Lakitsky wins third Schuylkill title
ORWIGSBURG - Garth Lakitsky has yet to have a bout go the distance this season.
The Tamaqua senior 215 pounder notched three more pins Saturday, becoming the first Blue Raider wrestler to win three Schuylkill wrestling titles during the SIAL All-League Tournament at Blue Mountain High School.
Lakitsky remained perfect at 23-0 on the season, as did Tamaqua senior Kolby Mashack, who captured his first league crown at 140 pounds.
Panther Valley senior Nick O'Donnell repeated as 103-pound champion, scoring a 13-1 major decision over Tamaqua freshman Colin Mashack in the finals.
Host Blue Mountain won the team title for the fourth year in a row, scoring 198 points and crowning three champions: Brandon Choate (130), who won his fourth gold and took Outstanding Wrestler honors after knocking off another defending champ, Pine Grove's Kody Rittenbaugh, by a 5-3 count; Corey Keener (119), a three-time winner; and Travis Moyer (160), who took his second straight gold.
Tri-Valley edged Tamaqua for second place, 167.5-163.5, with four Bulldogs taking golds: Brandon Tran (125), Ty Schoffstall (135), Alex Snyder (145) and Sam Scheib (152). Williams Valley also had a pair champs in Keith Witmer (189) and heavyweight Ben Ancheff.
Tamaqua sent five grapplers into the finals, with Colin Mashack, Travis Veronsky (160) and Matt Edmonds (171) ending as silver medalists.
The Raiders also received a bronze medal from Brandan Silkowski (135), fourth places from Kyle Boyer (119) and Philip Christman (145) and sixth places from Derek Hill (112) and Evan Mashack (152).
"I'm very happy with that," said Tamaqua coach Jim McCabe. "We came here with 11 kids due to injuries and discipline problems, but 10 kids placed. We had nine in the semifinals and five made the finals, and it's guaranteed that's the most we've ever had."
Lakitsky, who placed fourth in the State at Class AA 189 pounds last year, made short work of his three opponents, flattening Lamont Hills-Latshaw of Halifax in 55 seconds and Mahanoy Area's Nick Forte in 1:59 before decking Upper Dauphin's Chris Forney in just 48 seconds in the finals. That ran his pin total for the season to 19 of his 23 wins; he has also received three forfeit wins and an injury default win.
"It feels good," said Lakitsky after he won his third Schuylkill gold. "I'm glad. I have high expectations for this year, and I wanted to do good here."
On paper, Forney, a senior who was 16-0, figured to give Lakitsky a test. It was a different story on the mat, however.
Forney made the first shot and got in on a single leg, but Lakitsky shrugged it out of bounds. Lakitsky answered with a high single of his own, taking Forney down and clamping on a cradle to get the mat slap.
"I usually wait to see what they are going to do, then I make my move," said Lakitsky. "I try to relax. I've been wrestling for how many years now, and if I don't know what I am doing by now, I'm not going to."
Kolby Mashack, who finished second at leagues as a junior and freshman and third as a sophomore, downed Tri-Valley sophomore Blake Bowman 5-2 in the finals.
"It feels awesome," said Mashack. "It was one of my goals this year to get my name up on the wall of our wrestling room as a league champion."
Mashack scored the first takedown against Bowman (18-3) in the first period. "I did a slide-by," said Kolby. "He was aggressive, and I decided to use that energy to my advantage."
In the second period, Mashack got underneath Bowman's legs and flipped him on his back for a second takedown and a 4-0 lead.
In the third period, Bowman was awarded two points after he rolled Mashack down briefly, but Kolby shrugged it off for an escape to seal the win.
The Panthers' O'Donnell, now 22-4, was able to drop to 103 for the tournament thanks to the two-pound allowance, and at 104.8 pounds, that gave him a decided edge on Colin Mashack (18-5), who tips the scales around 92 pounds.
O'Donnell jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead by rolling the younger Mashack to the mat and flipping him to his back with an arm bar. O'Donnell also reversed Colin to his back in the third period for another five-point move en route to the 13-1 major.
"This was one of my goals, and it feels great that this is another championship for me," said O'Donnell. "I could tell the difference in weight, because I was able to control him a lot better than I was doing as a small 112 pounder."
Jim Thorpe's Brian Ohl (14-6), who was fourth a year ago, dropped an 8-2 decision to Pottsville soph Bailey Roos (23-4) in the 119 pound final.
Roos used his quickness to get in on Ohl's legs for two takedowns, also scoring a reversal and a two-point nearfall with a tilt. Ohl's points came on a pair of escapes.
"He (Roos) was quick on his feet and it was hard for me to take him down," said Ohl. "It felt good to get to the finals. I worked hard to get where I wanted to be."
Also in the finals, Tamaqua senior Veronsky (21-6) fell to Blue Mountain's Moyer, who used a tilt for three sets of back points in racking up a 16-1 technical fall, and Raider senior Edmonds (19-6) dropped a 12-1 verdict to Halifax sophomore Joey Kauffmann, who scored three takedowns and picked up a nearfall when Edmonds missed on a headlock attempt.
In addition to Ohl, Jim Thorpe, which placed 10th, got a pair of third places from Justin Mazzella (145) and Jon Fritz (160) and a fifth place from James Denny (125).
Panther Valley, which placed 11th, had Kory Lopata (fourth at 125), John Horvath (fifth at 189) and Mike Weaver (sixth at 160) join O'Donnell on the medal stand.