PLYMOUTH – Being just one win away from claiming its second straight Wyoming Valley Conference Division I championship, Wyoming Valley West head coach Drew Feldman wanted to reward his team when the goal was achieved.
So he had championship T-shirts printed for his group, in advance of Saturday's division finale against Berwick to present to the squad after the match.
Every piece of wood in this building I knocked on just so you know, Feldman said inside Wyoming Valley West's gym.
Turns out, despite giving up three forfeits, Feldman didn't have anything to worry about as the Spartans cruised to a 50-27 victory over the Bulldogs to claim the division title.
Last season, WVW shared the title with Coughlin. This time around, the Spartans (6-0 Division I, 10-3 overall) have their first outright division championship since winning the West Division in 1999. They also have shirts hot off the presses to remind them of the feat, and now can look ahead to work on their next goal of a District 2 Class 3A Duals title.
Our goal the whole year was get to DelVal in the district finals, the coach said. A straight title, very nice. That was a goal. Feels great to accomplish it.
Berwick (2-4, 11-15) wasn't going to let the Spartans get the victory without a fight. In fact, the Bulldogs held a 21-8 lead after the first six matches and were ahead 21-20 after nine bouts, the furthest into a divisional dual an opponent held a lead against Valley West.
After getting down 21-8 though, the rest of the meet was all Spartans as they reeled off seven consecutive pins to end the dual. The pin fest started with Brandon Baird logging a 51-second fall at 195 over Craig Erickson. Ian Moran (220), Matt Dubaskas (285), James Wright (106), Alex Tirko (113), Kyle Krasavage (126) and Travis Roper (132) all marked pins for Valley West.
The only other points Berwick netted was a forfeit at 120 in between Tirko's and Krasavage's victories.
The forfeit was given up because Jon Lagoski didn't make weight by four-tenths of a pound and was ineligible. The Spartans also forfeited at 170 because a wrestler was taking the SATs and their usual forfeit at 182.
Going into the match knowing we were negative-18 (points) to start – we're happy and it's a great win – but for the program and the standard we want to set, guys coming in day of a match not making weight is unacceptable, Feldman added. For his sake, he better hope he never misses weight again.
The top match of the afternoon was at 145 when Berwick's Kevin Laubach, one just four undefeated wrestlers in the WVC, held on for a tough win over Cody Cordes. Laubach jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first period with a takedown and three back points.
After Cordes managed a reversal in the second period, the score was trimmed to 5-3. Laubach, who is now 30-0 this season, defended Cordes' offensive moves well in the third period while on bottom to secure the victory in the matchup of past district placewinners.
Wyoming Valley West 50, Berwick 27
106 – James Wright (WVW) pinned Dakota Conner 3:16; 113 – Alex Tirko (WVW) pinned Aaron Preston 2:47; 120 – Troy Hernandez (Ber) won by forfeit; 126 – Kyle Krasavage (WVW) pinned Andrew Woznock 3:22; 132 – Travis Roper (WVW) pinned Josh Gregory 3:20; 138 – Nathan Cheek (WVW) maj dec Pete Talanca 14-3; 145 – Kevin Laubach (Ber) dec Cody Cordes 5-3; 152 – Derrick Simms (WVW) maj dec Zack Kyttle 11-3; 160 – Nate Maczuga (Ber) pinned Juan Rajo :51; 170 – Will Masteller (Ber) won by forfeit; 182 – Curtis Whitmire (Ber) won by forfeit; 195 – Brandon Baird (WVW) pinned Chris Erickson :55; 220 – Ian Moran (WVW) pinned Tyler Ohl 5:02; 285 – Matt Dubaskas (WVW) pinned Ryan Dooley 2:57
Note: Match started at 138 pounds.