Interboro edges Strath Haven on tie-breaker

PROSPECT PARK >> A crowd mixed with representatives from both Interboro and Strath Haven gathered around the scorer’s table soon after Monday night’s nonleague dual meet ended in a stalemate. As a result, wrestling would come down to math.

The official went through the various tie-breakers. He added up the points — and in the spirit of the week, checked his work twice — before coming to a conclusion.

The Bucs, with more first points won, earned a 38-37 victory thanks to Criteria H.

Perhaps the bout at 285 pounds should have clued those in attendance at Interboro that they were in for a bizarre night. Danny Mea, undefeated at 5-0 on the season, took the mat for the Bucs. Lee Holbert countered for the Panthers. As the pair clashed in the first period, Mea pulled away in pain and holding his mouth. The referee blew his whistle as Holbert gave a “what did I do?” look. Haven coach Anthony Gilliano pointed to a white spec lying amid the commotion. It was Mea’s tooth.

Holbert, though, was worse for wear. When the trainer couldn’t patch up the sophomore’s head — split open by Mea’s now absent incisor — Interboro earned a crucial six points and a 21-13 lead.

“That threw us for a loop,” said Panthers senior Noah Frantz of the incident. “We knew we had to get points where we could.”

After Kyleigh D’Agostino pinned Ian Lembo, Haven started its rally. A forfeit and four falls in five matches set up the visitors with a 37-33 advantage going into the last bout between the Bucs’ Mike Wasch and the Panthers’ John Crawford at 145 pounds.

“Get out there and do what you do,” Eric Thomas told Wasch before the latter took the mat. “We needed that six or the five.”

Wasch struggled to score against his defiant opponent. He took him to the ground early but couldn’t move Crawford into a pin position. It became a neutral battle with Wasch taking what he could.

“He kept switching on me. I had to keep restarting,” Wasch explained. “I was just trying to finish.”

He settled for a 14-4 major decision that left the teams tied. Some arithmetic gave Interboro (1-6) its first win of the year at the expense of an improving Haven team (1-2).

“It’s pretty upsetting,” said Frantz, who pinned Evan Sorrentino in 30 seconds at 126. “That’s a bad way to lose.”
“We usually don’t bring it to criteria,” said Thomas matter-of-factly. But he and the Bucs will take the victory.

Thomas himself set the tone for the night with a narrow 3-0 decision over Devon Moore. After more than 100 wins in his standout career, though, sometimes the scoreboard doesn’t satisfy the All-Delco. He cooled off against the gymnasium’s wall while he watched the ensuing action.

“Usually, I sit there and get my head together,” said Thomas. “Sometimes even if I win I get frustrated if I don’t do what I felt like I should have done. I sit down and then get back to cheering on my teammates.”

A win is a win, the cliché goes. Thomas, Interboro, proved it Monday night.

“It feels better than losing,” said Wasch.

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