The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 18, 2014

Pitt-Johnstown slams Ohio Valley

VIENNA, W.Va. – Pitt-Johnstown’s bruised wrestlers soldiered through a difficult evening on Friday, but emerged with a 35-15 victory at Ohio Valley for their fourth straight win.

The Mountain Cats got off to a good start with Dave Fogle’s 10-0 major decision over Tyree Gardner, but Ohio Valley came back with Cory Parson’s first-period pin of Luke Palamides at 133 and Josue Rodriguez’ 5-3 decision over freshman Craig Dawson at 141.

Dawson was subbing for returning All-American Dave Cawley who appears to be out for the remainder of the season with a neck injury.

“Fogle had a nice match at 125 and we went up 4-0,” Pitt-Johnstown coach Pat Pecora said. “Then, Mr. Murphy struck. Palamides was winning a clean match and then he gets caught in a throw right on his back and we’re down 6-4.”

Sam Hanau’s 8-0 major decision at 149 and Sam Molina’s ride-out win at 157 put Pitt-Johnstown back in front, 11-9. Then, John Blankenship pinned Jabari Irons in 2:22 at 165 to give the Cats a 17-9 edge.

“Hanau came through for a big win,” Pecora said. “The turning point was Blankenship, from United. He won a close match, basically a tied match. But, they got in a flurry and Blankenship got him in a headlock to put it away.”

Travis McKillop came through with a 33-second pin of Ben Willard at 184 and Zac Bennett pinned Kobina Henriques in 6:18 at 197 to put the team scoring out of reach. Josh Duplin’s forfeit win at 285 iced the victory.

“We pulled it out, but the score does not indicate the agony I went through,” Pecora said.

The Mountain Cats limp into Alderson-Broaddus for an afternoon match today, the fifth straight on a road trip that will bring them back home on Jan. 25.

They will have to wrestle without Cawley, who finally succumbed to a nagging neck injury after last week’s 21-15 win at Ashland and 42-6 romp at Tiffin.

“After last weekend’s matches, he was in a lot of pain,” Pecora said. “The trainer sent him for an MRI and he has some bulging discs in his neck. It looks like he’s going to be out for the season. Losing him is a real blow. I feel bad for him. He’s a senior.”

Pitt-Johnstown already previously had lost 174-pounder Gary Lantz to a shoulder injury. Nikos Garafola was filling in, but was injured at practice during the week and was unable to wrestle Friday, forcing the Mountain Cats to forfeit that bout.

“We thought he broke his toe,” Pecora said. “We got it X-rayed and something is just torn. It’s like turf toe. He can’t bend it at all.”

Despite the injuries, the Mountain Cats have improved to 6-1 while Ohio Valley fell to 0-5.

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