Wheeling Park Duals highlighted by Neko Cappella's 100th win
PUNXSUTAWNEY — Over the Christmas holiday Dec. 28-29, the Punxsy Chucks wrestling squad traveled to Wheeling, W.Va., for the Wheeling Park Duals, and despite a 2-5 overall record, Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy said his team "wrestled well in all the matches," as all but one of the losses was decided by one match.
The tournament was highlighted for Punxsy by four wrestlers winning each of their seven matches over the two-day tournament, including Neko Cappella, who reached the 100-win milestone during the tournament.
Joel Bowers, Seth Spack and Carl Langley also completed the tournament with unblemished records.
Eddy also noted the level of competition was "outstanding both days of the tournament."
Although the first day of the tournament saw a pair of close losses for the Chucks to West Virginia's North Marion (32-42) and Ohio's Jackson (34-40), Punxsy also earned a pair of impressive wins Dec. 28.
Punxsy's first win came against Indian Creek of Ohio, as Punxsy cruised to a 61-18 victory losing only three matches — one of which was a forfeit in the 285-pound class.
Joel Bowers, Matt Burke, Darin James, Caesar Maruca, Spack, Neal and Tyler Titus all earned six-point victories for the Chucks in the bout.
Perry Arrington earned a five-point technical fall, and Cappella and Dan McLane also earned victories in the match.
Punxsy's second victory came that same day in a 50-19 win against another Ohio squad, Austintown Fitch.
Andrew Bullers kicked off the match with a 47-second victory by fall, and the Chucks never lost the lead.
In addition to Bullers and the four undefeated grapplers for Punxsy, Devan Snyder, Josh Schuckers, Arrington, Maruca and Neal also earned points for Punxsy in its final win.
After a .500 record on the first day of the tournament, Punxsy met its toughest match against St. Xavier, Ohio, in a 24-45 loss on the second day of the tournament.
Tyler Titus was the only Punxsy wrestler who was able to earn a victory for the Chucks, aside from the four Chucks who finished the tournament perfectly.
Punxsy's final two losses were of the close variety in a 40-41 loss to Carrollton, Ohio, and a 36-42 defeat against Alliance, Ohio.
A pair of forced forfeits in the 195-pound class and the 285-pound class kept Punxsy from a victory over Carrollton, and without a single forfeit in the Alliance match, Punxsy would have had a shot to win it at the end, as well.
Although Eddy said the holes in the lineup hurt, and the forfeits "killed" the Chucks, he also noted that several wrestlers bumped up to wrestle in weight classes to fill spots and keep the matches close.
Overall, Eddy said he was was pleased with his team's performance.
"We wrestled well," he said. "We saw where we are good, and we saw where we need work."
Since returning from Wheeling, Punxsy has been hard at work in the practice room preparing for tonight's 2012-opening match in Curwensville.
Punxsy's junior high wrestlers will open the action tonight at 6 p.m. with the varsity bout to follow.