HERSHEY – South Fayette has made strides as a wrestling program since ending its partnership with Chartiers Valley just over six years ago.
The Lions qualified for their first state team tournament last season and were good enough to make it two in a row despite losing to Burrell in the District 7 championship again.
Now, it’s about winning a match under the bright lights of Giant Center. That is a goal that continues to elude this team after dropping a 43-15 first-round decision to upstart Huntingdon Thursday afternoon.
“Winning is your goal anytime you come here, regardless of how many times you have been here,” Lions head coach Rick Chaussard said. “If you don’t come here to win, there is no reason to show up.
“We just weren’t mentally ready, and that is on me. The kids, for the most part, didn’t look mentally focused.”
The Lions drop to the consolation bracket and will face District 11 runner-up Saucon Valley, which lost to Reynolds, 44-16, at 8 a.m. today.
Plain and simple, Chaussard’s team needs to be better.
The Lions were in arrears from the first whistle. The Bearcats took a quick 8-0 lead when Tyler Scott scored a 17-0 technical fall over Kevin Chaussard at 120, and Matt Wilson decisioned Scott Rzepecki 7-1 at 126.
Michael Carr got the Lions on the board at 132 with a 10-4 decision, but the Bearcats countered with a three-match win streak to bump the lead to 18-3.
“They were solid all the way through,” Chaussard said. “I couldn’t really move away from a kid, because the next kid was just as good. I couldn’t maneuver to get good matchups.”
The Lions had a couple horses left, but they needed bonus points to make an impact on the final result.
Grant Fetchet (160) and Jared Walker (170) earned decisions to close the gap to 18-9, but the Bearcats never wavered.
The District 6 champions put this one out of reach in shot order, winning five of the last six bouts. The big blows were Tyler Morningstar’s (220) fall in 1:52 over Bryce Christoff, and heavyweight Mitchell Lauer sticking Jeremy Carter at 3:28.
Andrew John (106) provided the lone highlight the rest of the way for the Lions, when he pinned John Kline in 50 seconds.
“We are going to go get a bite to eat and get a little work in,” Chaussard said. “They will be in bed early and will have a lot of time to think about this.”