Waller comes up big for Mt. Pleasant
While trying to get headlocks on one another, Mt. Pleasant's Jonathan Huesdash (on top) wrestling at 119 pounds is pitted against Trinity's Andy Migyanko. Trinity won the match 5 to 4. (Eric McCandless/Tribune-Review)By Paul Schofield
For the past month, Mt. Pleasant wrestler Robbie Waller sat on the bench and watched his teammates while he recovered from a head injury sustained in an automobile accident Jan. 4. The Vikings (13-0) didn't need him during those seven matches. They needed him Tuesday night and the senior responded in a big way.
Waller's first-period pin of John Burns in the 171-pound match sealed Mt. Pleasant's 29-25 victory against Trinity and puts them into Thursday's semifinals of the WPIAL Class AAA team tournament against Connellsville. The Falcons rallied from a 21-10 deficit to defeat Waynesburg, 26-21.
Waller's victory came at the right time for the Vikings, who were struggling against Trinity's defensive style. "Trinity was well-prepared," Mt. Pleasant coach Rob Waller said. "They wrestled defensively and stopped some of our better moves. A couple of our guys didn't have their best nights."
Trinity (9-3) won seven of the 12 matches, but the Hillers never were able to get the lead. A forfeit to Harley Anderson at 103 and Brandon Newill's 4-0 victory against Eric Micheal gave Mt. Pleasant a 9-0 lead. Trinity's wrestler at 103 was out with the flu. "Giving them the forfeit at 103 didn't help," said Trinity coach John Abajace.
The two squads then split the next six matches. Ryan Swartz (125) and Erick Eyth (135) posted major decision victories for the Vikings. Andy Migyanko (119), Todd Day (130) and Ben Junko (140) won decisions for Trinity.
John Lloyd's second-period pin of Steve Healy at 145 put the Vikings up 23-9.
Trinity charged back. Neil Bendarski's 14-1 major decision victory against Steve Stolitca and Hamilton Baird's 7-3 victory against Ron Keslar cut Mt. Pleasant's lead to 23-16. That's when coach Waller decided to gamble and send out his son. "I knew Robbie would get a pin," he said. "It was a safe gamble."
Waller's pin assured the Vikings of a victory. "It was my turn to pick up my teammates," said Robbie Waller, who pointed to the bench after his pin. "I knew the match would be a war. I kept telling my teammates that all day."
"It helped having him back," said Eyth. "We worked hard when Robbie was out. He paid us back for that extra work. We told him he had to pin and there was no doubt he would do it."
Trinity won the final two matches, Josh Ritter getting a pin at 189 and Matt Smith a 3-2 overtime decision at heavyweight. Despite the loss, Abajace was proud of his team's effort. "We wrestled them strong and tough," he said. "We scouted them Saturday and the team did a good job staying away from Mt. Pleasant's strengths. That team is tough to beat with Robbie back in the lineup. They're probably the best left in the tournament."