Coughlin-Meyers Have Final Dual
WILKES-BARRE — Once the final bouts were in the books, the Wilkes-Barre Area Wolfpack wrestling team came together for its first unofficial team photo.
Wednesday night marked the final time Coughlin and Meyers — Wilkes-Barre’s two high schools that still offer wrestling — squared off on the mat. It was also the final dual meet in Coughlin history; it’ll merge with Meyers and GAR to form the Wolfpack next school year.
A bit of the past, present and future was on display Wednesday at Coughlin to mark the occasion.
Coughlin’s youth wrestlers were brought out to the mat along with a few dozen team alumni before the meet got started. Then, the Crusaders warmed up in white T-shirts commemorating the final matchup with Meyers after 75 years of Coughlin wrestling.
In a clash of the only two District 2 teams to claim 700 dual meet wins, one more result was added to their long history when four pins and four forfeits powered Coughlin to a 54-18 victory.
“Always competitive. Always got after people. Each school had 700 career wins; that’s a lot of wins. That’s consistent winning, and that’s just tradition,” Coughlin coach Dave Parsnik looked back. “To pull those kind of wins every year, you have to have good teams, you have to have good coaches and you have to have good numbers. I think both schools have that.”
There will be plenty to remember long after the upcoming merger.
On Wednesday, Parsnik got to see former wrestlers who helped Coughlin build up to the 700-win mark this season. Meyers recently held its own alumni night, when Mohawks coach Anthony Mercadante and his teammates on the 2000 team were among the latest inductees to a hall of fame filled with champions of all kinds.
“You think about all the state qualifiers that both of the schools had. You think about the district champions, the conference champions as teams. And some of the great wrestlers that have come out of both schools,” Mercadante said. “It’s sad to see the rich tradition that both of these schools had stood for so long go away. I don’t know if another program will ever reach the standards, the pinnacle, that each of these schools have.”
When it came to Wednesday’s action, this finale didn’t leave as much to remember as others between the three merging schools during the fall and winter seasons.
Pins by Cooper Price (106), Tino Morrow (113) and Nino Cinti (132) helped the Crusaders score 24 consecutive points through six weight classes. Any drama that could have come with Rafael Olmedo and Carl Johnson’s pins, which cut Meyers’ deficit to 30-18, immediately evaporated when Coughlin’s 702nd and final win ended with four forfeits in a row.
Still, it was a strong way for everyone on the Crusaders to go out. Morrow and Smith collected pins in 28 and 76 seconds, respectively, and Joe Davis (195) won by forfeit for a perfect senior night.
“It makes it happier. It makes the end just a lot better,” said Morrow, who picked last year’s runner-up finish at the District 2 duals as a Coughlin memory that will stick with him the most. “We get to cherish this moment with our friends. It’s awesome that we’re the end, the last Coughlin team to graduate.”
Those three Crusaders will graduate before the Wolfpack wrestle, and so will only a minimal amount of Mohawks. So, the group that posed for pictures once the mats were rolled up gave a pretty accurate glimpse at the next wrestling tradition in Wilkes-Barre.
“Combining everybody next year is going to be a lot of numbers and a lot of competition,” Parsnik said.
While Coughlin’s team season is over, Meyers has one more dual meet remaining before it also turns to the individual postseason. The Mohawks host Dallas for their program finale at 1 on Saturday.
106: Cooper Price (COU) pinned Kristopher Fronseca, 0:48. 113: Tino Morrow (COU) pinned Brando Abreu, 0:28. 120: No contest. 126: Jayden Pahler (COU) dec. Jason Carver, 3-0. 132: Nino Cinti (COU) pinned Andrew Robinson, 1:26. 138: Jami Pahler (COU) dec. Caleb Burns, 1-0. 145: Nate Ayala (MEY) won by forfeit. 152: Rafael Olmedo (MEY) pinned Warren Faust, 3:25. 160: Tanner Smith (COU) pinned Savon Collins, 1:16. 170: Carl Johnson (MEY) pinned Stephen Youkoski, 5:16. 182: Chad Regan (COU) won by forfeit. 195: Joe Davis (COU) won by forfeit. 220: Connor Lee (COU) won by forfeit. 285: Aaron Warnagaris (COU) won by forfeit.
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