Wrestlers head into postseason
Parkland Trojan wresting coach Mike Ottinger measures success not only by wins, but also by how his young wrestlers learn and grow.
“We’re looking just to improve,” he said when asked about his squad prior to their EPC Duals Championships battle with Stroudsburg. “Which I think we’ve been doing all year. We’re not at full strength. So, we’re looking to improve and learn something.”
Unfortunately for the Trojans, they were on the short end of a 51-13 decision against the Mountaineers during their seventh place match Jan. 26 at the EPC Duals Championship at Easton Area Middle School.
“Like I told you all year long, we’re not going to light the world on fire, but we’re getting a lot better so that’s all you can ask for,” Smith said.
The defeat placed Parkland as the 10th seed in the PIAA District 11 Class 3A team tournament. They are scheduled to battle seventh-seeded Easton at 6 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Liberty High School.
Losing their first three matches by pins, Stroudsburg claimed the 126-pound match by forfeit. Then Bryan Diaz authored one of the three bright spots on the afternoon for the Trojans, with an 8-2 decision over Jeff Pasciak at 132. The victory pushed the Parkland junior’s overall record to 18-9.
After dropping their next three matches, Parkland’s Jacob Ortman produced a quality display of wrestling in winning a 20-12 major decision over Zack Orsargos. After a loss at 170, Gio Catania performed the Trojans’ final moment of glory on this afternoon, expertly pinning Albin Deda in 3:07 in the 182-pound bout. Stroudsburg claimed the final three matches to produce the final score.
Earlier in the week on Jan. 23, the Trojans defeated William Allen 56-21. Cory Border, Nathan Kresge and Evin Harris won their matches to give Parkland a 18-0 lead. After losses at 120 and 126, Diaz won his 132-pound match in an efficient 38 seconds to give the Trojans a 24-9 advantage and one dual later the Trojans got hot.
Mason Lansenderfer started the winning streak by taking a tough match in overtime at 145 pounds and teammates Kale Cummings and Ortman benefitted from Allen forfeits at 145 and 152. Then Gio Catania flexed his muscles at 170 and defeated Allen’s Manual Rodriguez in 5:10 for a 47-15 Parkland advantage. After a loss at 182, Zayd Afif took a 7-4 decision at 195 pounds and Garrett Fitzgerald won his match at 220 in 3:58 to end the combat.
The next night, on Jan. 24, the Trojans were roundly beaten by a tenacious Nazareth Blue Eagle squad 65-5. Cummings won a thrilling 6-5 decision at 152 pounds and Kresge took a 7-2 verdict to claim victory at 106 for a total of six Parkland points. The Trojans were penalized one point reducing their total to five.
“It’s kind of what I expected,” Ottinger said of the two contests. “I like the fight in a lot of guys. Cale Cummings was pretty impressive. Kresge flipped a match, so we’re flipping matches. We were losing to guys and we’re beating them now.”