Chartiers Valley Duals prepare grapplers
The Chartiers Valley Duals presented wrestlers from Bethel Park, Upper St. Clair and even the host team an opportunity to get a jump on the competition. With the individual wrestle-offs only weeks away, grapplers from around the region had the chance to prepare for their march to the podium.
Tournament director Billy Evans, who also is the CV head coach, agreed that his event “does a nice job” of getting the wrestlers ready for the post-season individual tournaments.
“Quite often, even good wrestlers wrestle a bad match at sections, WPIAL’s, or states,” Evans said, “So a tournament of this format, where you wrestle quite a few matches throughout the day helps a wrestler learn to rebound quickly both mentally and physically from a tough match.”
At 182, Santino Bonaccorsi dished out tough matches to all challengers. The Bethel Park senior, who is ranked No. 1, won the weight class in dominant fashion. The 2016 PIAA runner-up pinned all five of his opponents. He did so with minimal effort as his total mat time was 1 minute, 55 seconds.
Bonaccorsi agreed a tournament like the CV Duals is a benefit to all participants.
“It’s important to get in as many matches as you can,” he said. “It gives you a chance to work on some things and improve.”
From a coaching standpoint, Evans saw improvement in his wrestlers. “Overall, we did well,” he said.
Four CV grapplers placed in the Top Four. Shamil Zaynullaev won the 220-pound division. Zach Macy and Daniel McGeough took third at 113 and heavyweight respectively. Collin Eger finished fourth at 170.
“On a positive side,” Evans noted, “our wrestlers were offensive. Even when we lost matches, it was on our own accord, not sitting on our heels waiting for something to happen. That’s a good thing for building momentum towards the individual post-season. You definitely can’t build momentum standing still. And our guys were hustling,” he added.
If the Colts “clean up” a few things, Evans is confident about their prospects for the sectionals, which start Feb. 25 followed by the WPIAL and Southwest Regional tournaments set for March 3-5 at Canon-McMillan. The PIAA championships will be held March 9-11 at the Giant Center in Hershey.
“If we sand off a few rough edges, we will be capable of having a few guys really making a push to wrestle deep into the WPIAL tournament and potentially the PIAA championships,” Evans said.
USC grapplers, also, should make a push for the podium. Four of them reached the finals during the CV Duals. Eli Grape captured the 195-pound weight class. The senior is ranked No. 2 in the WPIAL. A two-time medalist at states, he is considered one of the top three wrestlers in his weight class in the PIAA.
Jay Pollock won the heavyweight division while Thomas Kyle and Sean Martin claimed runner-up laurels at 138 and 152. Tyler Curtis and Harvey Rauch took third at 126 and 182 respectively.
Bethel’s Jason Montgomery also joined Bonaccorsi as a gold medalist. He placed first at 170.