D2 wrestling: Mat history made in Class 3A championships

By Dave Rosengrant - For Times Leader
Coughlin’s Darren Clarke (back) works on Scranton’s Bobby Zelinski en route to the 120-pound championship on Saturday. - Fred Adams | For Times Leader
Wyoming Valley West’s J.J. White (top) picks up back points as he turns Crestwood’s Trey Zabroski in the 113-pound finals. White won by technical fall. - Fred Adams | For Times Leader
Tunkhannock’s Tommy Traver (front) gets caught in a cradle by Coughlin’s Jacob Brown in the Class 3A 132-pound championship bout. Traver, however, was able to avoid being pinned to win the title. - Fred Adams | For Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — For the second year in a row, Tommy Traver found himself in the most exciting final of the District 2 Class 3A Championships.

Unlike last year for the Tunkhannock 132-pounder, Saturday turned out to be a much better experience. For the most part.

Traver, a returning state qualifier, was nearly pinned by Coughlin’s Jake Brown in the third period, exciting the near-capacity crowd at the Kingston Armory, before ending the match with a 17-5 major decision to claim his first district title.

“I’m not sure exactly what happened there because it happened so quick. Maybe not enough hand control,” Traver said. “Next thing I knew the whistle blew and I was on my back fighting off.”

Traver took a 10-point lead into the third period over Brown, who started the period on top. Mere seconds into the third, Brown locked Traver in a cradle and had him in trouble. Coughlin wrestlers standing near the mat erupted and hundreds of people focused on the mat looking for a pin.

“I panicked a little bit. I knew I had a big lead and I just had to get off my back and continue scoring points,” Traver said.

Just then, Brown tried to tighten the hold for a pin, but when he did that. Traver found a way to turn out and avoid the fall before winning via major decision.

“I kept feeling his weight changing and his lock changing,” Traver said. “And eventually I was finally able to break the lock and get my head out, and then that’s when right away I knew I had to get out of there. It was a good match overall for both of us.”

While Brown finished shy of winning the gold for the Crusaders, his teammate Darren Clarke made a little history.

Clarke, a freshman, won the 120-pound gold medal beating Scranton’s Bobby Zelinski 5-3 in the final. In winning the gold, Clarke became the first freshman from Coughlin to win a district title since Justin Accordino in 2004. Accordino ended as a four-time district champion and a three-time state qualifier.

Like Accordino did so many times, Clarke won his first two matches with ease via major decision and technical fall before getting challenged in the final.

“I wasn’t really expecting (a district title) coming in, but it’s awesome finally getting it,” Clarke said. “He was a really good wrestler so to be mentioned with him is pretty cool.”

Joining Traver and Clarke as first-time district champions from the Wyoming Valley Conference were Tunkhannock’s David Evans at 106 and Dallas’ Shawn Henninger at 285. Evans defeated Delaware Valley’s Joe Porco by decision in the first final of the afternoon. Henninger capped the tournament with a 3-0 victory over top-seeded David DeGroat from Wallenpaupack.

“I worked hard with coach (Mike) Richards in the summer and right now it’s just a shock, but it all finally came together winning it,” Henninger said. “Last year, I came in and took third and it didn’t go as planned. This year I came in knew I had a tough bracket and never thought I’d be here. It’s unbelievable.”

Henninger and teammate Steven Newell, who won his second D2 gold in as many years, helped the Mountaineers finish second in the team race. It’s the first time Dallas finished as high as second in the district tournament since winning the Class 2A championship in 2011.

The Mountaineers came out of nowhere and finished a distant second to Delaware Valley, which was more than 60 points in front of the pack. Hazleton Area took third, while Coughlin and Tunkhannock rounded out the top five. Dallas placed fourth in Division 1 of the WVC during the dual season, but improved drastically this weekend.

“I honestly didn’t expect that. I was pleasantly surprised by that,” Newell said about the team’s performance. “Our team had some tough losses throughout the year. Dallas is known for coming back and performing in the postseason and that’s what we did.”

Newell wasn’t the only WVC grappler to repeat as champion. Wyoming Valley West junior David Krokowski joined an elite group by winning his third district title at 126. His teammate, J.J. White, a sophomore claimed the gold at 113. Hazleton Area’s Shane Noonan won his second straight championship at 195. Noonan defeated Wallenpaupack’s Tyler Neglia in the district final for the second straight season.

