Two wrestlers from Lake-Lehman and one each from Dallas and Tunkhannock used the holiday week to put together impressive title-winning efforts.
Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry and Brady Butler and Tunkhannock’s Ben Siegel won titles at the 25-team Tunkhannock Kiwanis Tournament while Ryan Monk of Dallas won a championship at the Conestoga Valley Holiday Classic.
In an era when most wrestling tournament action during the regular season is done in dual-meet formats, Tunkhannock annually hosts the area’s largest event that determines individual weight class champions in the format that will ultimately decide district, state and regional champions. Dallas hit the road to compete in another 25-team tournament.
Although their teams were not ready to contend for championships, Harry, Butler and Siegel each went unbeaten in five bouts while Monk went 4-0 to win his title.
Harry, Butler, Robert Wright and Derek Dragon all reached the Tunkhannock finals to lift Lake-Lehman to sixth place despite getting just two bout wins at the other 10 weight classes in the two-day event.
Lake-Lehman finished as the best of six Wyoming Valley Conference teams and the second-best of 15 teams from District 2 in the event.
Wyalusing won with 211 ½ points, followed by Pocono Mountain East with 199 ½, Princess Anne (Va.) 186 ½, Warren County (N.J.) 151 ½, Scranton 147, Lake-Lehman 116 and Tunkhannock 113 ½.
Harry won at 138 pounds when he followed up two quick pins with a technical fall before pulling out a 5-3 victory over Coughlin’s Bill Poray and a 2-1 overtime win over Pocono Mountain East’s James Palys.
“He was tough on his feet and he did almost get a couple takedowns but I was able to fight them off, defend them and stay on my feet,” Harry, who won the tournament for the third time, told The Times Leader after handing Palys his first loss of the season.
Butler pinned four out of five opponents, including two in the first period, on the way to his 195-pound title. His only decision was a convincing, 10-4 victory over Wyalusing’s Warner Mendoza in the semifinals.
Wright (160) won four times and Dragon (182) three times on the way to the final. Dragon lost a 5-2 decision in the final against Konner Pritchard of Princess Anne.
Siegel followed a first-period pin with three major decisions before shutting out Wyalusing’s Justin Haley, 5-0, in the final at 145.
Tunkhannock also had four other wrestlers place in the tournament, which determined the top six in each weight class.
Sophomores Bill Manley (third at 120), Dakota Quick (fourth at 126), Tom Bachman (fifth at 113) placed, along with Zack Appleby, who was sixth at 160.
Dallas finished right in the middle of the pack at Conestoga Valley, placing 13th with 94 ½ points. Spring Grove outscored Hamburg, 167 ½-143, for the title. Two other WVC teams competed with Pittston Area placing 16th and Crestwood 24th.
Monk needed just 45 seconds to get through the first two rounds at 285 pounds. He added a late pin in the semifinals before beating Mechanicsburg’s Garrett Spiewak, 12-6, in the finals.
Connor Martinez went 4-1 with three pins at 170 pounds to take third for the only other Dallas place finish.
The teams will got another shot at the same format Saturday when Lake-Lehman hosted the Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament.
The Lake-Lehman boys and Dallas girls each won their tournament openers before losing in the championship games.
Lake-Lehman pulled out a 62-59 overtime victory over Holy Redeemer in the semifinals of the 48th annual Robert McGrane Tournament at the Wyoming Valley CYC before losing to Dallas, 55-45, in the Dec. 27 final.
Adam Dizbon made the all-tournament team for Lake-Lehman while Pete Borum received the event’s Sportsmanship Award.
The Black Knights shot 9-for-13 from the foul line in overtime of the semifinal, including 4-for-5 by Borum and 3-for-4 by Dizbon.
Borum finished with a game-high 23 points. Cody Paraschak returned from an injury to score 13 points, all in the second half. Dizbon added 10.
Holy Redeemer rallied from nine down in the fourth quarter, then got two 3-pointers from Darius Washington in overtime. Washington finished with 17 points.
“They kept coming down and hitting long 3s,” said Lake-Lehman coach Brian Cutter “Our kids kept coming back, being patient and getting the ball down low.”
Pittston Area put together two flurries with its running game and kept Lake-Lehman from getting the ball inside in the championship game.
“We haven’t had a whole lot of teams run on us so far,” Cutter said.
Pittston Area went ahead to stay with a 20-5 run during a 6:32 stretch of the first and second quarters. James Emmett, Michael Schwab and Tyler McGarry all hit 3-pointers during the burst to put the Patriots ahead to stay, building a 22-7 advantage.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Mason Gross produced a personal 8-0 run in less than two minutes to finish the third quarter and start the fourth quarter, breaking the game open for good at 46-31. Gross finished with 25 points.
Dizbon scored 17 points and had four assists in the final. Borum added 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots while Mike Symion had 11 points.
Dallas defeated Central Columbia, 46-41, behind Maggie Michael’s 12 points and Samantha Missal’s 10 before losing to host Berwick, 52-44, in the Dec. 28 championship game of the Judy Knorr Tournament.