Honesdale's varsity wrestling team exceeded expectations this past weekend. A total of five Hornets visited the podium at the District Two Championships and will advance to regionals starting Friday at Bethlehem Freedom.
After two grueling days of action, Honesdale's wrestling team will be well-represented at Northeast Regionals.
The Hornets traveled to Hazleton Area this weekend for the District Two Championships and five of those grapplers are moving on in Class AAA.
Zach Smith, Aaron Kennedy, Evan Kennedy, Matt Evans and Tim Russell all finished among the top three in their respective weight classes. Each will now journey to Bethlehem Freedom this weekend for the 2011-'12 regional tourney.
"I?was hoping to get four kids through to regionals and we ended up with five, so we exceeded my expectations a little bit," said Coach Ryan Chulada.
"With a couple of breaks here and there, we could have wound up in the top three. But, I’m satisfied with how it all shook out."
By the Numbers
As a team, Honesdale finished 6th in Class AAA standings with 111 points.
Delaware Valley captured the overall crown in dominating fashion. The Warriors advanced seven wrestlers to the finals and ended up with four individual champs.
In fact, DV set a brand new District Two meet record with an eye-popping 239 team points. This number obliterated the old mark of 218, which was set by Wilkes Barre Coughlin back in 1992.
Zach Smith will lead the charge in Bethlehem. The Hornet junior turned in an electrifying performance en route to a silver medal at 160 pounds.
Smith opened his podium quest with a second period pin of Abington's Kevin Wellard (3:00). He followed that up with two more falls in the quarters and semis, the first of Coughlin's Troy Vannucchi (1:39) and the second of DV's Dan Favaro (1:53).
These clamps propelled Smith into the finals and a showdown with Mark Granahan of Scranton High School. Sadly for Hornet fans, Zach was no match for this state-ranked senior.
Granahan pounded out a 16-0 technical fall to claim the gold medal. Smith, who now boasts a 24-7 record this winter, settled for silver and a trip to regionals.
Meanwhile, all four Hornets who qualified for the consolation final cam away with bronze medals.
Evan Kennedy earned a first round bye at 126 and opened his quest with a 4-2 decision over Crestwood's Dan Ritz. He then ran into a buzzsaw in the semis, absorbing a 19-1 tech fall at the hands of Valley West's Kyle Krasavage.
Kennedy wasted no time in bouncing back, though, dealing Dan Mussoline a 7-2 setback in the consolation semis. This earned Evan a shot at the bronze medal...an opportunity he didn't squander.
Kennedy defeated Ritz for a second time, sealing the deal on his regional berth with a 3-0 shutout.
Matt Evans, who is enjoying a stellar senior season, added another line to his impressive resume with a third place finish at 132.
Evans suffered a surprising 5-4 loss to Abington's Matthew Carr in the quarters and embarked on a long, grueling journey through the consolation bracket.
Matt hammered out a 16-0 tech fall over Mike Legg of Crestwood, then whitewashed West Scranton's Zach Smith by a score of 3-0. This set the stage for one of the meet's most exciting bouts...in which Evans advanced to the consolation finals via a 4-2 sudden death victory over Scranton's Niyaz Bakradze.
In the bronze medal match, Matt chalked up his 32nd with of the season with an 8-4 decision against Nathan Cheek of Valley West.
At 138, Aaron Kennedy shook off a heartbreaking loss in the semis to eventually claim a third place finish.
The Hornet senior dominated his first two bouts. Kennedy opened up with a 19-4 tech fall at the expense of Hazleton Area's Dan Bove. He followed that up with a 12-0 shutout of Crestwood's Jake Geroski.
After suffering an 11-10 loss to Derrick Simms of Valley West, Kennedy pinned Anthony Colletta of DV (3:51) and dealt Scranton's James McNally a 4-3 decision. Aaron heads off to regionals with a sparkling 33-4 record.
Without question, the most pleasant surprise of Honesdale's weekend came courtesy of Tim Russell at 152.
An unheralded sophomore who entered the District Two tournament with a mediocre 8-17 record, Russell turned in a spectacular performance and earned a spot at regionals.
Tim got off on the right foot with an opening round pin of Pittston Area's Dan Ardo (1:01). Although he then suffered a 16-4 thrashing at the hands of Crestwood's Mike Hammerstone, Russell rebounded quickly.
He reeled off four consecutive wrestlebacks victories, culminating in a 4-2 win over Scranton's Shane McTiernan in the bronze medal bout.
"Timmy has a very bright future in the sport," said Coach Chulada. "His record coming in here was very deceiving because we bumped him up in weight a bunch of times. I’m really excited for Timmy. This is going to be a great experience for him.”