Krokowski won twice by tech fall in the tournament and won his final over Machias Magill from Delaware by major decision.

Even though he won with ease and it was his third title, Krokowski still felt nerves until the final buzzer sounded.

“Every time for the finals it’s the same feeling, you get those butterflies in your stomach,” Krokowski said. “But it’s always a good feeling at the end.”

White defeated Crestwood’s Trey Zabroski by technical fall early in the third period. The only time he was tested in the tournament was in his semifinal bout against Preston Machado from Delaware Valley winning by a 4-0 score.

Now, that the district title is out of the way, White, like all of the regional qualifiers, is focused on getting past tough District 11 opponents and moving on to the PIAA Championships.

“We have to work harder, drill harder and train harder to get past District 11,” White said. “They’re a bunch of hammers down there.”

A total of 31 WVC wrestlers qualified for next weekend’s Northeast Regional Tournament at Bethlehem’s Liberty High School. Action starts on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Coughlin’s Darren Clarke (back) works on Scranton’s Bobby Zelinski en route to the 120-pound championship on Saturday.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_d2_finalsAAA2_faa-1-1-1.jpgCoughlin’s Darren Clarke (back) works on Scranton’s Bobby Zelinski en route to the 120-pound championship on Saturday. Fred Adams | For Times Leader

Wyoming Valley West’s J.J. White (top) picks up back points as he turns Crestwood’s Trey Zabroski in the 113-pound finals. White won by technical fall.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_d2_finalsAAA3_faa-1-1-1.jpgWyoming Valley West’s J.J. White (top) picks up back points as he turns Crestwood’s Trey Zabroski in the 113-pound finals. White won by technical fall. Fred Adams | For Times Leader

Tunkhannock’s Tommy Traver (front) gets caught in a cradle by Coughlin’s Jacob Brown in the Class 3A 132-pound championship bout. Traver, however, was able to avoid being pinned to win the title.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_d2_finalsAAA1_faa-1-1-1.jpgTunkhannock’s Tommy Traver (front) gets caught in a cradle by Coughlin’s Jacob Brown in the Class 3A 132-pound championship bout. Traver, however, was able to avoid being pinned to win the title. Fred Adams | For Times Leader
First-time district champions highlight 3A meet

By Dave Rosengrant

For Times Leader

District 2 Class 3A Wrestling Championships

Outstanding Wrestler: William Evanitsky, Scranton

WVC Sportsmanship Award: Ryan Vassello, Wyoming Valley West

Lackawanna League Sportsmanship Award: Lou DeLauro, Delaware Valley

District 2 Coach of the Year: Lou DeLauro, Delaware Valley

D2 Jr. High Coach of the Year: Morgan Craig, Abington Heights

D2 JV Coach of the Year: Delaware Valley

Team Scores: 1. Delaware Valley (DV) 215; 2. Dallas (Dal) 141.5; 3. Hazleton Area (Haz) 126; 4. Coughlin (Cou) 124.5; 5. Tunkhannock (Tun) 124; 6. Scranton (Scr) 122; 7. Crestwood (Cre) 114; 8. West Scranton (WS) 109; 9. Wyoming Valley West (WVW) 105.5; 10. Abington Heights (AH) 85; 11. Wallenpaupauck (Wall) 66; 12. Pittston Area (PA) 43.5

