Strath Haven gets Moore effort in caging Cougars

SPRINGFIELD >> David Moore pointed to his brother Devon’s match as a sign of the positive changes taking place on Strath Haven’s wrestling team. The younger Moore earned a technical fall against Springfield’s Mike Psenicska at 152 pounds to help the Panthers to a 44-27 win. But it was how that bout started that defined Haven’s victory.

“You saw it. (Devon) got taken down, but he got right back up and he tapped his chest to the bench. He said ‘My bad. I got this,” David Moore said. “He goes on to get the tech fall. Five points instead of four. That makes a difference. That’s not about technique. That’s mental toughness.”

Strath Haven 132-pounder Sasho Rieger , top, controls Springfield's Tyler Forbes on the way to a 7-6 decision in the Panthers' 44-27 victory. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)
Strath Haven 132-pounder Sasho Rieger , top, controls Springfield’s Tyler Forbes on the way to a 7-6 decision in the Panthers’ 44-27 victory. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

After two Cougars forfeits to start the match, David Bagirov and Vince DiMichele got the hosts back on track with back-to-back wins at 120 and 126. The Panthers, though, displayed the mental toughness the older Moore spoke of in taking back control of the dual meet.

Sasha Reiger defeated Tyler Forbes 7-6. Max Sokoloff followed with a pin in 5:13 of Mike Finsterbush. Up 24-9, John Crawford turned in Haven’s performance of the night. He outlasted previously unbeaten Jon Fogel to earn a 5-4 decision.

“We’re young but we wrestle hard,” said David Moore. “Brett Burns, our usual guy at 145, didn’t wrestle tonight, but John Crawford stepped in and won. We’re pushing each other.”

David Moore himself had a solid battle at 182. Springfield’s Dwayne Snipes came out aggressively from the whistle.

“He started attacking,” David Moore said. “I was really trying to wrestle conservatively; try to get my chances when I could.”

Staying up for much of the match, David Moore displayed his wide ranging techniques as a wrestler. He took Snipes down to gain a comfortable advantage, then squirmed out of precarious grapples the rare times the Cougar took control, eventually settling for a 7-2 decision.

At 164 pounds, the elder Moore has taken on the heavier weight class to benefit himself as well as the team.

Springfield’s David Bagirov, left, pulled off a taut 6-5 win at 120 pounds over Strath Haven's Tony Lieu, offering a rare highlight for the Cougars in a 44-27 loss. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)
Springfield’s David Bagirov, left, pulled off a taut 6-5 win at 120 pounds over Strath Haven’s Tony Lieu, offering a rare highlight for the Cougars in a 44-27 loss. (Times Staff/Tom Kelly IV)

“(Head coach Tony Gilliano) wants to get us ready for the postseason,” David Moore explained. “We’re expected to step up and be mentally tough.”

Gilliano, in his first year on the job, has steered the Panthers (1-1 overall and Central League) in the right direction after they dropped the opener against Penncrest.

“Last week didn’t go our way. I told the guys that happens,” Gilliano said. “It’s how you respond, though. You can either mope or work hard. These guys came out (last) Thursday and pushed themselves in practice.”

They haven’t stopped working since. David Moore, a senior, has been instrumental in not only establishing Haven’s mindset but also in easing Gilliano’s transition.

“David was the first kid I talked to,” the rookie coach said. “His leadership is second to none. He’s been phenomenal. But it’s not just him. All our seniors have really stepped up.”

Springfield (2-3, 1-1), on the other hand, remains a work in progress.

“We’re inexperienced,” said coach Dave Pecunia, a 15-year veteran at the helm of the Cougars. “We’re looking for effort every night. You’ve got to get better every day, because everyone else is getting better.”

The more novice wrestlers would do well to follow Chris Sciarrino’s example. With a pin of Jaelen King in the 170-pound bout, Sciarrino earned win number 84 of his stellar career. Thomas Becker added to the consolation by pinning Lee Holbert in the final match of the evening.

“We’ll put guys against the better opponents,” said Pecunia. “It’s going to take time.”

In other Central League action:

Marple Newtown 51, Radnor 21 >> The Tigers improved to 2-0 with the help of four Raiders (0-2) forfeits. Zak Elfernani (126), a regional qualifier a season ago, set the tone with a pin of Grady Dendunnen in 1:09. The win was indicative of the Tigers’ dominance at the lower weight classes. They took every match from 106 to 132.

Upper Darby 42, Ridley 27 >> The Royals improved to 7-0 overall with a convincing win over the Green Raiders.
Jason Mejias (113 pounds), Colin Cronin (138), Ryan Kennerly (195) and Peter Augustine (285) all recorded first-period pins. Kennerly’s fall came in a mere 20 seconds.

Penncrest 84, Harriton 0 >> The Lions made quick work of the Rams thanks in large part to nine victories by way of forfeit. When the Lions actually wrestled, they made it look easy.

Joshua Speese (132), Ryan Stocku (138), Zach Groses (145), Glen Volpe (152) and Stephen Clair (160) all notched wins via pin.

Garnet Valley 57, Lower Merion 21 >> Nick Puliti (138), Dave Wood (145), Paul Gartman (160) and Ryan Mortimer (170) all registered wins by fall and 120-pounder Kevin Christie earned a 10-0 major decision for the Jaguars.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply