DALLAS – Lake-Lehman has pulled off big wins this season over Wyoming Valley Conference Division II foe Meyers, District 4 power Wyalusing and District 2 Class 3A contender Wallenpaupack.
But all those wins wouldn't have meant much if the Black Knights couldn't defeat Back Mountain rival Dallas.
Even though the Mountaineers and Black Knights split the 10 contested bouts, Lehman took advantage of a coaching mistake by Dallas' Mike Richards and pulled out a 31-28 victory in a WVC crossover match.
Dallas is our biggest rivalry and this is the greatest time of the year right now, said Lehman's returning state qualifier Austin Harry. I was talking to the guys before the match and said ‘This is the biggest match of the year.'
To me this is even bigger then the district final because it's such a big rivalry and it's so important to me.
At the beginning of the dual that started at 152 pounds, Richards sent out Jesse Goode to wrestle Lehman's Tommy Williams. Because of the two-pound allowance that begins every January, Goode wasn't eligible to participate at that weight because he weighed in at 140.0 pounds and was only allowed to wrestle at either 138 or 145.
So the Black Knights received six points for a disqualification. Goode needed to weight 140.1 pounds or more to be eligible for 152.
Richards was very hard on himself after the dual.
My guys did what they had to do. … I told the guys that I pin the loss on my shoulders not on them, Richards said. I'm just disappointed that I didn't put my guys in position to do what they had to do to win. You wrestle that 152 match and anything happens. At least then the match is decided by what happens on the mat not necessarily by what happens with a coaching mistake.
That's where I'm very disappointed in myself that I didn't give them a better chance of winning … but we gave them six points we didn't have to give them so I made a mistake on that.
On the mat, the teams went toe-to-toe with just three matches being bonus-point victories. Each team had a major decision and the decider was a fall by Harry in 54 seconds at 132 pounds.
The victory by Harry pushed the junior's record to 23-0 on the season as he is one of just four unbeatens remaining in the entire WVC. It also gave the Black Knights (2-0 Division II, 13-3 overall) a 28-25 lead with just two bouts left.
After Harry's fall, Lehman's Josh Sayre held on for a 3-1 decision against Cole Dixon to push the team's lead to 31-25. That meant Dallas' Steve Mingey had to pin Josh Winters at 145 to give the Mountaineers (2-1 Division I, 4-11 overall) a chance.
Mingey, a senior, appeared to have the junior Winters in position to pull out a fall a few different times, but just couldn't get the turn he needed and had to settle for a 7-0 victory.
It's hard to pin a kid who knows his job is not to get pinned, Richards said. Winters has been around long enough that he knows how to stay off his back. Mingey just gave a great effort and did the best he could. I can't be disappointed in him.
Perhaps the most anticipated match of the night came at 285 pounds with Dallas' Ryan Monk taking on Lehman's Dustin Jones. The two football players, who have combined for 30 wins this season, were squared up at 2-2 in the third period before Monk managed an escape midway through the stanza to pull out a 3-2 win.
An overtime match at 160 also caused some excitement inside Dallas' gym when the Mountaineers' Zach Macosky was rewarded a point for stalling to take a 2-1 win over Bobby Wright in the extra session.
Zeb McMillan had an overtime win for the Black Knights, netting a takedown early in the sudden victory period to defeat Jimmy Caffrey 6-4.
Derek Dragon (170) won with a major decision at 170 for the Black Knights while Dallas' lone bonus-point victory was a major decision from Aaron Klimovich at 120.
Lake-Lehman 31, Dallas 28
106 – Rebecca Wright (LL) won by forfeit; 113 – Dominic DeGraba (Dal) won by forfeit; 120 – Aaron Klimovich (Dal) maj dec John Tomasura 14-4; 126 – Zeb McMillan (LL) dec Jimmy Caffrey 6-4; 132 – Austin Harry (LL) pinned Adam Litchkowski :54; 138 – Josh Sayre (LL) dec Cole Dixon 3-1; 145 – Steve Mingey (Dal) dec Josh Winters 7-0; 152 – Tommy Williams (LL) DQ forfeit Jesse Goode; 160 – Zach Macosky (Dal) dec Bobby Wright 2-1, OT; 170 – Derek Dragon (LL) maj dec Logan Brace 11-3; 182 – Kris Roccograndi (Dal) won by forfeit; 195 – Brady Butler (LL) dec Connor Martinez 14-7; 220 – Mark Michno (Dal) dec Phil Hettes 5-2; 285 – Ryan Monk (Dal) dec Dustin Jones 3-2
Note: Match started at 152 pounds.
Berwick scored its first divisional win of the season as it won all bout four bouts in a meet at Hazleton Area.
With his win by decision at 152, Berwick's Kevin Laubach now stands at 28-0 on the season, the most wins of any of the four Wyoming Valley Conference's undefeated wrestlers.
Troy Hernandez (120), Josh Gregory (132) and Tyler Ohl (220) all added pins for the Bulldogs.
Jeremy Vopava (113), Larry Romanchik (126) and Taylor Schermerhorn (195) all won via fall for the Cougars.
106 – Dakota Conner (BER) dec. Kienan Dalessandro, 10-6; 113 – Jeremy Vopava (HAZ) pinned Aaron Preston 3:17; 120 – Troy Hernandez (BER) pinned Nick Kairewich, 3:00; 126 – Larry Romanchick (HAZ) pinned Andrew Woznock, 3:10; 132 – Josh Gregory (BER) pinned Gerardo Aquino, 1:07; 138 – Brandon Hughes (BER) won by forfeit; 145 – Peter Talanca (BER) dec. Hernan Aquino, 8-2; 152 – Kevin Laubach (BER) dec. Daniel Bove, 7-1; 160 – Adam Fredmund (HAZ) dec. Zach Kyttle, 7-2; 170 – Trent Kowalski (BER) dec. Derek Spachman, 4-1; 182 – William Masteller (BER) def. Steven Longazel, won by default; 195 – Taylor Schermerhorn (HAZ) pinned Chris Erickson, 1:25; 220 – Tyler Ohl (BER) pinned Dewel Tejeda, 4:38; 285 – Ryan Dooley (BER) dec. Shawn Cartwright, 2-1.