South Xtra: 'Old school' win gives Trinity a lift on the mats

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Trinity's 42-31 victory against McGuffey in a Class AAA Sub-Section 4A opener on Dec. 11 was more than just a victory for the Hillers.

"It was a return to old-school dual-meet wrestling," said Mark Powell, who enters his second season as Trinity's head coach. "It was vintage McGuffey versus Trinity. We had more than 1,000 fans show up [at Trinity]. It's been years since I've seen a dual meet with this much excitement. The fans on both sides were just great. I wish every dual meet were this exciting."

McGuffey entered the match as the favorite, but Trinity was poised for the upset. The Hillers opened with a surprise, as Tristan Buxton pinned McGuffey's Gage Nicolella at 113 pounds.

"Tristan was trailing 1-0 in the third period when he scored a takedown and pinned Nicolella in the last 11 seconds," Powell said. "That gave us the start we needed."

That was the first of six pins recorded by Trinity in the match. Gino Cecchine (132), Justin Ritter (160), Robert West (195), Austin Fife (285) and Michael Kolosky (106) also had pins for the Hillers.

"McGuffey moved [Tyler] Harris up to 160 and Justin Ritter pinned him," Powell said. "That was big, but the biggest win was at heavyweight. McGuffey's heavyweight was Ryan Steinstraw, who transferred from Trinity a couple years ago. Austin Fife pinned him in the first period. And our 106-pounder [Kolosky] clinched the victory with another pin."

Trinity began its season with a 45-24 loss to Greensburg Salem in a non-league match.

"We had some eligibility problems for that match," Powell said. "Fortunately, we've got that worked out."

Trinity posted an 8-11 record last season in Powell's debut as head coach. The Hillers tied for third in Sub-Section 4A, but fell short of qualifying for the Section 4 Tournament.

"We are much younger this season," Powell said. "We had six senior starters on last year's team. This year, we have one senior and two juniors starting. Ninety percent of our team are sophomores and freshmen."

Trinity had its first tournament action over the weekend, as the Hillers were one of 24 teams entered in the North Coast Classic, which took place at Ohio's Independence High School.

"We finished seventh overall in the team standing, one place higher than last year," Powell said. "I really like this tournament because it has a pool format. Each kid wrestles in one pool on Friday, then we re-seed each weight class the second day. This allows the kids to pick up a lot of experience in a two-day period."

Trinity had five wrestlers place among the top six in their weight classes. The Hillers top finisher was Robert West, who claimed the 195-pound title. West is 12-0 so far this season.

Kolosky (106) and Cameron Reynolds (120) placed third for the Hillers, while Buxton (113) and Ritter (160) placed fourth.

"I'm very pleased with our performance in the tournament," Powell said. "Especially when you consider how young we are. It's a performance to build on for the kids."

Trinity's second section match was last night against Moon.

"Next week, we are entered in the Southmoreland Holiday Classic," Powell said. "Then we have a very busy January. The first two weeks of January are especially busy for us."

Powell feels Trinity is capable of placing among the top two teams in the section.

"Canon-McMillan is the section favorite again," Powell said. "Our goal is to make it to the section finals."

Powell added a top assistant to his staff.

"Ron Tarquinio comes to us after being named the WPIAL Class AAA Assistant Coach of the Year last season while coaching at Franklin Regional," Powell said. "Ron was hired as a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Trinity. He joins Jurdan Maier and me on the varsity coaching staff."

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