MONONGAHELA – Jason Stay lives for these wrestling tournaments.
That’s because the midweek dual meets are not much fun or competitive with only nine wrestlers on the roster. That leads to a lot of forfeits and little mat time.
Stay, a 145-pound sophomore from Beth-Center, had one of the few upsets in the first two rounds of the Tri-CADA Wrestling Tournament at Ringgold High School Friday night.
Stay edged Washington’s George Rogers, the No. 2 seed in the weight class, 6-5, in the quarterfinals and moves into today’s semifinals, which begin at 10:30 a.m. Finals are at 2:30 p.m.
Peters Township holds the team lead after the first day with 78.5 points. Chartiers-Houston is second with 72, followed by Waynesburg at 68. McGuffey and Trinity are tied for fourth with 63 points.
Stay entered the tournament unseeded but began the tournament with an 11-0 major decision over John Dennis of Albert Gallatin. Rogers opened with a 17-1 technical fall over Ethan Tush of Bentworth.
“I wrestled (Rogers) before a couple years back in the Area IV tournament and beat him in the finals,” said Stay. “I had a feeling we would both win our first match. We just wrestled Wash High Wednesday, but they bumped him up a weight.”
Stay took a 2-0 lead after one period with a late takedown. The second period was wild with Rogers taking a 3-2 lead on an escape and reversal before Stay got it back on another reversal. The period ended with the match tied, 5-5. Rogers let Stay go in the third and couldn’t get the winning takedown.
“Getting the first takedown was big,” said Stay. “I knew I would have a good chance to win the match if I got the first takedown.”
Tanner Sutton of Chartiers-Houston is hoping to become the tournament’s first four-time champion if he can survive two more bouts at 145 pounds. Sutton had two pins that took a combined 6:01.
Burgettstown’s Austin McDermitt was surprised when he was seeded third at 106 pounds, especially since he defeated the top seed, Brendan Howard of Jefferson-Morgan, 8-0, in the semifinals of the Southmoreland Tournament.
McDermitt had two pins in this tournament’s first day to move into the semifinals against No. 2 seed Brendan Price of Canon-McMillan. Howard decisioned Gage Nicolella of McGuffey, 10-3, to reach the semifinals.
“I was a little confused when I saw the bracket,” said McDermitt, who is 13-1. “I have a tough match in the semifinals instead of the finals. It’s not a bad weight class. I felt I could get to the finals, top three or four for sure.”
Avella’s Jake Temple was eager for a match against Canon-McMillan’s Alex Campbell in the 220-pound weight class, but Campbell was one of six Big Macs to scratch because of injuries, flu or both.
Campbell originally was the top seed and Temple the second. When Campbell pulled out, Temple moved to No. 1 and Rich Heinzelman of Ringgold settled into the No. 2 seed in the redrawn weight class.
Temple got the finals with a pin in seven seconds against Will Van Norman of West Greene. It was the quickest pin of his varsity career. His fastest career pin came in five seconds in the youth program at Avella.
“I was looking forward to wrestling Campbell,” said Temple, a defending champion with a 13-1 record. “You always want to wrestle kids who are good. That’s what gets you better.”
Temple takes on Christian Phelps of Peters Township, a 7-4 winner over McGuffey’s Ryan Steinstraw, in the semifinals. Third-seeded Josh Kraushaar of Chartiers-Houston takes on Ryan Pendeville of Burgettstown in the other semifinal match.
“I didn’t scout him,” said Temple. “I don’t really watch too many other wrestlers.”
Other Canon-McMillan wrestlers not competing were defending state champion Cody Wiercioch, who injured his thumb in Wednesday’s dual meet against Fort Lebeouf; Connor Schram, who is was nursing a sore shoulder; heavyweight Anthony Broglia, who was banged up from the Fort Lebeouf match; and William Pihiou, who was suffering with the flu and nursing injuries. Campbell was one of three 220-pounders who were scratched.
Another notable absence was John Demakse of Jefferson-Morgan, who was injured.