NEPA Sports Nation

Comets win title in final bout

John Gorrick from Abington Heights (right) and Aiden Black from Delaware Valley battle at 285. (Tom Robinson Photo)

By Tom Robinson,

CLARKS SUMMIT – The Lackawanna League Division 1 wrestling title came down to not just the last match of the regular season, but the last bout of that match.

Colin Price’s decision at 152 pounds Saturday night finally settled the championship, giving host Abington Heights a championship repeat with a 32-26 victory over Delaware Valley.

“That match meant everything,” said Price, who found himself in a final-bout, team-outcome deciding position for the first time ever. “Nerves were high.

“I was stressed out going into it, but I shook it off and by the second and third period I was ready to go, feeling good.”

Not much separated the top two teams in the Riverfront Sports Elite Wrestling Power Rankings of District 2 teams.

Abington Heights (4-0 in the division, 15-0 overall) came in as the defending champion, unbeaten in duals this season, but Delaware Valley (3-1, 11-2) had the upper hand the only time they competed together, winning the team title in the Lackawanna League Tournament in December.

“Since the first day of practice, we’ve prepared for these guys,” Price said.

This is the second straight season that the title was decided by the Comets beating the Warriors in a late meeting. This time around, they waited three extra days after being postponed by Wednesday’s bad weather.

“Coming into today, I knew they were a good opponent and I knew the match was going to be close throughout,” said Austin Smith, who put Abington Heights ahead to stay at 139 pounds, the 11th of 13 bouts. “I wasn’t shocked at the score.”

The Comets received an early boost at heavyweight when John Gorrick (18-12) knocked off returning state qualifier Aiden Black (18-6).

Black was ahead, 2-0, and the wrestlers were on their feet to begin the second period when Gorrick caught Black in a headlock, threw him to the mat and quickly ended the bout with a pin in 2:26.

That win broke a tie.

Delaware Valley, which led after two bouts, came back to tie three more times.

“I expected the season to come down to this,” Abington Heights coach Greg Theony said. “I don’t think everything came out exactly how I thought it would.

“The win at 285 was a nice surprise for sure.”

The Comets wound up needing some of the unexpected points that Gorrick provided.

“There were a couple of toss-ups – that didn’t really turn into toss-ups – in the wrong direction,” Theony said.

The last tie came after Luke Evans won for Abington Heights, 14-1, at 127 pounds and Dom Moyer won for Delaware Valley, 15-2, at 133.

Both posted impressive major decisions, but fell just short of adding one or two more team points with a technical fall or pin.

Smith seemed headed down the same path.

He was up 15-4 and about to make it 18-4 – with the back points he had already earned pulling him within a point of stopping with a technical fall – when he instead was able to record a pin with 1:14 left for six team points.

“I was in the back warming up, but I heard from my teammates that everyone was wrestling well and that kept me motivated to keep the train going,” Smith said.

Two competitive bouts finally settled the outcome.

Luke Brazanskas kept Delaware Valley alive when he used a takedown with 22 seconds left to edge Sam Stevens, 7-5, at 145.

The Warriors went to the last bout down three, but in position to win if Matt McGrath could beat Colin Price.

McGrath led 2-0 until Price hit a five-point move late in the second period, nearly ending it there on the way to a 9-5 victory.

Until then, Price was having trouble taking McGrath off his feet.

“It was a sweep single,” Price said. “I was looking for the double the whole time and I couldn’t get it. He was using a real good stance and Luke Sirianni coached me from the sideline, he told me to look for the sweep; go for the sweep.

“I got it twice. It really changed the match.”

Sirianni was one of three wrestlers with 30-plus wins on the season who provided the other victories for the Comets.

Caleb Marzolino won by pin at 189, Brian Heard by major decision at 160 and Sirianni by decision at 114.

Delaware Valley’s early lead came from a pin by C.J. Walton at 172.

Dean Gouldthorpe also had a pin at 107.

The other wins for the Warriors came from a major decision by Chris DellaBella at 215 and another decision by Brady Colville at 121.

The teams could be back against each other in a week with the District 2 Class 3A Dual Meet Tournament scheduled to end Feb. 4 at Pittston Area High School.

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