Butler's Ryan Hannon defeats Peters Township's Mitch Fitzgerald, 3-0, in the 182-pound semifinals at the Chartiers-Houston Invitational tournament. Hannon went on to win the title in that weight class.
By Ken Wunderley / Tri-State Sports & News Service
For the third consecutive year the Chartiers-Houston Invitational Wrestling Tournament team title was determined by a margin of victory of five points or less.
"It's amazing how close the team standings have been," said Butler coach Scott Stoner, after watching the Golden Tornado finish among the top two teams for the third year in a row. "We lost the team title by a half point in 2011, then won by a half point last year. It didn't surprise me that this year's battle for the team title was another close one."
This time Butler came up five points short in the 2013 tournament, which took place last weekend.
"I wasn't really following the team standings during the medal round because we had nine kids wrestling," Stoner said. "In fact, I didn't even hear them announce that we had a one-point lead on Peters Township going into the 285-pound [medal] matches. One of my assistants heard the announcement and told me."
The format for the finals had all three medal matches -- for first, third and fifth places -- wrestled at the same time on three mats. The 285-pound final featured Peters Township's Lukas Cervanak and his opponent was Montour's Zack Jablonski. The third-place consolation had Butler's J.D. Bojanac facing Bentworth's Mason Shumaker.
"It came down to the final match," Stoner said. "Unfortunately, we came up short."
Both bouts ended with a fall. Bojanac was pinned by Shumaker at 2:42. One minute later, Cervanak decked Jablonski to clinch the team title for Peters Township. Peters Township finished with 217 points, while Butler ended with 212.
"It's disappointing to come that close and have to settle for second place," Stoner said. "But I'm very proud of what my kids were able to accomplish with such an inexperienced lineup. It didn't help that our 106-pounder was out with an injury."
Bojanac was one of nine Butler wrestlers who placed among the top six in their weight classes. The Tornado had three wrestlers advance to the finals, but only one captured a title. Ryan Hannon won the 182-pound crown with a 5-0 victory against Elizabeth Forward's Colt Belardia.
Connor Foust and Will Bortmas placed second for Butler. Foust was pinned in the 126-pound final by Peters Township's Philip Mary. Bortmas dropped an 11-3 decision to Montour's Cole Macek at 220 pounds.
North Allegheny second at Eastern
North Allegheny had to settle for second best at the Eastern Area Invitational Wrestling Tournament last weekend at Gateway High School. Kiski Area claimed its fifth consecutive team title with 245 points, while the Tigers finished second with 230.
"It's the same story with Kiski winning the title again," North Allegheny coach Jamie Kyriazis said. "The only difference is that we had a full lineup for the first time in five years."
The Tigers' football success during that stretch has kept Kyriazis from having his entire varsity squad in the practice room until the middle or end of December.
"We had 11 kids place among the top six in their weight classes, but Kiski had 13," Kyriazis said. "That was the difference."
North Allegheny had five wrestlers advance to the finals, and two claimed titles. Dom Forys captured his third Eastern Area title with a 7-2 victory against Justin Patrick of Kiski School in the 126-pound final. Scott Stossel won the title at 120 by pinning Belle Vernon Area's Brendon Hasson.
Losing in the finals for North Allegheny were Zach Stedeford, Jesse Rodgers and Zach Smith.
Stedeford dropped a 4-2 decision to Kisk's Area's Matt Siszka in the 106-pound final. Rodgers lost by technical fall to Kittanning's Jason Nolf, a two-time PIAA champ, in the 145-pound final. Smith dropped a 7-4 decision to Norwin's Drew Phipps at 195 pounds.
"This is a good tune-up for us," Kyriazis said. "We're heading to the [Walsh Jesuit] Ironman Tournament this weekend. We haven't been there in a few years, so I'm very excited to see how we can do."
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