YATESVILLE ‚?? Pittston Area wanted payback on Wyoming Valley West after a loss last month in a dual.
The problem was that the Spartans entered Friday‚??s District 2 Duals Class 3A semifinal with a little more energy than the Patriots to advance to the finals with a 41-30 win.
‚??We beat Pittston at our house and they said that they could beat us here (at Pittston Area), so we just wanted to prove to them again that they couldn‚??t,‚?Ě Spartans 195-pounder Brandon Baird said.
The Spartans, who knocked off Wallenpaupack 47-27 in the quarterfinals, will hope to carry that electricity into today‚??s championship match against Delaware Valley which will start at 7 p.m. at Pittston Area. The Spartans and Warriors met just 11 days ago with the Warriors pulling out a tight win.
Delaware Valley advanced to the championship dual after dispatching Dallas (44-21) in the quarterfinals and Coughlin (58-15) in the semifinals.
‚??Now we just have some fun. We were one or two swing matches away last time now we just have to come wrestle aggressive, wrestle real hard and just enjoy it,‚?Ě Valley West coach Drew Feldman said. ‚??I think we can beat ‚??em.‚?Ě
Wyoming Valley West is in the finals for the first time since Feldman was part of the 2002 team that lost the championship to Pittston Area. The Spartans are looking for their first team title since Feldman‚??s 2001 team and are trying to advance to the PIAA Championships in Hershey for the first time in school history. When the team last won the title, it had to participate in a pigtail round.
‚??This has been a goal all year to make a run at DelVal and make a run at Hershey,‚?Ě Feldman said. ‚??I‚??ve been preaching about how important this is to the school and that this is the goal.‚?Ě
On Friday night, the Spartans jumped out to a 31-3 lead over the Patriots. But with just four bouts left, Pittston Area had trimmed the lead to 31-21 and gave all the momentum to the Patriots. Then came the 195-pound match as Baird faced John Minich with the Patriots clinging onto the momentum. But Baird came through to win via major decision in what turned out to be a swing match.
‚??It was a great feeling to win the match for my team,‚?Ě Baird said. ‚??I was feeling the pressure and that‚??s what makes it fun. That‚??s what I look at as the fun of wrestling. When there‚??s no pressure it‚??s just going out there and having a practice match.‚?Ě
After Baird‚??s win, the Patriots won the next two matches on a decision from Jake Vaxmonsky at 220 and a fall from Brian Mlodzienski at 285 to cut the lead to 35-30 with just the 106-pound match left. But Valley West‚??s James Wright was too much for Chris Starinsky notching a fall to secure the victory.
The two semifinal losers had dramatic wins in the quarters.
Coughlin defeated West Scranton 33-25 by winning the final two bouts. Jordan Phillips picked up a 10-4 decision at 220 and Brad Emerick sealed the victory with a fall in 39 seconds at 285.
Pittston Area also went down to the final match to advance with a win over Lackawanna League No. 2 seed Scranton. The Patriots trailed the Knights 32-30 entering the final bout when Mlodzienski gave the win to the Patriots with a fall over Michael Ray in 1:30 for the 36-32 win.
Pittston Area 170-pounder Angelo Lussi recorded his 100th career win with a pin over Scranton‚??s Isaiah Burgette in the quarterfinals.