West Xtra: After six losses to opponent, Bugettstown guy wins title
Burgettstown's Austin McDermitt, top, defeated Southmoreland's Austin Griffiths, 9-1, in WPIAL title match last Saturday.
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Burgettstown's Austin McDermitt has lost to Southmoreland's Austin Griffiths six of the seven times they have wrestled in high school.
"One and six," Burgettstown coach Terry Havelka said. "But I'll take the one."
McDermitt finally knocked off Griffiths, 9-1, Saturday in the 103-pound WPIAL Class AA championship match at Chartiers Valley.
"It was those morning and afternoon workouts this week that did it," McDermitt said following the match.
"I studied film before practice and sometimes after trying to get ready. I just had to get in his head and I think I did that."
McDermitt got the opening takedown to lead 2-0 after the first period. Given the choice for the second period, McDermitt chose neutral instead of the bottom position.
"He's just good on top and I'm better on my feet," McDermitt said.
The strategy worked well, as halfway through the period, McDermitt executed a headlock.
"I just felt him pressuring in a good bit, so I just threw it," McDermitt said. "I felt I had nothing to lose and felt confident throwing it."
The move got McDermitt two points for the takedown and three back points. It almost got him a fall as well, but the referee smacked his hand on the mat just a split-second after the buzzer sounded to indicate the end of the second period.
McDermitt thought he had the win, raising his hands in celebration before he realized the match would continue.
But he was able to regroup and keep his composure.
"I just kept my head and finished out strong," McDermitt said.
Bonzo battles through knee injury
An injured right knee has caused Freedom Area senior Boe Bonzo to miss practices and a few matches this season.
But the injury didn't stop him from winning his first WPIAL title.
With his knee wrapped, Bonzo still outclassed the rest of the 152-pound weight class Saturday, recording two falls before beating Kittanning's Taylor Jack, 6-3, in the title match.
"It definitely means a lot," Bonzo said. "Four years of my life, my whole life, I've been working for this."
Bonzo (23-3) has steadily finished higher at WPIALs, taking sixth as a freshman at 119, fourth at 130 as a sophomore and second last season at 145.
But Bonzo had to deal with a knee injury that he incurred earlier this season that forced him to miss a few matches.
He said the knee isn't fully healthy, but it is better and he should be able to push harder this week in practice as he gets ready for the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional this weekend at Johnstown.
"I haven't been able to wrestle as much because of my knee, but I'm definitely going to train harder [this week] and get to work."
Reckner looking ahead
South Side Beaver senior Nathan Reckner has finished in the top three in all four of his WPIAL Class AA tournament appearances after winning his second consecutive title Saturday with a 7-0 victory against Valley's Josiah Hughes in the 120-pound championship.
But he hasn't been able to duplicate that success at regionals or states. Reckner (29-2) had his best showing at the PIAA Southwest Regional last season, when he took the bronze. In four state tournament matches, he has won just once.
That's why the WPIAL title isn't a big deal to him.
"It means nothing," Reckner said matter-of-factly. "I still haven't placed at states. That's my goal so this is just a step."
Reckner said his experience has made him more composed. He also knows this is his last chance to accomplish his goal, with his journey continuing Friday in Johnstown at regionals.
"I've worked too hard not to place [at states] this year," Reckner said.
Lions' brothers have success
South Fayette had a Class AA-best six wrestlers finish in the top-three at the WPIAL tournament Saturday.
The common theme between the six Lions who received a gold, silver or bronze medal is family.
Three different sets of South Fayette brothers -- the Carrs, the Fetchets and the Walkers -- will all head to the PIAA Southwest Class AA Regional that starts Friday in Johnstown.
Senior Seth Carr (32-4) finished second at the WPIAL tournament at 113 pounds, while his brother, freshman Mike Carr (25-9), took third at 120 pounds.
Senior Mike Fetchet (36-2) lost a heartbreaker in overtime in the 170-pound championship, while his brother, junior Grant Fetchet (33-8), took third at 152 pounds.
At 160 pounds, sophomore J.J. Walker (28-6) won his second WPIAL crown, while his brother, junior Zach Walker (31-5), finished second at 195 pounds.
Two other Lions, freshman Shane Ging and senior Brad Haney, also qualified for the regional tournament with sixth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively, in their weight classes.
First Published February 28, 2013 12:00 am