Hosts Jackets take sixth on the mat

Waynesburg deals with shorthanded roster in first outing of 2020

The ninth annual Waynesburg University wrestling invitational took place Saturday in the Rudy Marisa Fieldhouse. The tournament was an uphill climb for the Yellow Jackets.

Waynesburg wasn’t at full strength, as many key contributors were out because of injuries and weight issues. The Yellow Jackets only filled wrestlers in seven out of the 10 weight classes. Head coach Ron Headlee admitted that not having some of his stronger wrestlers grapple affected his expectations.

“I am not happy with the guys for not making weight, so it is kind of disappointing to our team,” Headlee said.

Although, the Yellow Jackets’ lineup was hindered due to not making weight and injuries, the depth of the team showed up as a bright spot. Waynesburg finished sixth out of 16 teams by scoring 70 team points on the afternoon.

Seven Yellow Jackets’ wrestlers ended up placing in the invitational. Freshman Harley Constable dropped from 141 to 133 to fill a weight class for Waynesburg and stepped up, earning sixth place honors.

“Harley had a really good day.” Headlee said. “He is going to be a good kid for us I think and I am really happy with him.”

Caleb Baxter had a strong start to the day with a fall in two minutes solidifying the reason why he was the second seeded wrestler at 174 pounds. 174 just so happened to be the toughest bracket in the tournament, and Baxter lost his second match 1-0 to Trinity College’s Isaiah Bailey who ended up finishing third in the tournament.

Baxter added two wins until his on going knee troubles forced him to medically forfeit.

“I don’t think Baxter wrestled bad.” Headlee said. “He lost a tough one 1-0, but he was battling all day.”

Senior Matt Lascola finished off of the trifecta of sixth place finishes while going 3-3. Fellow senior Dan Verhovsek lost a heartbreaker in his first match 4-3 after leading Trinity College’s Evan Frank for most of the match until he gave up a late third period takedown. Verhovsek continued to add to his improved senior campaign by not taking a loss the rest of the afternoon, finishing third at 184.

Verhovsek’s classmate and 184 pounder Dillon Charlton had one of his most impressive showings as a Yellow Jacket. Charlton won his first match of the day 10-1. The senior captain then had a tough bout with Alvernia’s second-seeded wrestler Ali Capobianco, but when Charlton wasn’t being thrown into scorers tables by Capobianco ,he was outscoring him, leading Charlton to win the match by disqualification late in the third period.

Charlton then had an even tougher bout in the finals against Alderson Broaddus College and 2018 D2 National Qualifier Gino Sita. Sita defeated Charlton by tech fall 21-4.

Freshman sensation Rocky McGeary pinned his way into the finals just as he did often in the first half of the season. In McGeary’s second match of the day he was losing late into the third period before picking up a fall against Trinity College’s John O’Brien. Meeting McGeary in the finals was Adrian College’s Isaiah Espinoza.

Espinoza picked up a takedown in the first period with three seconds left and never looked back. Espinoza ended up handing McGeary his first loss to a division three opponent this season and a second place finish.

“I think he (Rocky) puts a little too much pressure on himself thinking that he needs to win everyone of them,” Headlee said. That kid [Espinoza] was good.

The Yellow Jackets resume action at home this Wednesday night against McDaniel College at 7.