Observer-Reporter Athlete of the Week: John Demaske

February 19, 2014

Name: John Demaske

School: Jefferson-Morgan

Class: Senior

Sport: Wrestling

Weight: 126 pounds

Demaske’s week: Demaske accomplished a rare feat for the Rockets this week. How rare? No one can remember the last Jefferson-Morgan wrestler to achieve it since Cary Kolat.

Demaske won the fourth section title of his scholastic career by shutting out Stone Kepple of Derry, 10-0, in the 126-pound finals of the Section 2-AA event at Charleroi.

“I try to work hard in the room,” said Demaske. “I have good workout partners in Brendan Howard, Trevor Kniha and Jason Miller.”

Demaske began the tournament with a 23-8 technical fall over Zach Bixler of Southmoreland and followed it with a pin in 1:59 of Dante Botti of Yough. That put him against Kepple, who came into the bout with a 27-7 record and left at 27-8.

No. 1 seed: Demaske enters the WPIAL Class AA Championships as the top-seeded weight class. Demaske is one of two Jefferson-Morgan wrestlers to get that high a seed. Bill Bowlen is No. 1 at 170.

Other top local seeds are Hunter Neely of Bentworth at 106, Austin McDermitt of Burgettstown at 113, Mike Carr and Jared Walker of South Fayette at 132 and 160, respectively, and Jake Temple of Avella at 220.

“My goal is the same as it’s always been,” said Demaske. “I want to win a state title.”

The two-day event begins at 5:30 p.m., Friday at Charters Valley High School.

The top seven wrestlers in each weight class advance to the PIAA Southwest Region Tournament at the War Memorial in Johnstown.

Lots of zeroes: The three wins in the section tournament put Demaske’s record at 34-0, the lone undefeated wrestler in the section.

He has not allowed a point in the finals of the past three section title bouts. Besides the win over Kepple, Demaske shut out Zach Swarrow of Beth-Center 7-0 and 4-0 in the previous two section finals.

“I’m doing the same things I’ve always done,” Demaske said, “Except I’m getting better at what I’m doing.”

Maybe the most impressive zero of all is that Demaske has not allowed a point scored on him this season, other than the ones he willingly allowed such as in the match against Bixler. Demaske has 19 pins, five wins by technical falls, and seven shutouts.

Demaske is ranked second in the state behind Zeke Moisey of Bethlehem Catholic by Off The Mat.

Getting away: Many wrestlers compete during the summer. Demaske uses it to follow other passions: hunting, fishing and four-wheeling.

“I have eight four-wheelers and six dirt bikes,” said Demaske. “I tend to stay away from wrestling over the summer. I run a lot, about one or two miles a day. There isn’t enough time for all that.”

That changes as the fall hits and wrestling season approaches. No four-wheeling, no dirt bike rides. Time to concentrate on the sport again.

“I’m not allowed out of the house,” Demaske joked.

Compiled by Joe Tuscano



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