Yanovich heading to Hershey
mike feifel/times news Pleasant Valley's Kenny Yanovich (left) battles Easton's Evan Fidelibus in the Class AAA Regional semifinals. Yanovich won the bout.
Kenny Yanovich looked bummed Saturday night.
He sat on the cold floor in the hallway of Liberty's Memorial Gymnasium with his head slumped. His body language personified someone struggling to deal with what just had happened to him on the main stage of the Northeast Regional 3A tournament.
He wondered what he has to do to beat Parkland's Ethan Lizak.
The Trojan junior went demolition style on Yanovich in the 113-pound finals Saturday night, making a 12-2 major decision over Yanovich look easy.
It's that easy part that Yanovich didn't like.
"I really can't take too much away from that match because I pretty much got beaten up," said the Bears' junior. "I tried everything we worked on this week, but I guess he was a little angry from not winning his semifinal match the way he wanted to and took it out on me."
Lizak (40-2) closed out Northampton's Todd Hetrick 6-3 in the semifinals and admitted that some of that struggle did end up on Yanovich's lap in the finals.
"That may have happened, but also seeing my brother lose his match [finals] got me upset too," said Lizak about his motivation heading into the finals. "I was getting my shots down and my counter shots were working. Everything just seemed to work."
That everything part is what was toughest for Yanovich, as he looked dejected after the finals. He knows that's all water under the bridge now as he looks towards Thursday's opening day of the PIAA wrestling championships.
It's Yanovich's third trip to Hershey and he'll be heading out solo, as his teammate, senior James Felipa (120), lost in the third place consolation bout 8-4 to Nazareth's Tyler Tarsi.
"I've been waiting all year to get this chance and I really want to get a medal," said Yanovich (34-4), about competing at states. "I was close to medaling my freshman year and then I was hurt last year at states and lost my first two matches, so I'm really hoping that the third time will be the charm."
Coach Mark Getz doesn't think having only one wrestler at states will be a problem, in terms of focus, especially for someone like Yanovich. He would have liked to send Felipa (28-13) as well, but understood the harsh reality of regional wrestling doesn't pay off for everyone.
Still, for someone like Felipa to even be in position to qualify for states, validated Getz's sentiment about a senior he's going to miss.
"A lot of people don't realize that James only started wrestling as a ninth grader," Getz said. "We always kid on him a little bit because his first match he got pinned by a girl and you can laugh about it, but here he had an opportunity to head to Hershey. It just goes on to show you how much work he put in and how far he came along.
"I'm not disappointed at all with him. He's a great kid, but we really wish he could have advanced."
And Yanovich wishes that this weekend will last until Saturday's medal round, no matter what happened against Lizak.
"I'm more confident going out there," he said. "I've been there before and now I just need to get a medal."