Pittston Area used two big efforts from its smallest wrestlers Tuesday night to turn back a spirited effort from rival Wyoming Area for a 46-27 road win in non-league wrestling.
Wyoming Area held the lead for the entire first half of the match until Pittston Area won the heaviest two weight classes – in the eighth and ninth bouts – to take and build a lead.
When the match cycled back to the lightest weights, the Patriots clinched the win when Chris Starinsky posted a first-period pin at 106 pounds and Zack Meckes followed it up with a technical fall at 113.
“At the point where we started the match, they have some really tough guys and they really wrestled a tough match,” Pittston Area coach James Woodall said.
Pins by Charles Johnson and Kendrick Beyer, Wyoming Area’s two team leaders in wins, at 132 and 138 gave the Warriors the first 12 points.
When Zachary Briggs added another pin at 152 and Jude Polit-Moran used a takedown with 26 seconds left to pull out a one-point decision at 182, the Warriors were able to maintain a 21-19 lead through 195 and the point where they yielded a third forfeit of the night to give up the lead.
Those early efforts allowed Wyoming Area, which went 2-4 in Division 2 of the Wyoming Valley Conference and is 6-17 overall, to keep things interesting with Pittston Area, which was 5-1 in Division 1 of the WVC and improved to 13-9 overall.
“In a few of our matches, we could have looked a little sharper,” Woodall said.
Woodall was not bothered by that because he wants his wrestlers to peak for the start of individual postseason competition beginning with Friday and Saturday’s District 2 Class AAA Tournament at the Kingston Armory.
Starinsky’s effort, in which he did not give up a point and turned Shaun Vasquez twice in 1:54 to get the pin, was important, however.
The sophomore improved to 12-4.
“Starinsky was out for about three weeks with an injury,” Woodall said. “He’s been getting better and better each week.
“Conditioning was a little issue when he first came back, but not too much with him because he’s one of those guys with a big tank anyway.”
Meckes, another sophomore, picked up his 20th win by getting four of the bout’s five takedowns, reversing from bottom in less than 20 seconds twice and turning William Shelley to his back three times. It all added up to a 22-7 technical fall in 4:31.
“He’s having a really good year,” Woodall said. “He’s pretty consistent doing what he has to do to win.”
The team outcome was decided when Wyoming Area sophomore Patrick Heck bumped up to take on Pittston Area senior Tyler Lutecki in a meeting of defending district champions.
Lutecki, who has Pittston Area’s best record this season, scored five points in the first 35 seconds on his way to a 13-3 major decision.
“Tyler wrestled a smart, conservative match,” Woodall said. “I was really impressed with the way Heck went after him, giving up weight and age.”
Pittston Area also got wins from Ryan Joyce and Brandon Goodlavage by major decision; Jonathan Armitage by decision; and Danny Gambini, Kevin Wesolowski and Jake Vaxmonsky by forfeits.
Sharrieff Hale, one of three Wyoming Area wrestlers celebrating Senior Night, had the quickest pin of the match in 38 seconds at 120.
A brief skirmish broke out between a fan and a wrestler following the match Wednesday night, but the teams, police and security were able to quickly separate everyone before the matter escalated.
Pittston Area 46, Honesdale 24
The Patriots netted the victory thanks to the help of pins from Chris Starinsky (106), Hunter Booth (138), Dan Gambini (145), Chris Cummings (182) and Jake Vaxmonsky (220).