Honesdale wrestlers are dominating down the stretch

On the heels of a huge Senior Night victory over Scranton Prep, Ryan Chulada pronounced two more goals he wanted his team to attain before the end of the 2018-19 season.

First and foremost, Honesdale’s head wrestling coach desired a win over Western Wayne in this year's Battle for the Belt.

“We need to get that belt back,” he said simply, a look of fierce determination etched on his face.

Secondly, Chulada wanted the Hornets to reach 20 wins yet again.

“That’s always been a high water mark,” he explained. “We’ve done it before at the AA level and now really want to do it in AAA.”

Big Wins

Over the course of the past three days, the Red & Black have accomplished one of those goals and drawn within a whisker of the other.

On Saturday afternoon, the local lads traveled to Western Wayne and simply demolished the Wildcats. Eight Hornets recorded pins en route to a 75-4 rout and the re-capturing of the Wayne County belt.

“The kids were really pumped,” Coach Chulada said. “This has become a pretty intense rivalry, so to get a big win like that in their gym is definitely a nice feather in our cap.”

On Monday, Honesdale improved its overall record to 19-6 with lopsided wins over Mountain View and Blue Ridge.

“Mountain View is kind of down, but getting such a solid win over Blue Ridge is great,” Coach Chulada said. “They won the Division II title this year, so they’re quality team.”

Weather permitting, the Red & Black will get their shot at that coveted 20th win on Wednesday at Hanover Area. If the match is postponed, it will likely take place on Friday.

“The seniors especially are really gunning for it,” Coach Chulada said.

“Winning at least 20 dual matches three straight years is pretty rare, but this team has a real shot.”

The Belt

Honesdale dominated Saturday's battle at Western Wayne from start to finish.

The Hornets received pins from Tristyn Bodie (106), Peter West (120), Ethan Chokshi (132), Brandon Lawson (160), AJ Steffens (170), Tim Dailey (195), Justin LoBasso (220) and Walker Carney (285).

Those eight falls, coupled with four Wildcat forfeits, added up to a huge win.

Coach Chulada singled out Lawson for special praise. The battle-tested senior needed just :28 to put the clamps on Kasen Taylor, who was a district medalist and regional place winner last winter.

“I'm happy for Brandon,” he said. “Taylor is a very good wrestler and Brandon just went out there and stuck him. He was definitely our Outstanding Wrestler this time around.”

Steffens also warrants high marks for his efforts against the Wildcats. AJ pinned Alex Hollister in a time of 1:32.

“AJ's having a very nice season for himself,” Coach Chulada said. “Hollister is another good wrestler and AJ just totally dominated that one as well.”

Dominance

On paper, Monday's tri-meet at New Milford had the potential to be an exciting one. However, the Hornets imposed their will once again.

Honesdale hammered Mt. View, 78-3, and defeated Blue Ridge 57-21.

“We're really coming together as a team lately,” Coach Chulada said. “The kids have worked hard and they've definitely bought into what we're preaching.”

Drew Howell was the standout wrestler in this one. The freshman phenom currently sports a 25-6 record and has reeled off 19 consecutive wins.

Howell squared off against Gavin Crawford of Blue Ridge in a marquee match-up at 113. The two met earlier in the season and Crawford came away with a third period pin.

That wasn't the case on Monday, though, as Howell arrived on the scene looking for vengeance.

Drew fell behind early on, at one point looking at a daunting 7-2 deficit. However, the savvy young grappler adjusted his strategy and eventually took control of the bout.

Howell put on a takedown clinic in the final stanza and came away with a scintillating 9-8 decision.

“What an awesome win!” Coach Chulada exclaimed. “Drew is one smart kid. He's also very tough.

“Drew's come such a long way in a short amount of time. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us the next few years because he's just scratching the surface of his potential.”