Migyanko stood out in a great year

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observer-reporter.com/HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

Monday, March 23, 1998

Migyanko stood out in a great year


Vanilla or chocolate? Coke or Pepsi? Ginger or Maryann?

Life is full of decisions, and selecting this year's Outstanding Wrestler for the Observer-Reporter All-District Wrestling Team was not an easy task.

There were so many great success stories. Consider:

© Waynesburg's Pat O'Donnell surprises everyone in a very unpredictable 152-pound weight class in Class AAA to win the title.

© Brad Mockler of Canon-McMillan scratches his way through the 125-pound weight class, winning the title against a wrestler whose style matched his move for move.

© McGuffey's Nick Richmond, despite a shoulder injury, gives a heroic effort against Northampton's Christian Luciano before dropping a four-point decision in the 171-pound finals.

© Ulysses Davis, an 103-pounder, works wonders in the weight class and narrowly misses becoming Beth-Center's first state champion.

And there were so many more.

But thanks to a remarkable comeback effort, that included championships in the Section 5-AAA, Southwest Regional and PIAA tournaments, Andy Migyanko of Trinity has earned this year's title of Outstanding Wrestler on this year's O-R All-District Wrestling Team.

Migyanko was undefeated in the postseason, winning his final 11 bouts to finish with a 37-1 mark and a 141-13 career record. The 141 wins tops Trinity's career winning list, easily outdistancing Jon Truby's 117.

But this season was more than just numbers; it was about a comeback not normally seen in wrestling. Migyanko was a state runner-up as a sophomore but failed to place in his junior season, and getting pinned in the wrestlebacks. A new season brought a new determination.

"We never doubted his abilities or talents,'' said Trinity coach John Abajace. "It was easy (getting back) with Andy because he's such a hard worker. He's so committed and dedicated and he knew all that hard work would pay off.''

The others who now know are Jason Weller of Shippensburg, who Migyanko beat 9-1 in the first round; Tim Kurtz of Shamokin, a 6-3 victim; Methacton's Jeff Albano, who lost 6-5; and Mike Diaz of Dubois, who Migyanko beat 10-4 in the finals.

Migyanko led a group of 26 wrestlers on the two teams. Wrestlers were chosen by how well they performed in their weight class.

Matt Midea, who led Washington to the team championship and coached three wrestlers to the state tournament, was named Class AA Coach of the Year.

Mark Caffrey, who guided McGuffey to a team title and had two state qualifiers, was the Class AAA Coach of the Year.

As usual, the Observer-Reporter reserved the right to select an athlete, who because of injury or illness was unable to compete. Any ties were broken by individual records.

The following is a brief look at the remaining 12 wrestlers on the first team.

Scott Belcastro, 38-5Washington, 152-AA

Belcastro competed in one of the toughest weight classes in Class AA and finished fifth. He lost only three times in the postseason, twice to Nick Frick of Central and once to eventual state champion Nevada Walker of Commodore Perry.

Belcastro was a WPIAL champion and Southwest Region runner-up. He finished career with a 118-34 record.

Tim Bennett, 31-2Fort Cherry, Hvy-AA

The 6-4, 275-pound senior lost only once in the postseason, being pinned by eventual state champion Josh Snyder of Hershey in the state quarterfinals.

Bennett, a WPIAL and region champion, won four bouts in the wrestlebacks to finish third in the state. His 31-2 record made him 66-21 in his career.

Ulysses Davis, 30-5Beth-Center, 103-AA

Davis' attempt to become the first state champion in Beth-Center history fell one bout short, a 7-3 loss to Chris Fleeger of Loyalsock in the 103-pound finals.

A WPIAL runner-up and regional champion, Davis made his sophomore season one to remember. His 30-5 record moved his career mark to 56-17.

Jim Hanning, 37-6McGuffey, 140-AAA

One of the strongest 140-pounders in the state, Hanning's run to a state title was ended by Hunter Guenot of Bald Eagle Area in the semifinals, 3-1.

Hanning, a junior, finished sixth in the state after a second-place finish in the region and a first place in Section 5. His career record is 99-19.

Randy Mort, 21-6Beth-Center, 145-AA

Mort, who missed part of the season with a shoulder injury, couldn't get past Washington's Sean Thomas, who beat the B-C senior in the finals of the WPIAL and regional tournaments and for third place in the state tournament.

Mort, whose helter-skelter style on the mat made him a fan favorite, finished his career at 104-24.

Brad Mockler, 35-2Can-McMillan, 125-AAA

He made a habit of winning close bouts in the state tournament and that produced a PIAA gold medal with a 5-4 win over Byron Warner of Dallastown. Mockler's four victories were by a combined seven bout points.

A Section 5 champion and regional runner-up, Mockler finished his career with a 136-20 record.

Pat O'Donnell, 38-2Waynesburg, 152-AAA

The surprise of the Class AAA tournament in Hershey, O'Donnell whipped through the weight class after first-round upsets claimed five regional champions.

The turning point for the junior came in an 8-6 overtime victory over James Woodall of Pittston. His 3-1 victory over Eric Woehr of Pennridge in the finals capped a great season. He finished second in the region and first in Section 5. He takes an 86-19 mark into next season.

Nick Richmond, 34-3McGuffey, 171-AAA

Showed grit and determination while battling through a shoulder injury late in the season. He battled way to the state finals, where he fell to Northampton's Christian Luciano, 7-3.

A section runner-up and regional champion, Richmond has compiled a 76-17 career mark and will probably enter next season as the top 171-pounder in the state.

Mike Seybold, 36-5Waynesburg, 119-AAA

He clawed way back from a quarterfinal loss to finish fourth at Hershey. The senior lost only twice in the postseason.

A Section 5 and regional champion, Seybold compiled a 122-28 career mark.

Sean Thomas, 39-4Washington, 145-AA

Thomas worked his way through what was considered the toughest weight class in Class AA in Hershey. His only misstep, a 7-2 loss to eventual state champion Gabe Webster, was his only loss in the postseason.

Thomas has a career record of 100-16 and could pass Kevin Bednarski's school record of 122 victories next season.

Shawn Whyte, 39-4West Greene 125-AA

A four-time WPIAL champion, Whyte lost only two bouts in his last two trips to the state tournament. Both came at the hands of the eventual state champion, Tom Waldron of Loyalsock. Thatled to two third-place finishes.

Whyte, a regional runner-up, finished his career with a 148-21 mark, the best mark in school history.

John Williams, 29-5Peters Township, 160-AAA

Saved his best for last. Williams' remarkable run ended with a third-place finish in Hershey. His only loss came to the eventual state champion, Robbie Waller of Mt. Pleasant, in the semifinals.

His 29 wins in his senior year were 17 fewer than he compiled in his sophomore and junior seasons




Copyright ©1998 Observer Publishing Co. Last updated 3-23-98