Mruk, Joseph, Balavage win district wrestling titles

Staff Reports
Wyoming Area’s Corey Mruk takes down Scranton Preps Alec Buttner in the District 2 AA 160 class Final Saturday to seal his win. - Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch
Wyoming Area’s Justin Joseph reacts to his overtime win over Hanover Area’s J.J.Hooper at 182 in the District 2 AA Championships at the Kingston Armory. - Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Corey Mruk repeated the District 2 Class 2A championship he won as a Wyoming Area freshman a year ago.

Teammate Justin Joseph got the gold medal he’s been seeking for his senior year.

The two championship efforts helped Wyoming Area finish fifth out of 15 teams during the championships held Feb. 23-24 at the Kingston Armory.

Honesdale overtook Lake-Lehman for the team title on the second day, 225-186.

Wyoming Area scored 123 points to finish 13 ½ behind fourth-place Scranton Prep and 12 ahead of sixth-place Valley View.

Joseph escaped from the bottom against Hanover Area’s J.J. Hooper in the ultimate tiebreaker ride-out period of the 182-pound finals to pull out a 4-3 victory. He did so by countering a move he has faced often.

“I’m always wrestling (taller) kids and they always look for that cradle,” Joseph told the Times Leader. “As soon as they lock it in, I shrug it off.

“It’s worked so far, so I was hoping it would work one more time. It was go big or go home.”

Joseph got to the final with a technical foul and second-period pin.

Mruk had two pins and a major decision before beating Scranton Prep’s Alec Buttner, 7-2, in the final at 160.

“I think this tournament was harder for me this year,” Mruk said. “Last year, a lot of people didn’t know who I was. I was just another freshman.

“But this year, there was a target on me.”

Wyoming Area advanced four wrestlers to this weekend’s Class 2A Northeast Regional at Williamsport with top-three finishes.

The Warriors excelled in the upperweights.

Jaryn Polit-Moran, at 195, and Damon Barhight, at 285, each finished third with wins in the consolation finals.

Polit-Moran pinned Western Wayne’s Alexander Hollister in 3:35. Barhight needed six more seconds to beat Ken Huber from Honesdale.

Robin Wrobleski each fell one win short, finishing fourth at 138 and 145. Wrobleski was eliminated in a one-point decision.

Scranton Prep’s Ivan Balavage, a senior from Avoca, pinned three opponents and shut out Polit-Moran in a semifinal technical fall on the way to a title repeat.

Balavage pinned Lake-Lehman’s T.J. Meehan in 3:26 of the 195-pound final.

Between districts and regionals, Balavage announced that he will follow his older brother, Thor Balavage, and wrestle at Newman College, an NCAA Division II school in Kansas.

Thor Balavage won 15 matches for Newman this season as a sophomore.

Ivan Balavage went into this weekend with a 35-4 record for a school-record 128 career wins.

CLASS 2A NORTHEAST REGIONAL

All four Wyoming Area wrestlers and Scranton Prep’s Ivan Balavage lost in their first match, in the quarterfinals, Friday night.

They all went into Saturday morning needing to work their way back through the consolation brackets in order to qualify for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey Thursday through Saturday.

Joseph came the closest to advancing for Wyoming Area. He lost to Warrior Run’s Christian Wachter, 4-1, at 182 pounds.

Mruk was pinned in the first period while Polit-Moran and Barhight were pinned in the second period.

Jersey Shore’s David Tomb upset returning state medalist Balavage, 9-7, at 195 pounds.

DISTRICT 2 CLASS 3A

Ryan Lombardo finished third at 126 pounds Feb. 23-24 at the Kingston Armory to make him the only Pittston Area wrestler to advance through the District 2 Class 3A tournament.

Lombardo won three out of four bouts in the tournament, reaching the semifinals, clinching a regional berth with his consolation semifinal win, then winning the consolation final, 5-4, over Crestwood’s Jordan Maile.

Pittston Area finished last in the 12-team field. Delaware Valley ran away with the team title over second-place Dallas.

Keith Romanczuk (120), C.J. DeMark (138) and A.J. Gordo (170) each finished sixth for Pittston Area.

CLASS 3A NORTHEAST REGIONAL

The tournament in Bethlehem was postponed Friday and consolidated into primarily a one-day event being held Friday.

If any wrestlers, trying to work their way back through the consolation bracket to make it to Hershey for the state tournament, require a sixth bout, they will have to come back Sunday morning to complete their tournament.

Wyoming Area’s Corey Mruk takes down Scranton Preps Alec Buttner in the District 2 AA 160 class Final Saturday to seal his win.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_d2_AAfinal2_faa.jpgWyoming Area’s Corey Mruk takes down Scranton Preps Alec Buttner in the District 2 AA 160 class Final Saturday to seal his win. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Wyoming Area’s Justin Joseph reacts to his overtime win over Hanover Area’s J.J.Hooper at 182 in the District 2 AA Championships at the Kingston Armory.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_d2_AAfinals3_faa.jpgWyoming Area’s Justin Joseph reacts to his overtime win over Hanover Area’s J.J.Hooper at 182 in the District 2 AA Championships at the Kingston Armory. Fred Adams | For Sunday Dispatch

Staff Reports

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@psdispatch.com.