Finals

106: David Evans (Tun) dec Joe Porco (DV) 5-2

113: J.J. White (WVW) tech fall Trey Zabroski (Cre) 16-0, 4:16

120: Darren Clarke (Cou) dec Bobby Zelinski (Scr) 5-3

126: David Krokowski (WVW) maj dec Machias Magill (DV) 11-1

132: Tommy Traver (Tun) maj dec Jake Brown (Cou) 17-5

138: Mike McKinney (DV) maj dec Thad Mead (Dal) 13-0

145: Jeremiah Oakes (Scr) pinned Jack Dardia (DV) 1:56

152: William Evanitsky (Scr) tech fall Anthony Krug (Wall) 22-7, 5:11

160: Jacob Burgette (Scr) dec Ron Grevera (Cre) 3-1

170: Steven Newell (Dal) pinned Jason Henderson (DV) :51

182: Jeremy Seymour (WS) dec Andrew Kidd (DV) 10-5

195: Shane Noonan (Haz) dec Tyler Neglia (Wall) 7-1

220: John McCarthy (DV) dec Sam Rice (Tun) 8-2

285: Shawn Henniger (Dal) dec David DeGroat (Wall) 3-0

Third Place

106: Cadden Kucek (WVW) pinned Austin Fashouer (WS) 2:29

113: Preston Machado (DV) pinned Anthony Caramanno (WS) 1:53

120: David Gavek (Tun) pinned Justin Sterling (Cre) 2:28

126: Ryan Lombardo (PA) dec Jordan Miale (Cre) 5-4

132: Charles Everdale (Haz) maj dec Garrett Walsh (WS) 9-1

138: Josh Brown (Cou) pinned Jacob Rosenstein (AH) 2:00

145: Kade Kravits (Dal) dec Landon Stanislow (WVW) 10-4

152: Jayson Brielmeier (Haz) dec John Betzko (Dal) 6-2

160: Jaylon Brunson (WVW) dec Aidan Price (AH) 5-3

170: Chris Langan (AH) dec Jake Marnell (Haz) 8-1

182: Connor Munley (Tun) tech fall Len Kelley (Dal) 16-0, 3:00

195: Brandon Crusen (Scr) dec Shane Fagan (DV) 10-4

220: Shane O’Rourke (Cre) pinned Taylor Bolesta (Dal) 1:34

285: Noah Worsnick (WS) dec Corey Harrison (Cou) 3-2

Fifth Place

106: Brandon Grogan (AH) dec Nino Cinti (Cou) 2-1

113: Beck Hutchison (Haz) dec Liam Farrell (Dal) 6-2, OT

120: Christian Kislin (Haz) pinned Keith Romanczuk (PA) 3:55

126: Randy Bonitz (WS) pinned Ethan Munley (Tun) 4:20

132: Cooper Kidd (DV) pinned Tyler Shaud (Cre) 4:12

138: Garrett Swank (Cre) dec CJ Demark (PA) 6-1

145: Joey Pahler (Cou) dec James Brown (AH) 5-1

152: Liam Stone (Cre) pinned Tyler Connor (WS) 3:40

160: Gavin Brazanskas (DV) dec Cameron Butka (WS) 3-1

170: Jake Cole (Cou) pinned AJ Gordo (PA) 1:53

182: Seth Hunsinger (Haz) pinned Seth Drake (AH) 1:57

195: Jake Stephens (Tun) pinned Gavin Drake (AH) 4:54

220: Tre Kerrigan (AH) dec Peyton Reese (WS) 7-3

285: Michael Fuchick (Haz) pinned Jose Falcon (DV) 2:15

Semifinals

106: Evans (Tun) dec Kucek (WVW) 11-6; Porco (DV) pinned Fashouer (WS) 4:35

113: White (WVW) dec Machado (DV) 4-0; Zabroski (Cre) dec Caramanno (WS) 11-9, OT

120: Clarke (Cou) tech fall Kislan (Haz) 16-0, 5:06; Zelinski (Scr) dec Gavek (Tun) 6-3

126: Krokowski (WVW) tech fall Miale (Cre) 21-3, 5:43; Magill (DV) maj dec Lombardo (PA) 12-2

132: Brown (Cou) pinned Walsh (WS) 1:26; Traver (Tun) dec Everdale (Haz) 9-4

138: Mead (Dal) dec Rosenstein (AH) 4-1; McKinney (DV) dec Brown (Cou) 5-1

145: Oakes (Scr) tech fall Stanislow (WVW) 15-0, 4:56; Dardia (DV) dec Kravits (Dal) 6-4, OT

152: Evanitsky (Scr) pinned Betzko (Dal) 4:21; Krug (Wall) dec Beielmeier (Haz) 2-1

160: Burgette (Scr) pinned Price (AH) 3:12; Grevera (Cre) pinned Brunson (WVW) 4:42

170: Newell (Dal) dec Cole (Cou) 5-0; Henderson (DV) dec Marnell (Haz) 10-8

182: Kidd (DV) pinned Drake (AH) :40; Seymour (WS) dec Munley (Tun) 7-2

195: Noonan (Haz) pinned Drake (AH) 1:45; Neglia (Wall) pinned Crusen (Scr) 1:33

220: Rice (Tun) pinned Bolesta (Dal) :54; McCarthy (DV) pinned O’Rourke (Cre) 3:15

285: DeGroat (Wall) default (injury) Fuchick (Haz); Henniger (Dal) dec Falcon (DV) 6-1

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports

Reach Times Leader sports at 570-829-7143 or on Twitter @TLsports