School: Hazleton Area
Weight Class: 182 pounds
All in the Family: Steve is the son of Melissa and Steve Longazel Sr. of Hazleton. His sister Cassandra is a freshman at Hazleton Area and a state champion gymnast competing for Scorpion Gymnastics of Bloomsburg. He also has a sister named Calissa, who is in the second grade of the Hazleton Area school system.
Statistically speaking: Longazel won all four of his matches to capture the 182-pound championship of the Wyoming Valley Conference Tournament. Along the way, he upended tournament favorite Brady Butler in the semifinals before quickly securing the crown with a 25-second pin in the finals.
Locking them down: The league tourney couldn’t have played out much better for Longazel. First, he extracted a measure of revenge on Lake-Lehman’s highly-regarded Butler, pulling off the upset of the tournament by taking a 6-5 decision in the 182-pound semifinals — where Longazel fell 9-2 to Butler last season. Then Longazel sealed his crown by catching Wyoming Valley West’s Jamaar Taylor with a headlock in the finals, pinning down his crown within the match’s opening half-minute.
Coach’s Corner: “When he gets a kid on his back, the kid usually doesn’t get off — because he’s so strong,” Hazleton Area coach Keith Maurer said. “He’s had some really bright spots this year, and there are some matches he’d like to get back. He’s a determined individual, there’s no doubt about that. I think once he steps on the mat with anybody, he’s capable of wrestling with them.”
Did you know? Longazel gets a blast from the past, and is so old school, he plans on having a future in school. Even as a sophomore, Longazel could probably give some of his opponents a history lesson. “I like learning about the history of the United States,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to being a history teacher when I get older.”
From his angle: “It gave me a lot of confidence,” Longazel said of his battle with Butler. “He was a real tough kid, he beat me up pretty good last year. It (the semifinal victory) proved all my work in the offseason was paying off. In the finals, I had to finish what I’ve been working for in the offseason. I usually get pins, normally never that fast. When he (Taylor) shot into me, he picked his head up. I just hit him with a headlock. If I catch him with a headlock, that will be that. I’ve never had anybody get out from a pinning combiniation. I always stick them. I hadn’t won a tournament at all this year, so I’ve been working hard in the room. It ended up working out.”
Week in Review: GAR’s hard-luck 220-pounder Zac Faust finally worked his way to the top. After finishing runner-up at his last two wrestling tournaments, Faust captured the crown of the Wyoming Valley Conference tourney with a dramatic 3-1 overtime victory — which came when he recorded a takedown with just 12 seconds remaining. Dallas’ Ryan Monk apparently didn’t want to cut it that close, using a first-period pin to win the tourney’s 285-pound title bout to join Longazel as the only wrestlers in the tourney to pin their opponents in the first period of title matches. The only other pins in the tourney title matches came from two Wyoming Valley West wrestlers, Cody Cordes at 160 and Travis Roper —who emerged with his second WVC tourney title at 132. Lake-Lehman’s Austin Harry also won his second WVC title, and kept his 16-0 season intact, with a major decision at 138. Hazleton Area freshman Jimmy Hoffman stunned the tourney with a major decision to take the 120-pound title. In the finals, he defeated GAR’s returning state qualifier A.J. Luton — who had a pretty impressive tournament run himself with three pins in the opening rounds. And in one of the more thrilling matches of the league finals, Valley West’s Nathan Cheek captured the 145-pound title with a 3-2 victory, handing Tunkhannock’s Ben Siegel his first loss of the season. …
Not lost in a boys basketball battle between Hazleton Area and Tunkhannock was a shootout between two of the area’s top scorers. Sal Biasi scored 36 points to lead Hazleton Area to victory, while Austin Yanora kept Tunkhannock hanging around with 31 points. The Tigers also received a 24-point effort from Sean Soltysiak in that defeat. Meyers was also defeated by Constitution, but not before Tyriek Steward drew up 27 of the Mohawks’ 47 points. Mike Malshefski hit the high total for the week, scoring 37 points to lead Nanticoke Area over Wyoming Area. …
Alexis Lewis keeps going to the top of the scoring charts for the Holy Redeemer girls basketball team. Despite a couple of cold spells in both games, she led everyone with 23 points in a loss to defending District 2 Class 3A champ Scranton Prep, then came back with 27 to lead the Royals to victory in their WVC Division II opener against Lake-Lehman. Crestwood’s Maddie Ritsick led new coach Pat Brogan to his first divisional victory, scoring 20 points to bring the Comets back from an early 13-point deficit in a WVC Division I opener against defending champ Dallas. Liz Waleski reminded everyone Pittston Area will still be in the Division I championship conversation when she scored 20 of the Patriots’ 45 points in a division-opening victory over Berwick. Meyers received a big boost from Quinniea Gross, who finished with 23 points in a victory over MMI Prep. And GAR’s Brea Seabrook topped the everyone in the league by scoring 28 points in a three-point loss to Scranton. …
Dallas’ Kaylin Augustine keeps piling up points for the Mountaineers’ girls swimming team. She won four times to lead Dallas past Holy Redeemer, winning individual races in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly and then teaming up for relay victories in the 200 and 400 freestyle events.