Wrestlers score 46-point victory over Seneca Valley
JAN. 13, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM—
After winning three of its last four away games and placing well in several weight classes at the Damascus Holiday Tournament, Blair's varsity wrestling team returned to its home court full of confidence and energy, trampling the Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles in a decisive 64-18 victory and boosting its record to 5-2.
The Blazers held the lead from the very start, earning 12 easy points off Seneca Valley forfeits in the 119 and 125 lb. weight classes. Junior Chris Fitzgerald (125) added another six points to Blair's score with an immediate breakdown, pinning his opponent in 38 seconds to score Blair's first victory of the night. Senior co-captain Alan Coleman (135) then brought the score to 24-0, compensating for a sluggish initial round with a quick lunge and pin in the second period of his match.
Both teams then gave up several forfeits, with Seneca Valley scoring its first points of the night in the 145 and 152 lb. divisions due to Blazer absences. Blair quickly recouped the loss in the 140 and 189 lb. weight classes, however, keeping its 24-point lead as the score rose to 36-12.
The Eagles were able to score six more points off its first and only pin in the 160 lb. weight class, but the Blazers then proceeded to sweep the rest of the matches, scoring pins or takedowns in every division. Despite a broken nose that forced him to wear a mask while he wrestled, senior Herb Morsha-Taylor (275) pinned his opponent with 32 seconds left in the second period of his match, reversing a Seneca Valley takedown and upsetting what appeared be a certain Eagle victory. Sophomore David Ufford (171) scored a pin of his own in just under three minutes, giving Blair a 36-point lead as he brought the score to 48-12.
Senior Muamba Muanankese (215) followed with another intense match, taking his opponent down six times and allowing only one reversal in three periods. Though time limitations and frequent out-of-bounds calls prevented Muanankese from pinning his opponent, he ended the match with 18 points to his opponent's seven, earning Blair four more points and bringing the score to 52-12.
With a 40-point deficit and no chance of victory, Seneca Valley seemed to lose its heart, allowing Blair to score quickly in each of the two remaining matches. Sophomore Josh Osorto (103) forced his opponent to the mat despite several escape attempts, taking him down at the waist to earn a pin-fall in exactly one minute. Senior co-captain Scott Nguyen (112) also wrestled swiftly and decisively, maintaining control over his opponent for the entire match and pinning him with just 33 seconds left in the first period. As the shrill of the referee's whistle signaled the end of the match, Blair was up by 46 points, with a final score of 64-18.
According to Nguyen, the team's improvement since its dismal 3-11 season last year can be attributed to a number of factors, including not only improved wrestling skills, but also a sharp new mental attitude toward the game. "We sort of gave up last year because we thought we couldn't win," Nguyen explained, "but this year, we've got a lot of people ranked in the county, and we have a chance, so we're really pushing it."
Though Nguyen admitted that the team may have to fight harder to succeed in the second half of the season, when it will face upcounty powerhouses like Damascus and Northwest, he added that he envisions many more victories in the team's future. "I see a lot of my teammates being successful, especially in post-season," Nguyen said. "Counties, regionals, states – we've got a lot of talent, a lot of potential to do well."
The Blazers' next meet will be at Damascus on Jan. 24, where they will also take on Northwest. The team will also compete in Springbrook's "Grapple at the ‘Brook" tournament on Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday, Jan. 17.
Kristina Yang. Kristina Yang is 1/10 of the Blair girls' volleyball team. When not on the court, she most likely to be running away from Magnet math homework, trying to pay off her three speeding/redlight tickets, or feeding her bubble tea addiction. She would also like to ... More »