Up against deep West Mifflin and Derry lineups, short-handed Indiana had little chance to win the ninth annual Harry “Bo” Wood Wrestling Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Fifth Street Gymnasium.
But their seven wrestlers amassed an impressive 21-6 record, a collective effort that propelled the underdog Indians to a third-place finish with 122 points behind only second-place Derry (172) and first-place West Mifflin (199 1/2).
The Titans, who finished second in the tournament in 2011, nabbed their third straight team crown.
West Shamokin collected 120 points and placed fourth in the seven-team tournament that included Keystone (103), Taylor Allderdice (82) and Westinghouse (28 1/2).
“We wrestled with what we had and we wrestled with confidence. We performed well,” second-year Indiana coach Anthony Donatelli said. “We’re a young team, especially in terms of mat experience, so it was nice to see our guys compete in four or five matches in a short span. We held our own with some WPIAL, District 9 and City League teams.”
Four Indiana wrestlers went unbeaten and won their respective weight classes, and two others placed second. Senior Jacob Kunselman (285 pounds) went 3-0, junior Brian Waryck (152) finished 4-0, sophomore Trent Orr (195) went 4-0, and freshman Bobby Bell (160) finished 4-0.
Sophomore Joe Cook (138) went 3-1 and took second, and senior Lucas Cline (170) finished 3-2 and placed second.
“It wasn’t (the) Powerade (tournament) but Mark Kunselman and the boosters did a great job of putting things together, everyone got a lot of matches, and everyone wrestled well,” Donatelli said.
Kunselman bumped up to 285 from 220 on account of the absence of the Indians’ usual heavyweight, Kyle Nothnagel (6-2), who has missed practice recently because of a family vacation. Also, 126-pounder Ben Turner (7-1) had to sit out due to an illness.
Three Derry wrestlers went undefeated and placed first in their respective weight divisions, including returning PIAA champ and sophomore Micky Phillippi.
Phillippi, last year’s outstanding wrestler in the tournament, breezed past three opponents with three falls. Phillippi placed fifth at 120 in last Saturday’s Powerade Christmas Tournament at Canon-McMillan High School.
Phillippi said it felt good to build some steam before next weekend’s Westmoreland County Coaches Association tournament, especially following a disappointing finish, at least by his standards, at Powerade.
“I embrace the challenge, and I’ve learned from all the losses I’ve taken,” said Phillippi, a third-place finisher at last year’s WCCA tournament and the ninth-ranked 120-pounder in the country, according to Intermatwrestle.com. “I know what I’ve got to do for next time, and I’m ready to do it. This week I’m hoping to get two good matches before counties to build momentum going in. Luke Pletcher, Ricky Cavallo and Justin Patrick are all in my bracket, and that’s good, but I’m definitely focused on trying to get my first title there.”
Derry sophomore Stone Kepple (126) finished 3-0 and took first, and sophomore Cole Wano (113) notched first-period falls in his only two matches and placed first.
Two West Shamokin wrestlers had perfect records, including junior Brendan Glover (182), who garnered the tournament’s outstanding wrestler award after going 5-0 with four falls. Glover nipped Keystone’s Zach Stiglitz, 2-1, in his final bout of the day.
“He’s our captain and he’s a very hard-working, mature junior. He had a really good day today,” first-year West Shamokin coach Tyler Altmeyer said. “He did a lot of extra wrestling in the spring and summer, and it’s definitely paying off. He’s really been shining lately.”
Sophomore William Hockenberry (106) scored falls in his only two matches and placed first for West Shamokin.
Senior Brian Brown (160) went 3-1 and placed second, and junior John Wissinger (195) finished 2-2 and took third.