Four area wrestlers win titles
bob ford/times news Jim Thorpe's Kevan Gentile (top) has Tamaqua's Jasper Stocker in a cradle during their match. Gentile went on to capture the tournament championship at 106 pounds.
While there might have been different agendas for the teams involved at Saturday's Coal Cracker Round Robin Tournament, the ultimate goal was still the same.
Several TIMES NEWS area wrestlers made the most of the opportunity, as Jim Thorpe's Kevan Gentile, Tamaqua's Colin Mashack and host-team Panther Valley's Len Ogozalek and Rian Shubeck each won individual titles at the fifth annual event.
Ogozalek, who went 5-0 as the second seed at 113 pounds, was happy with his performance against such a tough field.
"It feels really good. I had some good matches against a lot of tough competition, and I'm really happy with the way I performed," Ogozalek said. "And it's really nice to do this well at our home tournament."
Shubeck posted a 4-0 mark as the top-seed at 220 pounds after winning the title at 285 last season. The junior, who is 21-4 this year, hopes to keep progressing as the season winds down.
"I think I'm wrestling well right now," he said. "Hopefully I'll keep getting better and make it further and do better than I did last year."
Mashack (23-1) continued his run of success this season, going 5-0 as the top seed at 126 pounds with all of his victories coming by fall or technical fall.
"Overall, I feel really good about today," Mashack said. "It always gives me confidence wrestling well in tournaments like this.
"But I see the same people a lot, so I'm usually facing consistent styles. I'm looking forward to seeing some different competition to really get my technique and position perfected."
With the postseason right around the corner, Tamaqua coach Jon Mashack knows a step up in competition will be the true measure of how well the talented senior is performing.
"He needs to be tested, and hopefully he will be coming into districts," the coach said. "With Tri-Valley and Panther Valley coming up, hopefully we'll get matchups that will get him pushed."
After taking third at last week's Schuylkill Wrestling Championships, Gentile (23-2) rebounded nicely by going 5-0 as the top seed at 106 pounds.
"I thought he wrestled really well today. I think he's back on track," Jim Thorpe coach Shawn Albert said of the sophomore. "He had a tough week there where I didn't think he looked healthy. He looks good right now."
In addition to Ogozalek and Shubeck, Panther Valley also got strong performances from Darren Goida (120), Hunter Davidyock (138), Richard Nase (195) and Lukas Mika (285), who each earned second place finishes in their respective weight classes.
The Panthers used those impressive showings to claim a third place finish in the team standings behind runner-up Dieruff and champion Midd-West, a result that pleased Panther Valley coach Tim Robb.
"Everybody wrestled well. It was a good day, wrestling-wise," the coach said. "Everybody contributed today. We finished ahead of a very good Catty team and right behind a good Dieruff team. It was a good day."
While Masahck may have been Tamaqua's only individual champion, the team certainly didn't go home empty handed.
Dylan Rynkiewicz (132) took second while teammates Tanner McHugh (113), Ty Hinkle (138) and Adam Toth (152) each claimed third place finishes, propelling the Blue Raiders to fifth place in the final team standings.
"I'm ecstatic with how those guys wrestled," coach Mashack said. "As we're approaching districts, I'm hoping that those results give them some confidence."
Jim Thorpe's other place-winner was Antonio Madera, who finished third at 145 pounds.
The Olympians took sixth-place overall, and with District Duals set to begin later this week, Albert knows the team will have to perform better against some of the best competition it has faced all season.
"We're continuing to measure ourselves in terms of where we're going to be heading into districts and we've got work to do," he said. "Once you get out of the Schuylkill League it gets tough and we found that out today.
"But it's better to find out now than at districts."