Avella senior Jake Temple used his favorite move in Saturday's finals of the Tri-County Wrestling Tournament and it worked to perfection.
"I love my cradle," said Temple, who pinned McGuffey's Ryan Steinstraw at 4:40 in the 220-pound title match. "I love to use the cradle when I'm on top. It's such a great feeling to catch an opponent in a cradle."
It was the third consecutive Tri-County title for Temple.
"I also pinned my opponent in last year's final," said Temple, who remembered that it took only 1:05 to pin Chartiers-Houston's Josh Kraushaar. "It just took a little longer this year."
Temple completely dominated the weight class during the two-day tournament that took place at Ringgold High School with two pins and a technical fall to improve his season record to 15-0.
"He's a big kid and it's hard to move him around," said Temple of Steinstraw, who recently moved down from heavyweight. "My shots were working. I knew if I could stay on top I could turn him. I was able to turn him at the end."
Temple is competing at 220 despite the fact that he's closer to the 195-pound weight class.
"I'm weighing in at 205," said Temple, who would need to cut only 8 pounds to reach the 197-pound limit, which accounts for a 2-pound weight allowance. "I will wrestle in the 197-pound weight class when I get to college, but I'm staying at 220 for the high school season."
Temple has narrowed his college search to three schools.
"I'm still stuck between three choices -- Clarion, West Virginia and West Liberty," Temple said. "I'll probably wait until after states to make a decision."
Unlike wrestlers who compete in the upper weight classes, Temple has an uncanny ability to ride his opponent, a skill that will translate well to collegiate wrestling.
"I really enjoy working on top," Temple said. "I really like to ride an opponent. I just started working in the legs. That's a lot of fun when you can get a leg in and ride a kid. And I love it when I can hook up the cradle and pin an opponent."
Temple broke into Avella's lineup as a freshman and posted a 27-9 record in what was then the 215-pound weight class. He improved to 35-7 as a 195-pound sophomore and earned his first PIAA Class AA berth by placing third in the WPIAL and second in the Southwest Region.
Last season, Temple moved to the 220-pound weight class and won WPIAL and Southwest Region titles, placed fourth in the PIAA, and finished with an impressive 40-3 record.
"You have to work hard every day in practice, and be willing to put in the extra training," said Temple, when asked what it would take to win a PIAA title. "I just try to work twice as hard as my opponent.
"If I keep working hard, and wrestle the way I'm capable of wrestling, then nobody can beat me. My goal is to beat everybody this year."
Temple is closing in on Avella's record for career victories, which was set by 2009 graduate Mitch Spencer (139-28). Temple entered this week with a 117-19 career record.
"Whenever I wrestle, I clear my head," said Temple, when asked if he was thinking about winning a third county title during the finals. "I zone everything out. I can't even hear the coaches yelling at me. I don't hear anything until the match is stopped."
Temple was joined in the Tri-County finals by teammate Derek Allen, who dropped a 6-0 decision to Trinity's Robert West in the 195-pound title match.
"He's my workout partner," Temple said. "It's always fun to see your teammates in the finals."