McGuffey drops loss on Trinity

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Thursday, January 15, 1998

McGuffey drops loss on Trinity


CLAYSVILLE -- For one night, wrestling stepped back to the 1970s, when emotions ran high and rivalries were red-hot.

Inside a packed gymnasium at McGuffey High School, the Highlanders tore a 32-17 decision away from arch-rival Trinity.

This rivalry has always been strong, but rarely has it been so emotional as Wednesday night. This dual meet was complete with penalty points, a team-point deduction and enough banter between the wrestlers to fill a chalkboard if a rematch occurs in the WPIAL Team Tournament.

Barring a major upset, both teams will be there. With last night's win, the No. 2 Highlanders (6-0, 9-0) have the inside track over the No. 4 Hillers (4-1, 4-1) on the Section 5-AAA title but No. 9 Canon-McMillan (6-0, 6-3) and No. 5 Waynesburg (4-0, 9-2) still remain in the road.

"It was real hard-fought,'' said McGuffey head coach Mark Caffrey. "Trinity had ideas of upsetting us and every match was barn-burner.''

The Highlanders got pins at the beginning and end while Trinity won six of the middle 11 bouts. In eight of those 11, crucial team points were either won or lost in the final seconds.

At 119, Andy Migyanko didn't hear referee Jim Horner's stalling call on McGuffey's Jared Gashel. To the shock of Trinity fans, Migyanko let Gashel up with 15 seconds left, winning 9-2.

At 125, Joe Reihner took McGuffey's Rick Bauer to his back in the final seconds but didn't have enough time for backpoints, winning 10-4.

Following that bout, Matt Helicke took Trinity's Ryan Powell down at the buzzer for a 13-5 major decision and Mike Downey fended off a late takedown effort by Trinity's Todd Day in a 9-3 loss at 135.

"It was an intense dual meet,'' Trinity coach John Abajce said. "Our No. 1 goal was to be section champion and we knew we'd have to beat McGuffey. I liked the fight in our kids.''

The Highlanders' most important win probably came at 140 after Trinity had pulled to within five, 14-9. But Jim Hanning fell into a 5-2 hole thanks in part to two penalty points, both for unnecessary roughness, against Trinity's Ben Junko. Hanning managed to harness his emotions and scored four third-period points for a 6-5 win.

"He lost his composure a little bit,'' said Caffrey. "We were trying to get him to keep his composure and he did at the end.''

Two bouts later, it was Trinity's Neil Bednarski who couldn't keep his emotions in check and it cost a team point. After a 9-6 decision over Rich Kelley at 152, Bednarski began yelling toward the McGuffey bench and Horner deducted a team point, turning a 20-12 McGuffey lead to 20-11.

After Nick Richmond's pin of John Burns at 171, McGuffey held a 26-14 lead and needed two pins to win the match. Josh Ritter stopped McGuffey's Mike Abriatis 6-1 at 189 and the Highlanders could breath easy.

"Maybe Trinity knows some of our boys have quick tempers,'' Caffrey said. "We had to tell them not to use their emotions. It didn't hurt us but it did scare us.''

That's because Caffrey knows that these matches can turn so quickly, just like they used to do two decades ago




Copyright ©1998 Observer Publishing Co. Last updated 1-15-98