Four wrestlers find gold at regional tournament
JOHNSTOWN – How many points does it take to be a wrestling champion?
For John Demaske, it took four in the third period.
For Mike Carr, it took only one, but he scored five anyway.
For Jared Walker, it took two and they came eight seconds into the third period.
For Jake Temple, it took only one and all he had to do was hold on for dear life.
Those four Washington-Greene County wrestlers came into the PIAA Class AA Southwest Region Tournament Saturday in Johnstown to make their points and each left with a gold medal around their necks.
Demaske, a senior from Jefferson-Morgan, won the 126-pound weight class by outscoring Patrick Dewitt of Valley 3-0 in the third period to take a 4-2 victory.
Carr, a sophomore from South Fayette, shut out John Andrejcik of Burrell 5-0 to capture the 132-pound weight.
Walker, a junior from South Fayette, matched Carr’s feat by also shutting out his opponent, Levi Niebauer of Cambria Heights, 2-0 at 160 pounds.
And Temple, a senior from Avella, rode out Reynold Maines of West Branch, to win a 3-2 decision in an ultimate tiebreaker and repeat as champion.
“We were both undefeated,” said Temple. “It feels good to put that No. 1 in his loss column.”
The top five wrestlers in each weight class advanced to the PIAA Championships, which begin Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey. Fifteen area wrestlers advanced to the tournament, including Jason Miller (138), and Bill Bowlen (170) of Jefferson-Morgan and Austin McDermitt (113) of Burgettstown, who each finished as regional runner-up in their respective weight class.
Temple decisioned Cody Jacobs of West Greene in last year’s final, but appeared to be in trouble heading into the fourth and final overtime period, tied 2-2 with Maines and forced to ride him for 30 seconds to win. But Temple locked up the head of Maines twice and was able to ride him out for the victory.
“I was trying to ride him as much as I could,” said Temple, who is 39-0 and one of four undefeated wrestlers in District 7’s Class AA. The other three are Demaske (40-0), Carr (40-0) and Jason Nolf, a two-time state champion from Kittanning, who became only the fifth wrestler in the history of the tournament to win four titles. His pin of Burrell’s Corey Falleroni in 2:58 pushed his record to 40-0.
Demaske had an escape and takedown in the third period, then rode Dewitt for the final 1:23. Demaske lost a 4-1 decision to Greg Bulsak of South Park in last year’s 126-pound finals. The situation changed this year. Demaske won, and Bulsak ended up being eliminated after a loss in the 152 consolations.
“Usually, I’m a little slow in the first period,” said Demaske, who did not get his first point until an escape near the end of the second period. “If I get a takedown, I know I’ll be all right.”
Demaske went into the match with a slightly torn muscle in his shoulder, but it did not see to affect him.
“This was a big achievement for me,” he said, “especially since I was not at full strength.”
Carr dominated Andrejcik, beating him for the fourth straight time.
“The first score was big, because the last time we wrestled, I didn’t get a takedown until overtime,” said Carr. “Going into the second period with a 2-0 lead, I fed off that.”
Walker is not a scoring machine, but when you shut out opponents, you don’t need many. And none were scored until his third-period takedown produced a third-straight shutout in the tournament.
“A lot of my matches go that way,” he said, “so I’m not worried (about not scoring).”
Jefferson-Morgan needed one more win in the finals to capture the team title, but Miller and Bowlen each were pinned at 138 and 170, respectively. The Rockets had 90 team points, nine fewer than first-place Burrell.
Wentzel pinned Miller for the second straight weekend, nearly pinning him at the end of the first period, but the buzzer saved the J-M senior. Wentzel put him in a cradle and pinned him at 3:50.
Bowlen was pinned by Corey Hazey of Penns Valley in 3:05 and is now 39-4.
McDermitt had a strong tournament up until the final, where Austin Griffiths of Southmoreland dominated for a 7-1 decision. Griffiths beat McDermitt 4-2 for third place at 106 in the tournament last year, but McDermitt shut Griffiths out 6-0 in last week’s WPIAL finals.
“It was a bad day,” McDermitt said. “I felt I couldn’t get anything going (against him).”
Jefferson-Morgan’s Brendan Howard, who was third in the WPIALs last week and a state qualifier last year, was eliminated from the tournament with a 6-4 loss to Collin Glorioso of Huntingdon in the fifth-place bout.