Lebo building on Powerade showing
Under head coach Bill Lewis, the Mt. Lebanon High School wrestling team hasn’t arrived yet. But, the Blue Devils are getting there. And, 2014 could be their year.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Lewis said, “but our goal is to improve every day and every competition, and qualify our team and individuals for post-season competition.”
Over the holiday break, the Blue Devils got a taste of what post-season action would be like. They impressed in the prestigious Powerade Tournament. Lebo finished 22nd out of 46 teams and produced three place winners.
Kellan Stout, who is ranked third in the Pennsylvania Power Rankings, finished runner-up in the 182-pound weight class. He knocked off the second and third seeds, including a 3-0 decision against the reigning Ohio State champion, to reach the finals.
Bakhtiyar Zaynullaev secured sixth place at 195 while Zeynul Zaynullayev earned seventh place at 285. Zeynul was seeded No. 8 in the tournament while Bakhtiyar was not ranked. According to Lewis, he put together a strong tournament, upsetting some opponents along the way.
In addition, Abubekir Binaliev finished fourth in the Powerade JV Tournament. He wrestled at 195 for the Blue Devils.
“We were pleased with how our kids competed overall and we were very proud of our place winners,” Lewis said.
“We had been looking forward to participating for a number of years and were excited when we got the invitation. It was an upgrade to our schedule and we think our kids realize that they can compete with some of the best out there.
“We also feel wrestling top competition will benefit us when it counts the most in the post-season,” Lewis added. “Our schedule was built around getting as much tough competition as we could early in the season to better prepare us for when it counts the most; later in the team and individual championships.”
The Blue Devils took a step toward their team goal when they improved their section record to 2-1 overall with a 66-9 victory over Baldwin.
Winning by decision were Brian Perri, and Kevin Kinyua. Sam White, Sean Perri, R.J. Fitzgerald, John Marshall, and Zaynullaev picked up pins while Tyler Quach-Dao, Jack Rendulic, Stout, Chas Blango and Zaynullayev all won by forfeits.
Kinyua is ranked No. 22 in the Pennsylvania Power Rankings while Sean Perri, Zaynullaev and Zaynullayev rank in the top 25 as well in their respective weight classes.
After a home match tonight at 7:30 p.m. against West Mifflin, travels to North Allegheny Jan. 11 for a tri-meet with the Tigers and North Hills.
Lebo visits Bethel Park for a 7:30 p.m. match Jan. 15. The Hawks dropped to 2-1 in Section 2B after a 37-30 loss to Upper St. Clair Jan. 4.
Match for Marine
Peters Township leads the division with an undefeated record. The Indians feature some of the top wrestlers in the WPIAL, including Philip Mary (11-3) at 126, Tyler Buckiso (12-3) at 132, Italo Merante (9-3) at 138, Sammy Florentino (11-5) at 145 and Lukas Cervenak (9-3) at 285.
The Indians will host Bethel Park during its second Match For a Marine at 7 p.m. tonight (Jan. 8).
All proceeds for the event, including admissions and concession sales, will be donated to the organization established to help Sgt. Doug Vitale. The former Kiski wrestler was injured while on patrol in Afghanistan. He lost both his legs and suffered multiple strokes. He and his wife, Alexis, a Peters Township graduate, reside in the community where a home is being constructed by Tunnel to Towers and The Gary Sinese Foundations to fit their needs.
The goal is to have 1,000 people attend and raise $5,000. Last year, $29,000 was raised.
Donations can be made to: VFW Post 764 Relief Fund, 460 Valley Brook Road, McMurray, 15317.
Email: email@example.com for more details.
Dalton Macri won the 126-pound weight in the Powerade Tournament. He is one of two top-ranked wrestlers from Canon-McMillan and a reason why the Big Macs are 9-0 under new head coach Jason Cardillo. Macri is 20-1 overall this season. Defending state champion, Solomon Chishko is 10-3 at 145 pounds.
Chartiers Valley’s Noah Wilps was a Powerade runner, falling to defending state champion, Chance Marsteller from Kennard-Dale in the 170-pound final. Wilps is ranked No. 1 in the WPIAL in his weight class with a 10-1 record.
Grant Fetchet recently recorded his 100th career victory. The South Fayette senior is the top-ranked wrestler in Class AA at the 160-pound weight class.
Fetchet along with Jasper Wolfe, Michael Carr, Shane Ging, Jared and Zach Walker have the Lions ranked No. 2 behind defending WPIAL champion Burrell in the team standings.