Wallenpaupack Area boasts a nice balance of seniors and frosh
A very young Wallenpaupack Area varsity wrestling team took its lumps during the early part of the season.
With nine freshmen in the starting line-up, veteran coach Steve Krushnowski knew that there would be some rough patches in the 2017-18 campaign.
Up & Down
As expected, Paupack absorbed several lopsided losses at the hands of Division I opponents and finished 0-4 in Lackawanna League action.
However, the Buckhorns have staged a remarkable rally here in the season's second half. The local lads reeled off six wins in seven dual meets, improving their overall record to 10-8.
Included in that run was a sparkling 3-1 performance at the Cougar Duals, hosted by Martin Luther King High School in Philly.
“The thing I like most about these young kids is that they're so resilient,” Coach Krushnowski said with a laugh.
“They just don't know any better. They go out there one day and get absolutely crushed, but then they're right back at it the next day like nothing happened. I love it.”
Unfortunately for local fans, Paupack's winning streak came to a sudden stop Tuesday night. The Buckhorns hosted longtime mat rival Honesdale in a non-league match and suffered a 57-11 thrashing at the hands of the Hornets.
“We'll learn from it,” said Coach Krushnowski.
“Honesdale has a very good team this year and I knew coming in that we didn't match up with them very well. We'll look at it as another learning experience and move on.”
Next up for Paupack is another non-league battle, this time on the road at Wilkes Barre Coughlin.
Weather permitting, this one will get underway Friday evening at 7 p.m. in the Diamond City.
On the Mat
Tuesday night's match between the Buckhorns and Hornets got off to a brutal start with a bloody bout at 152 pounds.
Honesdale's Brandon Lawson dominated the early going, rocketing out to a 10-2 lead over Anthony Krug. However, Lawson apparently broke his nose during a scramble and was forced to default.
Paupack's Dylan Hartman took the mat next and hammered out a 5-2 decision over Gerald Pepper, giving Paupack a quick 9-0 lead.
The Hornets retaliated quickly, though, notching three consecutive pins to take an 18-9 advantage.
Tyler Neglia and John Kuhns-Miller then went toe-to-toe in another wildly physical bout at 220. This one ended with a hard-fought 5-3 decision for the Bucks, but it would be the last points they'd score the rest of the match.
Honesdale swept the final seven bouts, highlighted by pins from Peter West (113), Jordan Young (120), Matt Davis (132), Joe Rutledge (140) and Hunter Parenti (145).
The final score wound up 57-11.
While freshmen dominated Paupack's line-up this winter, three battle-tested veterans are worthy of mention for their hard work and leadership.
Anthony Krug, Brennen Hannon and Dave DeGroat were the last three seniors standing by the time Tuesday's encounter with Honesdale rolled around.
Krug is the ringleader and the team's winningest wrestler this season. With his victory against the Hornets, Anthony improved his mark to 25-7.
“Krug is just fantastic,” Coach Krushnowski said. “I just love the kid. He'll do absolutely anything you ask of him to help the team.”
DeGroat is also enjoying a solid year at 285. Dave has 21 wins to his credit so far and is looking to make some serious noise at the district and regional levels.
“Dave just works hard every day,” said Coach Krushowski. “There's nothing fancy with DeGroat. He's just going to go out there and give it his all every single time.”
Hannon lost a big chunk of his senior season to injury. However, he's back in the line-up now and hoping to have an impact at the D2 tournament.
“It's great having him back,” Coach Krushnowski said. “We lost Hannon in December, so now he's just feeling his way back. We're hoping he goes out with a bang.”
Paupack made a heavy investment in its future this season, slotting untested freshmen into 9 of the 14 varsity slots.
“We're going to get there,” Coach Krusnowski said. “I think we have things moving in the right direction. If all these kids come back next season and keep working hard, we'll be in great shape.”
Freshmen playing key roles for Paupack here in 2017-18 include:
•Matt Brown (106)
•Carmine Jannetti (113)
•Mark Farrington (120)
•Sam Kier (132)
•Christian Rivera (145)
•Jody VanDunk (152)
•Dylan Hartman (170)
•Nick Parrella (182)
•Ben Glover (195)