Crown-ing achievment for Waynesburg

January 22, 2013

WAYNESBURG – The one constant in Alex Crown’s college wrestling career is consistency.

He constantly makes opposing coaches wince with the way he tears apart his opponents.

Crown, a 133-pound senior, chalked up a 17-1 technical fall over Josh Tropp in the second bout of Tuesday night’s dual meet against Washington & Jefferson at Marisa Fieldhouse. It was an important win because Jacob Spearman had just given W&J a 4-0 lead with an 11-0 major decision over Gordon Bieber.

Crown’s technical fall stopped W&J’s momentum, and Waynesburg got some key wins in the heavier weights to take a 29-13 victory in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference dual meet.

The win moved the Yellow Jackets to 1-0 in the conference and 4-8 overall. Washington & Jefferson fell to 0-2 in the conference and 1-5 overall.

“He’s getting healthy,” said Waynesburg head coach Ron Headlee. “He’s been working hard.”

The dual meet was stopped at the midway point so Crown could receive a plaque for getting his 100th career victory. He is the first wrestler since Headlee took over the program for the 2008-09 season to reach 100 victories. Ken Laird, who wrestled for Bentworth, has the school record of 107. With six more events left before the regional tournament at Ohio Northern Feb. 1, Crown should set the record if he stays healthy.

“I’ve been counting it down since the beginning of the year,” said Crown. “It’s something I wanted to get.”

Crown also is eager for the regional tournament because he missed last year’s when he became dehydrated and was hospitalized the day Waynesburg left for the event. That disappointment stayed with him, especially since he was a returning fourth-place finisher in NCAA Division III and an All-American.

“My kidneys were starting to shut down,” Crown said. “I was pretty sick. I was in the hospital for the day while they gave me fluids. Now, I feel good at 133.”

Crown, who has a 101-25 career record, got his 100th victory in the finals of the Mount St. Vincent Invitational by medical default.

Crown had one of Waynesburg’s seven victories against W&J, but the Yellow Jackets could not break out until Anthony Bonaventura took a 13-2 major decision from Eric Kohr at 174 that put Waynesburg up 17-13. Cody Catalina got a forfeit to make it 23-13, and Marty Kisla, a graduate of Chartiers-Houston, finished the dual meet with a 1-0 decision over Karl Hiss at heavyweight.

“This is a good young group,” Headlee said. “We have 10 guys on our injured list, and that really hurts you.”

Among those hurting are heavyweight Brandon Fedorka, who has a back injury; and three others who have had major knee surgery: Luke Lohr (149), Kyle Seaman (125) and Levi Hosselrode (141).

Headlee has a lineup heavy on Washington-Greene County wrestlers: Sam Lombardo (Canon-McMillan) started at 157, Sam Guidi (Fort Cherry) at 165, Catalina (Beth-Center) at 184 and Kisla at heavyweight. Four others – Matt Dates and Patrick Jennings of Trinity, Greg Kumer of Fort Cherry and Ryan Mayfield of Jefferson-Morgan – are reserves.

“With all those injuries, we’re still right there,” said Headlee. “That tells you that you have depth.”

Depth is something head coach Tom Prairie needs at W&J. The Presidents were forced to forfeit at 197 because of injuries. Prairie, in his second season, brought in 15 freshmen and is hoping to match that in the next recruiting class.

“We have six of our 10 starters who are freshmen,” said Prairie. “We’re starting to rebuild. If we bring in another class like this, we’ll be competitive.”

The Presidents fought hard and kept the lead for a while, but Waynesburg had too much talent. Trevor Meyers had the most unusual win of the three by W&J. He trailed Jake Vitolo 10-0 in their 141-pound bout. But Meyers caught Vitolo in a headlock and pinned him in 6:26.

The other wins for the Presidents came from Spearman and Josh Etzel, who beat Lombardo 5-2 at 157.

“It’s a learning process (for the freshmen),” Prairie said. “It feels like they are wrestling four high school seasons. We’ll try to keep them healthy and keep going.”

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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