Chucks upset St. Marys, 34-30

ST. MARYS — Punxsy senior Kody Young knew the Chucks would hold on for a win once six bouts remained during the Punxsy wrestling team's match against St. Marys Wednesday night.

Punxsy was ahead 22-12 after 189-pounder Tige Woodson, Young's senior teammate, suffered a loss by decision, but Young was still certain his squad would come out on top.

Punxsy lost the next two bouts by fall and fell behind 24-22, but clutch decision victories by two freshmen, and Young's pin during the final match of the night propelled the Chucks to a 34-30 upset of the Dutch on their Senior Night.

"After 189, Kody came up to me and told me we won," Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy said. "He said, 'I did the math already, we won this.' He said that all Tige had to do was not get pinned, and we were going to win."

Young had everything added up correctly, including the decision victories of freshman lightweights Josh Schuckers and Joel Bowers.

Schuckers (20-10) beat junior Damien Wensel, 4-0, and Joel Bowers (17-12) bested senior Trenton Bowers, 6-0, to give the Chucks (11-11) a 28-24 lead with two bouts remaining.

Even though Punxsy's Chelsea Engeholm lost by fall in the next-to-last bout to give St. Marys a 30-28 lead, Young (25-2) pinned freshman William Gabor in just 66 seconds during the night's final match to provide Punxsy with the victory.

Schuckers and Bowers were giving up at least two years of experience to their opponents, but Young believed in the freshman pair.

"We got two freshmen in the lineup, but when you have your senior leader that has that kind of faith in them, that's big," Eddy said. "Those guys came out, and they wrestled like they needed to tonight."

In addition to the wins of Schuckers, Bowers and Young, a number of big victories and one loss by decision helped set up Punxsy's victory.

Juniors C.J. Langley (14-15) and Josh Neal (9-15) each took their sub-.500 records into the 160- and 171-pound bouts, and both exited with triumphs by fall.

"The bonus points from Langley and Neal were gigantic," Eddy said. "They both came through big."

Senior Duell Thompson (15-13) also turned a tight match into a 10-3 decision at 152 pounds. Thompson was ahead 4-3 entering the final period before an escape and five-point move gave him the win over freshman Alex Feldbauer.

Much like Woodson (12-18), who survived during a 6-2 loss at 189 pounds to one of St. Marys' better wrestlers, sophomore Joey McLaughlin, Punxsy sophomore Caesar Maruca (10-19) lost only 8-2 to senior Darren Lyon.

"Those were losses, but those were big matches. They did what they needed to do," Eddy said. "They didn't give up bonus points, and that's big in a win like this."

The night started in an interesting way for the Chucks, with Neko Cappella (26-4) besting Alex Coudriet at 130 pounds.

The match went down as a 24-11 major decision in Cappella's favor, though the score keeper lost track of Cappella's seven third-period takedowns and incorrectly gave Coudriet a point when Cappella's final takedown made it a would-be 25-10 technical fall.

Luckily for the Chucks, the lost team point didn't matter at the end of the night.

St. Marys' Sam Miller received a forfeit at 140 pounds, as the Chucks were wrestling without Seth Spack (24-5), who qualified for states last season.

What followed was a tight 2-1 decision win in Punxsy's Nathan McGregor's (23-7) favor at 145 pounds over Allen Gurksy.

Punxsy's Tyler Titus (3-23) and Brennan Knarr (1-10) each lost by fall at 215 pounds and heavyweight. James Antonelli pinned Titus in 1:22, and Kevin Hoy pinned Knarr in 44 seconds.

The Chucks' win was similar to their season-ending 30-29 victory over DuBois Feb. 13, 2009. It was Punxsy's first win over DuBois since 1977.

Young pinned Danny Robinson during the final bout when Punxsy was behind 29-24.

Punxsy will travel to DuBois next Thursday for the first time since that 2009 upset.

Before that, the Chucks visit Bradford Tuesday with the momentum of a win over St. Marys, a District IX Class AAA foe.

"You always want to get those head-to-head wins in District IX. It gives you a little confidence coming in," Eddy said. "Our kids aren't kids that get down ... but that is a big win and confidence builder to know that they can come into somebody else's gym and get a win like this."