Bonaventura, Waynesburg top Thiel to win another PAC team championship
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Waynesburg junior Anthony Bonaventura had a night to remember at the 2013 Presidents’ Athletic Conference Wrestling Championships, which were hosted by Thiel College on Friday night. His gutty performance in the 174-pound title match not only won him his first individual PAC title, but it played a crucial role in Waynesburg reclaiming the conference title from the host Tomcats. The Yellow Jackets took the crown with 116 team points, which was 10 points higher than the defending champions from Thiel (106). Washington & Jefferson finished in third place with 67 points.
Both Bonaventura and Thiel sophomore Jerrold Roosa received forfeits from W&J in the first two rounds of competition and squared off for the fourth time this season in the third-and-deciding round. Roosa held a 3-0 record against his Waynesburg counterpart coming into the night, but in the third period, the Bonaventura held a 7-4 advantage and looked poised for victory. Roosa picked up a point for locked hands and then picked up an escape late in the match to pull to within 7-6. However, despite the efforts of a hostile Beeghly Gymnasium crowd urging on Roosa, Bonaventura held on to pick up the crucial win that put Waynesburg ahead 106-86.
Senior Cody Catalina clinched the team title for the Jackets in the next bout by beating W&J’s Ezekiel Stroupe 9-2. The win also gave Catalina his second PAC title, and clinched Waynesburg’s third team title in the past four years.
Bonaventura and Catalina picked up half of the Jackets’ four individual championships. Senior 133-pounder Alex Crown made team history by recording his fourth career individual championship with a 5-2 decision against W&J’s Bryant Myers. Crown’s win versus Myers gave him 109 victories as a Jacket, which ties him with Ken Laird (2002-06) for the school's all-time record. Win No. 108 for Crown came by way of a 9-1 major decision against Thiel’s Nick Sutton.
After Crown’s historic fourth title, Waynesburg junior Luke Lohr completed a triumphant return to the starting lineup by claiming the 149-pound championship. After not competing since Dec. 1 due to injury, Lohr returned to the mat and beat Thiel’s Brandan Collins by 11-3 major decision in Round 2 for his first victory of the night. He wrapped up his second individual conference championship by downing the Presidents’ Alex Powell 6-1.
While Waynesburg’s four individual titles played a big role in the team triumph, the Yellow Jackets’ six runner-up showings were just as important to the victory. Freshman Gordan Bieber (125 pounds), sophomore Jake Vitolo (141), junior Sam Lombardo (157), sophomore Sam Guidi (165), sophomore Patrick Jennings (197) and senior Marty Kisla (285) all went 1-1 on the night and gathered up valuable team points toward the Jackets' victory. Thiel, on the other hand, took third at 125, 149 and 157 pounds. The Tomcats picked up individual championships at 141, 165, 197 and 285 pounds, respectively, while W&J took top honors at 125 and 157.
Thiel took home four individual championships: Senior Will Ringer (285 pounds) and sophomore Jake Lowry (197) each won the second conference titles of their careers while sophomore Adam Matthews (141) and freshman Jordan Powell (165) won in their first attempts.
W&J won two individual championships: Junior Josh Etzel (157 pounds), his second; and freshman Jacob Spearman (125).
After taking home its ultimate goal of a team championship, Waynesburg swept the individual accolades after Bonaventura was honored as the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the event. Fifth-year head coach Ron Headlee was lauded as PAC Coach of the Year.
After checking a PAC title off their list of team goals for the 2012-13 season, the Yellow Jackets return to the practice room to prepare for the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Tournament, which is being hosted by Ohio Northern University. The two-day event gets under way on March 1. The top three finishers in each weight earn tickets to the 2013 NCAA Division III Championships.