The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


February 9, 2014

UPJ pins down win at home

The Pitt-Johnstown wrestling team needed a jolt, and 165-pounder Gar Lantz delivered on Saturday night.

Lantz used a combination of moves and recorded a momentum-building pin with only seconds left in his bout against Gannon’s Casey Pace. The victory put UPJ up by 10 points and the Mountain Cats rolled to a 27-8 dual-meet victory over the Knights in front of a solid crowd at the UPJ Sports Center.

“I call him ‘Game-changer Gary,’ ” UPJ coach Pat Pecora said after the Mountain Cats improved to 12-1 overall, 4-1 in the PSAC. “Definitely the game-changer. ... In a match that was going back and forth, Gary gets a front headlock into a cradle and gets the pin at 6:39 right at the end of the third period.”

The No. 12 Mountain Cats and Knights (6-4, 4-3) battled from the outset.

Gannon’s Matt Turek won by a 12-5 decision over UPJ’s third-ranked Dave Fogle at 125.

“They were tough,” Pecora said of Gannon. “I knew they were going to present a challenge to us. They’re a solid team. Right off the bat, we got off to a rough start at 125, but Dave’s  going to bounce back.”

The Cats tied the dual meet via freshman 133-pounder Luke Palamides’ 8-4 decision over Adam Weinell.

UPJ 141-pounder Sam Hanau recorded a major decision over Johnny Marotto, and Cole Landowski won 4-0 over Eric Lewandowski at 149.

“We had a nice win at 133. A freshman, he keeps doing the right things. Big come from behind win,” Pecora said, referring to Palamides. “At 141, Sam (Hanau) has been nothing but game, nothing but tough every match.

“Cole (Landowski), another true freshman, pitched a shutout.”

Gannon cut the deficit to 9-5 as Buddy Blotzer won 11-5 over Heath Coles at 157.

Lantz’s big pin put the Cats on track to extend their winning streak to 10 straight matches.

UPJ’s John Blankenship held off Christopher Matthews, 2-0, at 174 pounds to extend it to 18-5.

“John Blankenship of United had a workmanlike win at 174,” Pecora said.

Two-time All-American and third-ranked Travis McKillop opened-up a 3-0 lead and used a riding time point to defeat fifth-ranked Zack Zelcs, 4-0 at 184 pounds.

Zac Bennett then earned his 13th fall of the year when he pinned Trevor Beiter at 2:04 to make it 27-5.

“McKillop beat a good kid 4-0,” Pecora said. “Bennett got another big pin.”

 The Golden Knights closed out the match with Nick Budd’s 5-3 decision over Josh Duplin at 285 pounds to set the final at 27-8.

 With the loss, Gannon dropped to 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the PSAC.

“It’s a good win,” Pecora said. “They’re a good solid team, well-coached.”


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