Facing No. 1
Butler wrestlers knock out Trinity, meet state champ Franklin Regional tonight
BUTLER TWP —
The Golden Tornado earned that spot with a 45-25 win over Trinity in a preliminary round match Tuesday night at the
Butler's reward is a matchup with the defending state champion and second-seeded Panthers at 6 p.m. today at Franklin Regional.
“It's a team that has a lot of experience,” Finan said. “They are one of the best teams around the nation. It's a blessing to work with them and learn what we can from them.”
The Panthers beat the Golden Tornado 64-6 in the WPIAL quarterfinals last season.
Franklin Regional is just as loaded.
The Panthers have two wrestlers — Spencer Lee (120 pounds) and Michael Kemerer (145) — ranked No. 1 in their weight classes nationally by InterMat.
Butler coach Scott Stoner wants to see his young team wrestle tough.
“I would hope the kids would rise up,” said Stoner, who picked up his 299th career win Tuesday. “It is very much a David and Goliath times 14 weight classes. (Franklin Regional) is very seasoned and they are coming off a dominating state performance last year.”
Finan, who pinned Trinity's Dawson Leavines in 2 minutes, 34 seconds, will have a tough challenge.
Should Finan wrestle at 152 against Franklin Regional, he could be pitted against Josh Maruca, who is ranked No. 7 nationally and committed to wrestle at Arizona State University.
Maruca pinned Finan in 52 seconds last year.
“Hank's really been wrestling well,” Stoner said. “There are a few things to tweak and things I'd like him to do differently, but I'm high on him.”
Trinity (3-4) wrestled without three starters and forfeited two weight classes.
“The three back-ups wrestling I had full confidence in the world in,” Hillers coach Mark Powell said. “They wrestled hard. (Michael Hertig) gave up a tough decision.”
Trinity led 12-3 after three matches thanks to pins from Michael Kolosky (113) and Tony Steadman (126).
Butler responded by winning the next nine bouts to go ahead 45-12.
Caleb Baxter tied the match with a pin at 138 and Donovan Malovich picked up a third-period pin to put the Golden Tornado ahead.
Malovich, who was focused on earning bonus points, was tied at two with Gino Cecchine entering the third period.
While not what he was aiming for, Malovich caught Cecchine in a headlock and put him on his back.
“I was looking to pin him because coach said it was going to be a tough match because they beat McGuffey,” Malovich said. “The kid was awkward. I didn't expect to get him in a headlock and throw him over. He just ended up in that position.”
Jeremiah Bortmas (160) also picked up a pin for Butler.
Finan said he plans to do his best against the Panthers. He isn't going to let Franklin Regional's reputation hold him back.
“The main way is that it really doesn't come to that,” said Finan, who is 14-6. “You have to wrestle as hard as you possibly can and that's what I intend to do.”
Butler 45, Trinity 25
(Match started at 113 pounds)
106-Evan Parkinson (T) decision Isaiah Christy, 6-3; 113-Michael Kolosky (T) pin Shane Culp, :45; 120-Connor Foust (B) dec. AJ Marino, 8-3; 126-Tony Steadman (T) pin Sam Dietrich, 2:59; 132-Scott Dietrich (B) dec. Michael Hertig, 3-1; 138-Caleb Baxter (B) pin Devin Kelley,1:35; 145-Donovan Malovich (B) pin Gino Cecchine, 4:16; 152-Hank Finan (B) pin Dawson Leavines, 2:34; 160-Jeremiah Bortmas (B) pin Zack Magdich, 1:20; 170-Thomas Greaves (B) won by forfeit; 182-Justin Johnson (B) by forfeit; 195-Nick Roth (B) dec. Ben Johnson, 8-2; 220-Robert West (T) pin Seth McCrea, :57; Hwt.-Austin Fife (T) maj. dec. JD Bojanac, 12-4