List Of 3-time WVC Winners Grows Longer
LEHMAN TWP. — While Valley West’s David Krokowski rose the bar with his record fourth championship, three other wrestlers added their names to the short list of three-time Wyoming Valley Conference tournament winners.
Krokowski might not be the only four-time champ for long, either.
Valley West’s J.J. White (120 pounds), Tunkhannock’s Tommy Traver (138) and Dallas’ Steven Newell (182) all earned their third consecutive titles during the 10th annual WVC championships Saturday at Lake-Lehman. They’re now three of just eight WVC wrestlers to pull that off.
Traver and Newell, both seniors, went out in style.
Advancing with a one-minute pin and tech fall, Traver defeated longtime club partner Josh Bonomo of Lake-Lehman in the finals in his quickest match yet, 25 seconds.
Nobody could keep Newell on the mat for more than a minute. His championship pin over Hazleton Area’s Jayson Brielmeier in 57 seconds followed falls in 23, 21 and 13 seconds.
“I think in the last couple weeks I’ve really stepped my game up,” Newell said. “At a tournament like the WVC, my last time being around senior year, I just wanted to really make sure I secured that No. 1 spot. It was pretty bittersweet.”
The best could be on the horizon, though.
White, only a junior, got to the finals on three pins and then defeated Hanover Area’s Joe Rowley in a 9-1 major decision.
“It takes a lot of hard work,” White said of winning three conference titles. “Practicing five days a week, lifting, watching what I’m eating weight-wise. It’s tough. It’s a lot of work.”
Krokowski’s historic match started moments after White had his hand raised. White watched his teammate go four-for-four knowing that he could be the center of attention for the same reason next season, too.
Krokowski said White has it in him.
“J.J will definitely do it. He’s a great wrestler,” he said. “We’ve worked together since we were young; I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he got it.”
Noonan, Cougars dominate
Hazleton Area’s Shane Noonan (220) tallied four first-period pins on his way to his second WVC title, flattening Dallas’ Taylor Bolesta in 51 seconds in the final.
The rest of his teammates were a handful to deal with, too.
A tournament-high five Cougars — Noonan, Johnny Corra (106), Bryce Molinaro (160), Jake Marnell (170) and Seth Hunsinger (195) — won championships, leading Hazleton Area to its second team title in three years. The Cougars posted the tournament’s second-best points total ever, 249.
Lake-Lehman maintained second place (189.5) behind 132-pound winner Bob Long plus 11 medalists, tied with Hazleton Area for best in the tournament.
In addition to Noonan, Hanover Area’s D.J. Erickson (152) also repeated as champ.
First time, long time
The longest championship drought in the conference ended in perhaps the finals’ biggest shocker.
Nanticoke Area heavyweight Shane Repasky dropped Dallas’ Shawn Henninger — a defending district champ — to his back for a second-period pin to win not just his first varsity tournament but the Trojans’ first WVC title ever.
“Just sick of losing. Tired of it,” Repasky said. “Can’t think like that; you got to think positive. I used to think negative, and I’d get stuck all the time.”
The win helped punctuate a recent surge in Nanticoke Area’s program. The team tied its bests in medal count (five) and finalists (two), making it to the finals of consecutive tourneys for the first time since 2011-12.
“The guys on our team are grinding out,” Repasky said. “They’re going to be there. They’re all young.”
Berwick, Pittston Area and Wyoming Area now own the longest dry spells in the WVC, last having a wrestler win gold in 2015.
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