JEFFERSON TWP — Adversity and wrestling go hand in hand. Over the first month of the high school season, the former had its way with Mars.
Wednesday night, the Planets turned their frustration into triumph, recording seven pins in a 54-21 Section 3A victory at Knoch.
It was the first win of the season for Mars.
“We'd been down and out lately,” said first-year Mars coach Zach Maisner. “It was tough in the beginning for us with injuries and some tough competition against Peters (Township), Seneca Valley, North Allegheny and Butler. But I liked the attitude that our kids brought to the mat tonight.”
“I thought we had a good chance tonight in several of the matchups,” said Knoch coach Mark McLaughlin. “But this did not come close to the team result I was hoping for.”
Richie Boeh set the tone when he pinned Knoch's Jarrett Rosencrance in the opening bout at 126 pounds and the Planets opened up a pair of 12-point leads (12-0 and 21-9).
The Knights battled back and when Ben Nowicki scored a pin at 170 pounds, Mars' lead was just 21-15. But Mars reeled off five straight wins — four of them by pin — to clinch the match. Nathan Bair (182 pounds), Austin Bitzer (195), Trey Turnblacer (Hwt.) and Max Hulak (106) recorded the falls.
The one bout in that stretch that did not end in a pin featured Mars' Johan VanWyk against Knoch's Brian Mowry at 220 pounds.
VanWyk led 3-2 and 6-4 after the first and second period, respectively, but Mowry managed a reversal and takedown early in the third to take an 8-6 lead.
VanWyk escaped and then, with under 10 seconds left in the bout, recorded a takedown for a 9-8 edge. He was awarded two near-fall points for good measure.
“This is only his second year of wrestling,” Maisner said of VanWyk. “He grew up in South Africa and has played a lot of rugby in his life. So, he has that whatever-it-takes attitude.”
Silas Bender capped Mars' win with a pin at 120 pounds. Also picking up a pin was Andy Selker at 152.
Mars 54, Knoch 21
(Match started at 126 pounds)
106-Max Hulak (M) pinned John Emminger, 2:47; 113-Zach Wilson (K) won by forfeit; 120-Silas Bender (M) pinned Jeremy Frazier, 2:47; 126-Richie Boeh (M) pinned Jarrett Rosencrance, 2:58; 132-Drew Schultheis (M) won by forfeit; 138-Brandon Yobst (K) dec. Chris Lorch, 7-5; 145-Matt Steinmiller (K) pinned Tyler Cybach, :38; 152-Andy Selker (M) pinned Trevor Hilliard, 3:07; 160-Ryan McMahon (M) dec. Tyler Hlebiczki, 12-5; 170-Ben Nowicki (K) pinned Alex Grosso, 2:27; 182-Nathan Bair (M) pinned Bailey Savage, 2:24; 195-Austin Bitzer (M) pinned Dalton Ashton, 1:23; 220-Johan VanWyk (M) dec. Brian Mowry, 11-8; Hwt.-Trey Turnblacer (M) pinned Kevin Kidd, :20