Wallenpaupack Area's Steve Krushnowski has realistic expectations for this year's edition of the District Two wrestling tournament. Coach Krushnowski is hoping to push three of his lads through to Northeast Regionals via the Class AAA event hosted by Hazleton Area.
Several Wallenpaupack Area athletes are hoping to make a mark at this weekend’s District Two Wrestling Championships.
According to Coach Steve Krushnowski, he wouldn’t be surprised to see a trio of Buckhorns make it through to Northeast Regionals this year.
“I’d be absolutely thrilled,” he told TWI Sports. “If we can take three kids to regionals, that would be icing on the cake.”
Paupack will get that chance beginning Saturday morning at Hazleton Area High School. There, the Bucks are slated to compete in the 2009-’10 Class AAA tournament.
Last February, Coach Krushnowski’s lads powered their way to an 8th place finish in the overall team standings. This time around, Paupack will be hard-pressed to repeat that success.
“We have a few kids who should be able to make an impact, but we’re not as strong a team as we were last year,” he said. “We’re just going to go out there and give it our best shot.”
On the Mat
Steve Krushnowski is part of a majority of coach-es who believe Saturday’s Class AAA meet will likely be a 3-team race.
Delaware Valley is a prohibitive favorite heading into the tourney. However, don’t be surprised to see Hazleton or Abington Heights make a run at the crown.
DV went undefeated en route to the Lackawanna League’s Division One title. Meanwhile, Hazleton also posted a perfect record (7-0) in Wyoming Valley Conference action.
Abington is admittedly a dark horse due to a lack of depth. But, the Comets will send six superb wrestlers to the mat this weekend.
Paupack’s best hopes lie with Taylor Newcomer, Frank Bruno and Josh Rake.
Newcomer is far & away the team’s top wrestler. The senior 215-pounder will take a stellar 25-4 record with him into the Class AAA fray.
“We’re projecting Taylor probably as the #2 seed,” said Coach Krushnowski. “He didn’t see (Morgan) Craig at the league tournament and that’s probably a good thing.”
Those two studs did clash back in early January and Craig limped away with a razor-thin 5-4 decision. If all goes as expected, Taylor and Morgan should meet again in the district final.
Bruno has been battling a nasty hand injury all season, but seems to be rounding into form at the perfect time.
Frank sports a solid 19-9 record at heavyweight. He posted two impressive wins last weekend before giving up a pin to Evan Craig in the final (1:01).
Rake went 4-1 at the Lackawanna League meet, upping his record to 21-9 for the year.
Paupack’s 103-pound junior pinned Elk Lake’s Mason Maye in the consolation final (2:54).
Other Buckhorns who could surprise at districts include Taylor McLay, Pat Ingulli and Kit Swenson.
McLay has been an enigma this winter. The senior 140-pounder looks lackluster at times, but then goes out and wrestles like an all-star when you least expect it.
Taylor went 3-1 last Saturday at Scranton in picking up a bronze medal. His biggest win of the tourney came over Lackawanna Trail’s Chris Dixon in the third place bout.
Ingulli battled his way to 20 wins last year as a frosh and has earned 17 more this winter.
Pat was eliminated from the league tournament last weekend by DV’s Anthony Colletta in the 130-pound consolation semis.
Swenson owns 15 wins this year while competing at a rugged 160-pound weight class.