By Derek Pyda
Eagle Staff Writer
WEXFORD — Leading 21-3 after five bouts, Butler’s first-ever section championship in wrestling seemed well within its reach.
But that’s when North Allegheny gained traction just in time.
The Tigers won six of the final eight bouts — four of them by pin — to edge the Golden Tornado 33-30 for the Section 3-3A crown Wednesday at North Allegheny High School.
A Butler victory would have not only earned for the Tornado their first section championship, but they would have achieved it by beating the Tigers for the very first time.
“Not enough effort or energy from us tonight,” said Butler coach Scott Stoner. “You need to win as a team and we were flat.”
When Jake Pomykata pinned NA’s Joe Booth at 285 pounds, Butler’s lead was back to 18 points at 27-9. But Casey Walker began the Tigers’ string of five straight wins when he won by decision at 106.
However, NA didn’t just need wins, it needed pins. Will Bentrim, Dylan Coy and Nathan Monteparte delivered them at 113, 126 and 132 pounds, respectively.
Monteparte’s fall broke a 27-all tie and, in effect, ended Butler’s hopes. Butler’s Dom Vivirito won by decision in the match’s final bout, but had he won by fall, NA would have still claimed the title on criteria (more wins, 7-6).
Joining Pomykata in earning falls for Butler were Levi Donnel (145), Landon Christie (172) and Michael Kreinbucher (189).
“We knew NA was going to be tough based on the original lineup, but they were without two of their top wrestlers tonight, which really helped us out a lot,” said Stoner. “We just didn’t do enough work to get out. There were some bouts where we got an early lead and ended up getting pinned.”
The Tornado reached the final by beating Pine-Richland, 42-30, in a semifinal earlier in the evening while NA took care of West Allegheny, 47-14.
Tornado pins against the Rams came from Vivirito, Donnel, Cade Savochka (152), Christie, Kreinbucher and Pomykata.
Despite his team falling short, Pomykata appreciates the motivation he gets from team success.
“It pushes you to get the win not just for yourself, but for the rest of the guys,” he said. “It gives you that extra boost, especially late in a bout when you’re tired.”
Butler (11-2) will enter the WPIAL team tournament next Wednesday at a site to be determined.
“For us, it will come down to getting bonus points when the opportunity is there,” Pomykata said. “And even in bouts that we lose, not getting pinned. I think we have a chance.”
Butler 42, Pine-Richland 30
(Match started at 138 pounds)
106-Ana Malovich (B) won by forfeit; 113-Shane Simpson (PR) pinned Kelley Schaukowitsch, 5:00; 120-Dom Ferraro (PR) major dec. Gavin Rush, 11-0; 126-Rocco Campanella (PR) tech. fall Aiden Plopi, 17-0; 132-Anthony Ferraro (PR) pinned Kase Chopp, 2:31; 138-Dom Vivirito (B) pinned Rowan Foster, 1:43; 145-Levi Donnel (B) pinned Nick DeRenzo, 1:22; 152-Cade Savochka (B) pinned Jared Hall, :40; 160-Jacob Lukez (PR) dec. Matt Zinkhann, 5-4; 172-Landon Christie (B) pinned Angelo Samuels, 1:54; 189-Michael Kreinbucher (B) pinned Cole Wilson, 1:57; 215-Dante Cruz (PR) pinned Braylon May, 3:12; 285-Jacob Pomykata (B) pinned Joey Schneck, 5:24
North Allegheny 33, Butler 30
(Match started at 145 pounds)
106-Casey Walker (NA) dec. Ana Malovich, 6-0; 113-Will Bentrim (NA) pinned Kelley Schaukowitsch, 2:48; 120-Sam Horton (NA) dec. Gavin Rush, 9-6; 126-Dylan Coy (NA) pinned Aiden Plopi, :12; 132-Nathan Monteparte (NA) pinned Kase Chopp, 1:25; 138-Dom Vivirito (B) dec. Jayson Flener, 6-4 (OT); 145-Levi Donnel (B) pinned Krist Vizcarra, 2:39; 152-Cade Savochka (B) dec. Kellen Buggy, 11-5; 160-AJ Rohan (NA) dec. Matt Zinkhann, 4-0; 172-Landon Christie (B) pinned Anthony Spivak, :51; 189-Michael Kreinbucher (B) pinned Tyler Magorien, 1:43; 215-Aidan Buggy (NA) pinned Braylon May, :15; 285-Jacob Pomykata (B) pinned Joe Booth, 1:31