Western Wayne's varsity wrestling team will now make its third trip to states in four years
There can be no arguing the point from this moment on.
Western Wayne has officially established itself as an NEPA high school wrestling dynasty.
On a wintry weekend at Pittston Area, the Wildcats defended their District Two Duals Tournament title with three convincing victories in the Class AA bracket.
Coach Dante Terenzio's squad opened defense of its crown by blasting Wyoming Area 48-29 Friday night at Lake Lehman.
The 'Cats then destroyed Wilkes Barre Meyers in the semis, 64-18, punching their ticket to the championship match.
On Saturday evening at Pittston Area High School, the local lads sealed the deal on their second straight trip to the PIAA state meet with a dominating effort against Lake Lehman.
The final score in that one was 38-28.
Western Wayne has now won back-to-back titles and three of the past four.
In addition, the Wildcats have already claimed their fourth straight Lackawanna League Division II crown with a perfect 5-0 record.
Next up for the 'Cats is a return trip to Hershey and a first round encounter with Redbank Valley. The Bulldogs hail from District Nine and are based in New Bethlehem.
This match is set for a 2 p.m. Thursday start on Mat Two at the Giant Center.
Back on Track
Western Wayne suffered a disappointing loss to West Scranton in its final tune-up for district duals.
On the heels of this loss, Coach Terenzio re-focused his team on one key aspect of high school wrestling.
"It's all about the bonus points," he said simply.
"I told the kids the key in a big match is limiting your opponent's bonus points and scoring as many as possible on our side."
Apparently, the Wildcats took their mentor's words to heart because they went out Friday against Wyoming Area and wreaked havoc.
Brett Toth (113), Manny Mirailh (145), Lucas Karnick (170), Brandon Haddon (182) and Conner Rosensweet (195) all posted pins against the Warriors.
Rosensweet and Toth led the charge with lightning-quick first period clamps.
Conner needed just :16 to put away Shawn Whiting, while Brett barely broke a sweat in recording a 17-second fall against Shaun Vasquez.
Thanks to this treasure trove of bonus points, the 'Cats cruised to a 19-point victory and advanced to the semifinals.
Western Wayne was even more aggressive against an overmatched Meyers team.
In this one, six Wildcats recorded falls en route to a 64-18 triumph.
Toth and Rosensweet each earned his second fall of the tourney. Brett labored for 1:38 before pinning Dan Semanek. However, Conner once again attacked right off the opening whistle and clamped John Mendoza in just 27 seconds.
Morgan Fuller (138), Mirailh (145), Hadden (2:35) and Dakota Swoyer (182) also earned bonus points for the victors.
Beau Fuller rounded out the Wildcats' scoring with a 13-4 major decision over Johntea Nelson at 152.
Title Tilt Re-Match
Few local fans will ever forget last year's epic Class AA championship match between Western Wayne and Lake Lehman.
The 2011-12 title tilt was deadlocked 34-34 at the end of regulation.
For the next 15 minutes, D-2 officials huddled over the rulebook and scoring sheets trying to determine the winner.
In the end, this match was decided on "Criteria H," the team that tallies the most total first points in all bouts combined.
This time around, there would be no need to consult rulebooks or scoring sheets.
Western Wayne spotted Lake Lehman an early 6-0 lead, but then roared back to win four consecutive bouts and take command of the match.
Virgil Burns, who's been having an outstanding year for the 'Cats, ignited the run with a hard-fought 9-5 decision at 195.
Austin Swoyer gave his team the lead with a second period pin of Kody Pachamovitch at 220 (3:34).
Rosensweet then showed all the world that he's much more than just a pinning machine. Conner went the distance with the Knights' Dustin Jones at 285 and walked off with a 3-2 win.
When Ronnie Mrsich followed with a first period clamp at 106 (:58), Western Wayne's lead had grown to double digits at 18-6.
Lake Lehman then staged a furious rally, winning three of the next four bouts and shaving the margin to just two points 24-22.
From that point forward, the 'Cats utterly dominated the Knights.
Morgan Fuller hammered out a 6-4 decision at 138.
Mirailh followed with an equally physical 7-3 win over Josh Winters at 145.
The lead was now 30-22, but Beau Fuller provided some of those precious bonus points at 152. The battle-tesed senior put on a takedown clinic at the expense of Tom Williams, thrashing out an 18-2 tech fall.
Karnick squashed any faint hopes Lake Lehman fans held of a miraculous comeback via a 3-2 decision over Robert Wright at 160.
Over & Out
With these three wins, Western Wayne improved its overall record to 21-5 for the season.
The Wildcats now boast a line-up chock full of 20-bout winners.
Swoyer leads the way at 26-5. Morgan Fuller is next with a 25-5 mark. Karnick (24-5), Burns (23-1) and Rosensweet (22-6) are also enjoying banner seasons.
Additionally, Hadden (21-8), Mirailh (20-3) and Beau Fuller (20-11) head to Hershey hitting on all cylinders.