McDONALD – They posed for pictures and shared about a hundred smiles, the result of one of the most important victories in the history of South Fayette High School wrestling.
These Lions won their first section title in the program’s history Wednesday night in their home gym, in front of a large fan base, and with one of the most amazing victories anyone around here could remember.
When it was all over, South Fayette held a 31-28 victory over Chartiers-Houston in the Section 1 finals.
The win not only came with a trophy, but it assured the Lions of a home match Wednesday in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA Team Tournament. Chartiers-Houston took second place in the section and Burgettstown defeated Ellwood City, 51-15, to capture third place. The brackets are expected to be released this afternoon.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said South Fayette head coach Rick Chaussard. “Our kids really worked hard. It was not about me; it was about them. They gave their blood, sweat and tears for this.”
None of this would have been possible for South Fayette had Jack Previte decided to not come out for the team last week. Previte, a junior, was involved in arguably the most important match of the night when he scored six points in the final 13 seconds to turn what looked like a devastating loss into a 9-7 victory at 170 pounds.
Previte trailed Dylan Shultz-Terling, 4-1, heading into the third period but outscored him 8-3. The final four points came on a combination takedown and two-point nearfall as the buzzer ended the match.
“I didn’t know what was going on around me,” said Previte, who is now 2-0 this season. “I wasn’t sure of the score. I thought it was overtime at least. I don’t ever believe I had a match like that.”
Chartiers-Houston head coach Bill Sutton argued the two backpoints came after the buzzer but referee Mark Pocci waived him back to the bench.
“I thought time was out,” Sutton said. “But Mark said he was sure. No way were there backpoints there. It would have been 7-7, and we should have been going into overtime. Who knows what happens there.”
Previte’s win broke a 19-19 tie and came during the middle of a four-bout winning streak by the Lions that pushed the lead to 31-19. But Chartiers-Houston could still tie the bout with pins in the final two bouts, and more important win the tiebreaker. Garrett Vulcano did his part, sticking Bryce Christoff in 27 seconds to make it 31-25 and in the process set a school record with his 133 victory, one more than Michael Innes. Josh Kraushaar needed a pin but Mike Schildt held him to a 4-1 decision. A pin at heavyweight would have given Chartiers-Houston the win by tiebreaker and taken the sting from a 44-17 loss to South Fayette in the sub-section finale.
“We lost the flip again, and we didn’t get the matchups we wanted at 170 and 182,” Sutton said. “The kids are pretty upset, but as a coach, all you can ask for is effort. They gave us effort and fought, fought, fought.”
Sutton had to feel good when South Fayette’s Adam John pinned himself in 3:03 against Ty Wormsley. John was turning Wormsely for backpoints but let his shoulder go flat on the mat.
“I thought that was the match,” said Chaussard.
Previte saved the day.
“Winning the section title was the driving force for us,” Previte said. “We always kept it in the back of our minds.”
Brandon Keck (138) and Mike Fetchet (182) each had a pin for the Lions, and Wormsley and Vulcano had pins for the Bucs.
Chartiers-Houston defeated Burgettstown, 49-21, and South Fayette routed Ellwood City, 63-3, in the first round of this doubleheader.