It’s kind of hard to believe but the high school wrestling duals season is coming to a quick close.
In just 10 short days, the top teams from the Lackawanna League and Wyoming Valley Conference will descend upon the Kingston Armory for the District 2 Class AAA and AA duals championships. But before we get to that point, there’s still plenty at stake in the Lackawanna League and tonight should provide the most excitement. That’s because both division races will be decided and it’ll be highlighted by a pair of undefeated teams going for the Division II championship.
Valley View will look to dethrone Western Wayne in the regular-season finale for both 6-0 squads. The WIldcats are the five-time defending Division II champions and have won 37 consecutive league matches. The Cougars, on the other hand, have benefitted well since making the move back to Division II after spending the previous two season in Division I without winning a match.
Both teams have dominated their first six league opponents. Western Wayne has won each match by an average of 57 points, while Valley View has won by a 46.2 average margin.
The Wildcats have been led by freshman Cole Fuller, who’s off to a 27-6 record in his first season with the team. Senior Josh Brown and junior Dakota Swoyer are both 22-9.
The Cougars also have a pair of impressive wrestlers, led by senior Matthew Judge, who’s 25-4 with 14 pins. First-year senior wrestler Zach Venesky, who is a Rutgers football commit, is 25-5, sophomore Brett Uhrin is a 25-3 and fellow sophomore Marc Stine is 21-4. Freshman Brandon Judge‘s career is off to a solid start, posting a 23-7 record thus far.
For the second time in a week, West Scranton High School should serve as a hostile environment when the Invaders host the class of the entire Lackawanna League, the Delaware Valley Warriors. Last week, the Warriors improved to 4-0 with a 40-30 victory over Wallenpaupack, one that gave them at least a share of the division title for the seventh straight season. They can win the crown outright with a win tonight and are led by 195-pound senior Matt Wagner, a two-time Times-Tribune All-Region selection. Billy Pearn, Kyle Stoll, P.J. Testino and Christopher Duncan have also been solid for the Warriors.
West Scranton, on the other hand, is coming off a tough 40-22 loss to Scranton last week that dropped it to 3-1. A win tonight, though, will give the Invaders a share of the division crown. They’re led by seniors Kamron VanWert and Stefhen Caple, both of whom have surpassed 100 victories for their careers. Fellow senior Kyle Krotavich is closing in on that milestone, as well. He’ll enter tonight’s match with 96 wins. And junior Jimmy Forsette is once again having a strong campaign with a 23-3 record to put him at 85 career wins.
If West Scranton can pull off the upset, Scranton could also claim a tie of the title, if it can defeat Abington Heights.
Fighting Against Cancer
- An already big night at Valley View and West Scranton will be made, as both events will see a fight against cancer. At Valley View, Matt Judge and his teammates will host hold a fundraiser for Pine Cancer, a nonprofit organization that helps wrestlers build awareness and raise money toward battling cancer. There will be donation jars and baskets raffled off at the entrance to the gym.
Judge has been working toward this night for quite some time now and put in a lot of effort to help this organization. It’s an event that will hit close to home for him, as both of his grandparents have been affected by this disease. Judge has been really ambitious through this project and if you’d like to read more about it or can’t make it to the match tonight but would like to donate, click the following link:
- And at West Scranton, the Invaders are doing their part to show support for Delaware Valley’s Frank Carrozza, who is battling cancer in his lymph nodes. As a tribute to Carrozza, the entire West Scranton squad will wear t-shirts from Delaware Valley that benefit Carrozza’s battle.
It all makes for an exciting, intense and emotional night at both schools. If you can’t make the matches, be sure to follow @sportsTT on Twitter and check Thursday’s print edition of The Times-Tribune.