wyoming Valley West 18
106 —Jakob Campbell (Boy) pinned Wayne Smith :56; 113 — David Campbell (Boy) dec James Wright 9-4; 120 — Garrett Mauger (Boy) maj dec Alex Tirko 11-0; 126 — Lucas Miller (Boy) pinned Bobby Lipski 3:37; 132 — Travis Roper (WVW) tech fall Chris Berry 18-3, 6:00; 138 — Eddie Kriczky (Boy) pinned Jon Lagoski 1:06; 145 — Nathan Cheek (WVW) maj dec Hunter Vogels 16-4; 152 — James Donovan (WVW) pinned Reuben Maldonado 2:50; 160 — Cody Cordes (WVW) dec Gregg Harvey 5-0; 170 —Cody Richmond (Boy) pinned TJ Pashinski :43; 182 — Mike Fretz (Boy) dec Jamaar Taylor 5-1; 195 — William Scholl (Boy) won by forfeit; 220 —Jordan Wentz (Boy) maj dec Ian Moran 11-3; 285 —Jordan Wood (Boy) pinned Matt Dubaskas 1:09
Note: Match started at 220 pounds