Krokowski Becomes WVC’s First Four-time Champion
LEHMAN TWP. — There was no way David Krokowski was going to simply escape with history.
Valley West’s senior wrestler needed only one point to complete a tech fall for the 126-pound conference championship. He could have chosen to start the third period from bottom, only a quick escape from the win.
That just wasn’t Krokowski’s style. Aggressive from the opening whistle, he chose neutral position to start the period and quickly lifted Lake-Lehman’s Zach Stuart off the mat with both legs.
Krokowski finished the takedown, added two back points and stepped to the middle of the mat with four fingers in the air. In the main event Saturday afternoon at Lake-Lehman, Krokowski’s 19-1 (4:13) tech fall cemented his status as the first four-time champion in the 10-year era of the Wyoming Valley Conference tournament.
“I wanted to get one last takedown here, just to remember it,” Krokowski said. “I wanted to hit a dump, but the double-leg was just there, so I took that.”
The move marked the final points in accomplishing a goal years in the making.
“It’s been a big thing for me this year to achieve this. That’s what I was shooting for coming in as a freshman,” he said. “When I won that first one, I just had my eyes set on winning all four and working my hardest to achieve that.”
Krokowski, later named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, separates himself from an expanding list of three-time league champions.
Hazleton Area’s Chad Hoffman became the WVC’s first three-time winner with titles from 2010-12. Valley West’s Kyle Krasavage (2010, 2012-13) followed, and the list froze there for a few years.
The floodgates have burst open in recent seasons.
Hazleton Area’s Jimmy Hoffman (2014, 2016-17) and Meyers’ Colin Pasone (2014, 2016-17) earned their third titles together two years ago. Krokowski followed last season, while Valley West’s J.J. White (120 pounds), Tunkhannock’s Tommy Traver (138) and Dallas’ Steven Newell (182) all earned their third consecutive championships Saturday.
“This is a tough tournament. That’s not an easy task to do,” said Hazleton Area coach Keith Maurer, who sat in Jimmy Hoffman’s corner for his three WVC titles. “So, hat’s off to Krokowski for doing what he did. He’s beat some of my better kids, so I gottta tip my hat to that kid.”
Krokowski took on challengers of all sizes on his way four in a row, winning titles at 106, 120 and 126 pounds.
Once again, there was no stopping him this weekend. All three of his wins on the road to the finals came by fall, in 20, 92 and 66 seconds.
Stuart, a sophomore and 2018 district finalist, was tough enough to avoid becoming Krokowski’s fourth pin. Not many others could have withstood what Stuart had thrown at him.
Krokowski was a ball of energy, earning a quick takedown and looking for a pin. When near-fall points were all he could get, he’d release his hold and get right back to work on turning Stuart.
After two minutes, Krokowski had an 11-0 lead.
“I was shooting for all first-period pins, but Zach fought hard,” he said.
All eyes were on Krokowski his entire way to title No. 4. He received the loudest applause as the last bout announced during the parade of champions, and the bleachers were buzzing as he and Stuart got set for the final bout of the day.
Fans in attendance understood what had been accomplished at the end, saving their longest applause for Krokowski’s championship moment. It continued as he raised his four fingers, kept a promise to friends by mimicking NBA player Lance Stephenson’s air guitar celebration, shook Stuart’s hand and hugged his coaches.
“It felt like everybody was on my side. I felt like I was at home,” Krokowski said. “Felt like I was in my home gym. It was amazing.”
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