Lake-Lehman battled the obstacle of trying to overcome a small roster and three forfeits all the way to its third straight appearance in the District 2 Class AA Dual Meet wrestling championship match.
The Black Knights put together a late surge in each of their three matches Feb. 1 at the Kingston Armory, pulling out wins in the first two rounds and forcing the championship match to go down to the final bout.
Ultimately, Lake-Lehman was unable to overcome the 18 points it handed away early in what became a 40-36 win by Western Wayne on a pin in the closing 195-pound bout.
Western Wayne has defeated Lake-Lehman in the last three dual meet finals by a total of 15 points. In each of the last two years, Lake-Lehman came back to take the team-scoring title at the individual tournament, which advances wrestlers to the Northeast Regional in pursuit of state tournament berths.
“My staff and I are very pleased with the accomplishments of the team to this point and looking forward to getting prepared for the individual district tournament,” Lake-Lehman coach Tom Williams said. “Considering the three forfeits in most matches, it’s a good year to this point from a dual-meet standpoint.
“Throughout the year, the starters have faced a great deal of pressure to account for the fact that we’re giving up three forfeits. They’ve done a great job all year.”
The dual meet tournament represented District 2’s debut at the Kingston Armory, which will also host the individual tournament Feb. 21-22.
Western Wayne picked up forfeits at each of the first three weight classes for an early 22-9 lead. The Wildcats extended that margin to 19 points twice before Robert Wright, Thomas Williams, Derek Dragon and Brady Butler strung together four straight wins from 152 to 182.
Butler’s pin in 1:18 gave Lake-Lehman just its second lead, 36-34, with one bout remaining.
Butler, who also wrestled once at 195, and Justin Winters, who wrestled at 285, each finished the day with three pins.
Austin Harry remained unbeaten with two pins and a major decision at 138 and 145.
Williams (160), Dragon (170) and Rodney Driscoll (120-126) also went 3-0 on the day.
Lake-Lehman began the day by overcoming a six-point deficit when Jesse Tomolonis, Harry, Wright, Williams and Dragon won the final five bouts for a 49-30 victory over Nanticoke in the quarterfinals.
The Black Knights (11-7 overall) topped Wyoming Area, 41-24, by winning five of the last six bouts, including first-period pins by Williams, Dragon and Josh Bullock in a combined 3:41 in the final three.
Lake-Lehman entered the tournament as the top seed from the Wyoming Valley Conference after going 5-1 to finish tied for first in Division 2 with Meyers and Tunkhannock. The Black Knights landed the top seed over Meyers after beating the Mohawks in their league match.
Dallas qualified for the Class AAA event where it lost its first two matches to finish tied for seventh out of eight teams. The Mountaineers fell to Delaware Valley, 48-18, in the quarterfinals and, 51-21, to Wallenpaupack in the consolation bracket.
Ryan Monk had a pair of pins for Dallas at 285.
Logan Brace (160) and Connor Martinez (170) each won twice, including one pin.