|Photo by Nate Heckenberger/ Unionville's Ian Larson closes in on a fall by headlock against Rustin's Ed Bartholomew at 126 pounds during Wednesday's match.|
By NATE HECKENBERGER
EAST MARLBOROUGH -- In the long-term picture, getting back to the pinnacle has been no walk in the park for Unionville.
In the short-term, present view, the Indians’ climb to the top of the Ches-Mont League American Division has been just that.
It’s been since 1990 that the Indians have won a league wrestling championship. Every wrestler on the team, as well as a couple assistant coaches, wasn’t even born then, but Wednesday in front of the home crowd, Unionville finally got that proverbial monkey off its back.
Coupled with an Octorara loss to Oxford, Unionville clinched the American Division crown with a 53-13 victory over West Chester Rustin. In doing so, the Indians halted a 22-league-meet win streak by the Golden Knights, while ending their three-year reign over the American Division.
"We’ve talked about not doing any celebrating until next Wednesday (against Octorora)," Unionville coach Chris Matz said. "We’re gonna have good practices the rest of this week and next Monday and Tuesday and be really, really hungry to finish our goal."
The Indians (5-0 division, 8-4 overall) collected six pins, including one in eight seconds by Will McNew (106 pounds), and never took their foot off the pedal.
Rustin (4-1, 6-4) led early, two different times, thanks to a meet-opening decision by Ross Barcusky (182). Following Unionville’s first pin by Ryan Margolin (195), Rustin’s Isaiah Spriggs (220) won by fall in 74 seconds. But the lead was short-lived as Unionville rattled off the next 41 points.
"When you’re young you’re gonna take your lumps sometimes," Harkins said. "Eventually our guys will turn the corner, but our focus every time we step on the mat is to improve. (Wednesday night) is a learning experience for the team on what they have to do to improve."
Will Hart (285), McNew, Ian Larson (126), and Zach Pfeifer (145) earned pins during the Indians’ 41-point run. Bobby Murray (113) and Nate Chaclas (120) used third-period takedowns to earn major decisions as well.
Paul Giannoukos won a decision at 132 and Mike Caldwell (138) clinched the contest with a 5-3 win over Alex Lourido in the most competitive bout of the night.
"It’s so gratifying after losing the last three years," Pfeifer said. "This is my fourth year of not losing to them, personally, so I really like that."
Tyler Crossman (152) and Connor Reilly (170) contributed a decision and a fall, respectively, for the Indians, who can finally add another year to the championship banner.
"Every morning practice and in the afternoon we mention it and make everyone look at the banner," Matz said. "We’ve been talking about it since the end of last season."
For Rustin, who was without injured Thomas Hatzipavlides (132) and Matt Lamberjack (195), starting a new streak is not as important as maturing a younger roster.
"We don’t honestly look at running streaks," Harkins said. "We try to take it one match at a time and (Wednesday night) we ran into a tough team and they were a better team."
The Golden Knights will host No. 9 Downingtown West tonight as the No. 24 seed in the first round of the District 1 Duals, while No. 22 Unionville will travel to Central Bucks East to face No. 12 Upper Darby.
Unionville 53, West Chester Rustin 13
182--Barcusky (WCR) dec. Summers, 9-5 (0-3)
195--Margolin (UV) pinned Sheikh, 1:49 (6-3)
220--Spriggs (WCR) pinned Baccerielli, 1:14 (6-9)
285--Hart (UV) pinned Moscharis, 1:33 (12-9)
106--W. McNew (UV) pinned Cooper, :08 (18-9)
113--Murray (UV) maj. dec. Pascale, 10-2 (22-9)
120--Chaclas (UV) maj. dec. Cugini, 10-2 (26-9)
126--Larson (UV) pinned Bartholomew, 3:03 (32-9)
132--Giannoukos (UV) dec. Walters, 4-3 (35-9)
138--Caldwell (UV) dec. Lourido, 5-3 (38-9)
145--Pfeifer (UV) pinned Ricci, 2:46 (44-9)
152--Crossman (UV) dec. Hatzipavlides, 6-3 (47-9)
160--Monagul (WCR) maj. dec. J. McNew, 13-5 (47-13)170--Reily (UV) pinned Weaver, 2:48 (53-13)