STROUDSBURG - The winner of Wednesday night's wrestling match between Pleasant Valley and Stroudsburg would give itself a big advantage toward winning the Mountain Valley Conference championship.
In the end, it was the Mounties pinning down the Bears' hopes and walking away with smiles on their faces.
Eli Angradi's pin three minutes and forty-two seconds into the final match sent the Stroudsburg fan base into cheers, as the Mounties topped the Bears 41-29. Normally it would be the last match of the year for both teams, but due to postponements each team still has matches remaining on the schedule. However, the Mounties all but sealed up their third conference title in a row as they would have to lose both of their next two matches in order for the Bears to steal away the trophy.
"We gave up too many bonus points," said Pleasant Valley head coach Mark Getz. "We haven't done that all year, but that is what beat us tonight. We gave up bonus points in every match that I felt was a toss-up coming in.
"I figured 215 and heavyweight would be toss-ups and could have gone either way, but we gave up two pins there. 119 was huge with a pin there. And that was the problem. We gave up way too much bonus."
The night didn't start out well for the Bears, as they dropped the first three matches starting at 152. Stroudsburg's Aaron Transue (152) and Coby Nordmark (171) each earned major decisions, while teammate Alex Leh posted a decision in between.
Pleasant Valley's Hunter Deihl tried to supply his team with a spark at 189. The Mounties' Robbie Karstendiek took down Deihl and had a near fall for about a second, but Deihl quickly reversed him and was able to get the pin in an amazing turn of events. However, Stroudsburg followed the loss with pins by Kenny Rogers (215) and Cody Cooper (285).
"Aaron Brewer got taken down with a couple seconds left to give up the major decision and David Gehr did the same thing," said Getz. "I thought Gehr could have won that match against Transue, but we gave up a major there. For how proud I have been of the team this year, I was that disappointed with them tonight."
Kenny Yanovich and Sean Bianco attempted to start a comeback for the Bears at 103 and 112 respectively, but together they could only earn six points on two decisions. Stroudsburg's Mike Cassano then surprised the crowd by earning a pin in the 119 bout and pushed the Mounties' lead to 29-12.
Ernie Klingel and Mike Dahlstrom, two of Pleasant Valley's top wrestlers, did their jobs and recorded pins in the 125 and 130 matches. The 12 points closed the gap to five (29-24), but Eric Howey's pin of Josh Perry at 135 pretty much sealed the victory for Stroudsburg with just two matches to go.
Alex Yanovich tried to keep his team alive, as he and Albert Linares needed to post two consecutive falls to win the match. Yanovich earned a technical fall over Jason Berger at the 5:44 mark, but Angradi handled his business in the last match of the night and propelled the Mounties to victory.
Coming into Wednesday night, the Bears were undefeated in the conference and were perhaps a little a head of where Getz thought they would be. At the beginning of the season, Getz called this a 'challenge year' due to all of the turnover from a year ago. Afterward, Getz couldn't put his finger on why his team had slipped up.
"I have been pretty happy with them up until now," said Getz. "I don't know if we just didn't step up. I don't know if people were nervous. I don't know what it was.
"I don't know if some of our young kids were shell-shocked in a big match like this or what, but we can't be like that. It is just another match. That is all it is and you can't get all caught up in the moment."
Stroudsburg 41, Pleasant Vy. 29
103 - Kenny Yanovich (PV) dec. over Guesseppe Rea, 2-0.
112 - Sean Bianco (PV) dec. over Jeff Hernandez, 12-6.
119 - Mike Cassano (S) pinned James Felipa in 5:13.
125 - Ernie Klingel (PV) pinned Brian Morales in 1:52.
130 - Mike Dahlstrom (PV) pinned Jake Bendixen in 3:41.
135 - Eric Howey (S) pinned Josh Perry in 1:23.
140 - Alex Yanovich (PV) tech. fall over Jason Berger in 5:44.
145 - Eli Angradi (S) pinned Albert Linares in 3:42.
*152 - Aaron Transue (S) major dec. over David Gehr, 9-1.
160 - Alex Leh (S) dec. over Darquise Harper, 6-1.
171 - Coby Nordmark (S) major dec. over Aaron Brewer, 8-0.
189 - Hunter Deihl (PV) pinned Robbie Karstendiek in 3:20.
215 - Kenny Rogers (S) pinned Rich Hardgrove in 1:16.
285 - Cody Cooper (S) pinned Mike Benner in 1:39.