Tough result

Questionable call costs Dragons in 1-point loss

Warren senior wrestler Liam Stevenson kisses the mat following the final home match of his career at Warren Area High School, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. The gesture cost the Dragons a team point during their match against St. Mary’s as the official controversially deemed it “unsportsmanlike.” The Dutch defeated the Dragons, 33-32.

Emotion is one of the things that drives athletes to be great. It creates a passion for the sport, their team and gives them the will to be better.

Sometimes it can get the best of them and lead to mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes prove costly.

An emotional moment on an emotional night ended up being the difference in a 33-32 St. Mary’s win over Warren wrestlers on Senior Night in the Joseph A. Massa Memorial gymnasium Monday.

Warren senior Liam Stevenson channeled that emotion and put Austin Sodosky on his back just 34 seconds into their 170-pound match. After shaking hands and having his hand raised, Stevenson was overcome by the realization that he had just finished his last match in his home gym. Stevenson stopped, kneeled down and kissed the mat.

The official deducted a team point from the Dragons, deeming the gesture “unsportsmanlike.”

Warren’s Owen Balas smiles while trying to turn St. Mary’s Jeremy Garthwaite during their 152-pound match at Warren Area High School, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

Warren coach Dean Johnson could only marvel at the outcome.

“I knew it would be a close match either way,” he said. “If we had tied, we would have won on criteria. This was a little hard to take.”

The match opened with action at 145 pounds. Nick Crisp scored a 4-1 decision over Kyle Swick to get the Dutch on the board first.

Owen Balas, also wrestling his final home match, nearly had Jeremy Garthwaite decked in the first and second periods, but couldn’t quite get both shoulders down. Balas wasn’t going to let Garthwaite escape the third; however, and Balas got the pin at the 4:34 mark.

Tim Beimel picked up St. Mary’s second 4-1 decision of the night at 160 over Jamo Douvlos, tieing the match at 6-6.

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Warren’s Ryan Madigan squeezes St. Mary’s Eddie Mussineo during their 113-pound match at Warren Area High School, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. Madigan earned a first-period pin, but the Dutch defeated the Dragons 33-32.

Stevenson stepped up and 34 seconds later the Dragons had a brief 12-6 advantage. With the deduction, the score moved to 11-6 in Warren’s favor.

The 182-pound match between Dominic Caprino and Zach Becker was stopped in the second as Caprino was injured and couldn’t continue.

“Dom was wrestling a super match to that point,” Johnson said.

Warren’s Joey Arnold looked to be in control of Sean Lathrop at 195, but Lathrop made a nifty roll through to gain position and put Arnold on his back at 1:09. The win put St. Mary’s ahead 18-11.

The Dragons earned forfeit victories at 220 and 285 to take a 23-18 lead. No match at 106 set the stage for a key matchup at 113 pounds.

Warren’s Ryan Madigan shined under the bright lights, muscling Eddie Messineo onto his back just before the end of the first period.

The Dutch answered quickly as Tylor Herzing pinned Avery Smith 22 seconds into their match to trim the Dragons lead to 29-24.

Alex Anderson stretched Warren’s lead back to eight with a 7-2 decision over Gregory Tettis at 126.

“Anderson had an outstanding match,” Johnson said. “He’s been struggling a bit as of late and this was good to see.”

Donovan Fiscus fought off Hayden Tettis for nearly two full periods, but the St. Mary’s 132-pounder finally put Fiscus’ shoulders to the mat with less than 10 seconds remaining in the second.

With the score 32-30 in Warren’s favor, the winner of the final contest at 138 pounds would also determine the team winner for the evening.

St. Mary’s Johnny Wittman and Warren’s John Fankhouser battled for three periods. Wittman was able to get a near-fall and that proved to be the difference as he came away with a 9-4 decision and gave the Dutch the controversial win.

“Fankhouser really poured it on at the end,” Johnson said.

The Dragons will have little time to stew over this one as they hit the road to take on a tough Union City squad today.

“They’re a nice, up-and-coming team,” Johnson said.

– – –

St. Mary’s 33, Warren 32

145: Nick Crisp (S) dec. Kyle Swick, 4-1

152: Owen Balas (W) pin Jeremy Garthwaite, 4:34

160: Tim Beimel (S) dec. Jamo Douvlos, 4-1

170: Liam Stevenson (W) pin Austin Sodosky, 0:34

182: Zach Becker (S) injury default Dominic Caprino

195: Sean Lathrop (S) pin Joey Arnold, 1:09

220: Jacob Hayes (W) via forfeit

285: Matt Ristau (W) via forfeit

106: No match

113: Ryan Madigan (W) pin Eddie Messineo, 1:43

120: Tylor Herzing (S) pin Avery Smith, 0:22

126: Alex Anderson (W) dec. Gregory Tettis, 7-2

132: Hayden Tettis (S) pin Donovan Fiscus, 2:51

138: Johnny Wittman (S) dec. John Fankhouser, 9-4