School: Wyoming Valley West
Weight class: 145-152 pounds
All in the family: James lives with his grandparents, James and Catherine Donovan of Edwardsville. He has two sisters, Kaitlin and Courtney.
Statistically speaking: Donovan won all three of his matches Saturday while leading Valley West to the District 2 Class 3A team duals title. He started with a 10-5 victory in the 152-pound match in the quarterfinal round against Scranton, followed that with a second-period pin at 145 against West Scranton in the semifinals and needed just 39 seconds to record another pin at 145 in the championship match against Pittston Area.
Rising from his falls: Producing victories the way Donovan did for his Spartans team is impressive enough, but the way the first-year Valley West starter accomplished them carried both him and his team to new heights. With Valley West needing a pin to keep the team’s dream of a spot in the state team championships alive, Donovan came through by dropping his West Scranton opponent in 3:45 in the final match of the semifinals to lift Valley West to an improbable 36-34 victory. His Spartans fell behind again in the championship match against Pittston Area, but Donovan reversed their fortunes in that one, too. His 39-second pin gave Valley West a 31-29 lead, and the Spartans never trailed again on their way to Hershey with a 41-29 victory over Pittston Area.
Coach’s corner: “In the semis, he had a pin to win against a tough kid,” Valley West coach Drew Feldman said. “You know, I had confidence in him when he went out. He went there and pinned him. He’s been in the program a really long time, just stuck behind great athletes. He got his opportunity this year and really took advantage of it. A great kid, hard worker, very dedicated kid. He does whatever we ask of him — goes up, down (in weight class). Just a really good kid.”
Did you know? Donovan enjoys spending his spare time gathering with his friends to play video games.
From his angle: “A lot of pressure,” Donovan said he felt while walking into his semifinal match knowing he needed to pin his opponent to advance Valley West to the district championship match, adding he believes he handled it, “Pretty well, I think. I went out (in the champi0nship) and pinned almost the same way, because it was a close match. I felt real good.”
Week in review: It appears Dallas is warming up to get right in the swim of things during district competition later this month, as the Mountaineers boys swim team had two competitors sweep all eight events they entered over two meets last week. Pat Gelso and Erza Moore both teamed up on the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams against Wyoming Seminary and Hanover Area. Gelso won the sprint events, the 50 and 100 freestyle, in both meets, and Moore took firsts in the 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke both nights. Wyoming Valley West standout Ed Zawatski set school and pool records by swimming a 51.75 in the 100 back against Lake-Lehman. He also won the 500 freestyle and swam on the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams, then was a three-time winner in Valley West’s victory over Lake-Lehman. Hazleton Area’s Randy Pineda won four times in a team victory over Hanover Area, capturing both sprint events and pacing both 200 relay teams to victory. …
A little more Dallas domination came in the girls swimming pool, where Kaylin Augustine, Lauren Finnegan and Amanda Schulefman each produced four victories in a win over Wyoming Seminary. They made up three-quarters of the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams. Finnegan won the 50 free and 100 free, Shulefman took the 200 free and 500 free, and Augustine captured the 200 IM and 100 butterfly. Meanwhile, Wyoming Valley West’s Chelsea Mackiewicz won the 50 free, 100 breaststroke and swam on the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams in a victory over Hanover Area. Her teammate, Felicia Britton, won on those same relay teams against Lake-Lehman, and also captured the 50 freestyle and 500 freestyle in her four-win evening. …
Sal Biasi made sure Hazleton Area kept winning on the boys basketball court. He hit for 37 points in a victory over Pittston Area, and put up 29 more against Coughlin. How many points did Isaiah Francis score for GAR? Well, try 1,000 for his career, a milestone the smooth shooter hit during a 25-point night in a victory over Hanover Area. Tunkhannock’s Austin Yanora scored 34 points in a victory over Wyoming Valley West, and Pittston Area needed 32 points from Mason Gross to down Dallas in a game where the Mountaineers got 25 points from Chad DeBona. …
But Holy Redeemer’s Alexis Lewis outscored them all on the girls basketball court, dropping 40 points in a victory over GAR after she scored 24 to help the Royals keep rolling with a victory over Nanticoke. Lake-Lehman’s Miranda Pace helped the Black Knights, well, keep pace, with 30 points in a victory over MMI Prep. And Northwest’s Kelsey Yustat scored 30 points against Wyoming Seminary — which pulled off the victory in that game behind Gabbie Volpetti’s 29 points. And hard-charging Hanover Area upended Meyers when Asdone Hooper tossed in 29 points. …
Lake-Lehman’s wrestling team was edged out in the District 2 Class 2A finals, but not without a big tournament by a trio of Black Knights. Their 182-pounder Brady Butler put down three pins in his last three matches, including a 39-second win against Wyoming Area in the semifinals and a 51-second pin against Nanticoke Area in the quarterfinals. Lehman’s 285-pounder Justin Winters also had three pins, including a 32-second strike in the semifinals against Wyoming Area. And at 145, Austin Harry had two pins and a 17-3 major decision in the semifinals. Pittston Area’s Tyler Lutecki stepped up in the Class 3A district tournament with a 52-second pin at 126 of the finals, a 12-5 decision against Delaware Valley in the semifinals and a technical fall at 1:29 of the quarterfinals against Wallenpaupack. Meyers got a big effort from 182-pounder Tracy Cistrunk, who recorded pins in 25 seconds in the third-place match, 48 seconds in the semifinals and a 17-2 technical fall in the quarterfinals of the district 2A tournament. He teammate Colin Pasone recorded a 25-second pin at 106 in the district semifinals. Wyoming Area’s 126-pounder Charles Johnson became a quick-pinning machine in the Class 2A district tournament, dropping his opponents in 31 seconds of the quarterfinals, 47 seconds in the semifinals and in just 18 seconds of the third-place match. His Warriors teammate Kenny Beyer picked up a 17-second pin in the third-place match and recorded another pin in the district Class 2A quarterfinals. Also, Pat Heck gave Wyoming Area some steady wrestling at 120, picking up two pins and a decision through the final three bouts of the tourney. Wyoming Area’s Frank Yurek dropped his 285-pound opponent in 20 seconds of the quarters.