Wash High feels right at home in first place

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observer-reporter.com/HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Thursday, January 15, 1998

Wash High feels right at home in first place

BY F. DALE LOLLEY
THE OBSERVER-REPORTER

ROGERSVILLE -- In wrestling, like all sports, opponents are always looking for ways to gain an edge.

That is why Washington's 36-19 victory here over West Greene High School Wednesday night means much more than just another Section 3-AA win.

"This is a big psychological win for us," said coach Matt Midea. "It's been a while since we've been able to beat them down here."

Despite having had its share of success this decade, Washington (5-0, 7-0), the Observer-Reporter's No. 1-rated Class AA wrestling team, had not won at West Greene (3-1, 5-2) in the '90s. And considering that these two teams could meet again in the WPIAL Team Tournament, Wednesday's victory by the Little Prexies could serve as an edge for Washington.

"If we face them again, it will probably be at our place or at least at a neutral place," said Midea. "I don't care, just so long as it is not at West Greene."

Midea and Pioneers' coach Allen Hughes expected a tight match and neither was disappointed with the early results.

Dan Mousetis accepted a forfeit at 103, and Dan Kosek followed that up with a hard-fought, 7-5, overtime victory over B.J. Kennedy to give the Prexies a 9-0 lead.

But Luke Vitolo closed the lead to 9-4 with an impressive 12-0 major decision over Washington's Kurt Rush at 119, and Greg Deter made it 9-7 with a thrilling 8-6 win over David Cox at 125, scoring the winning takedown as time expired.

West Greene juggled its lineup in an effort to get more favorable matchups in the middle weights, sliding Andrew Courtwright to 130, No. 1-rated 130-pounder Shawn Whyte to 135, and Danny Rudman to 140. Washington countered by flipping No. 1-rated 135-pounder Matt Lopresti to 140 and 140-pounder Joe Kubas to 135 to face Whyte.

"For us to win, we had to have 130 and 140," said Hughes. "We wanted Whyte on Lopresti, but they moved him down."

Washington 130-pounder Mike Mousetis foiled the Pioneers' plans by getting a takedown with 16 seconds remaining in the third period to steal a 12-11 victory from Courtwright that put the Prexies ahead 12-7.

Whyte then pinned the gritty Kubas with just 1:08 left in their match to give West Greene its first lead, 13-12.

The lead, however, was short-lived as Lopresti scored an 11-2 major decision over Rudman, giving Washington a 16-13 lead.

West Greene's L.J. Kennedy defeated Jeff Florian, 7-1, at 145 to tie the match, before Sean Thomas put the Prexies ahead to stay, 20-16, with 13-3 major decision over Chad Lough.

Scott Belcastro showed why he is the O-R's top-rated 160-pounder, making short work of Mike Hostetler, recording a pin in just 28 seconds for a 26-16 Washington lead.

West Greene freshman Mike Miller then stunned Matt Brison at 171, escaping with 39 seconds left in the match and then fighting off numerous scoring attempts to get a 4-3 win.

"Miller's a pretty good freshman, I don't think a lot of people know much about him because he's so young, but I think he's like 11-4 now," said Hughes.

Tim Carl and Mike Rudy finished off the Washington win with a major decision at 189 and a pin at heavyweight over Jason Pierce and Billy Moore, respectively.

Washington, which has just two section matches remaining -- against Jefferson-Morgan and Charleroi -- now can determine its fate as far as winning the section and getting a good seed in the team tournament.

"We've still got to push ourselves," said Midea. "I'm satisfied with the win tonight, but we can be better. We're still not quite where we want to be, but we will be."




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