The Waynesburg University wrestling team had a statement 22-21 win Thursday night against rival Washington and Jefferson College.
The Yellow Jackets had a lot to worry about injury wise. Waynesburg was missing reigning PAC Champion Dylan Williams, as well as teammates Caleb Baxter and Adam Rigney. As a result, the Yellow Jackets had to forfeit at 125.
Waynesburg head coach Ron Headlee said earlier in the week the team that scored the most bonus points will win the match. He was right.
“We needed someone to do extra to get the extra points and it was huge.” he said.
At 133, freshman Harley Constable dealt with a tough Manny Dovshek and weathered the storm. Constable pushed the pace the entire match and tired out Dovshek to the point where he got back points late in the third period to secure a major decision victory.
At 157, Constable’s classmate Colby Morris closed an eight point gap between the two teams with a third period pin over Zach Schrott.
Then, senior captain, Zach Mackall carried some momentum over into 165, where he won by fall against Raheem Clemons in the second period. The pin gave the Jackets their first lead of the match, 16-12.
Waynesburg didn’t win a match the rest of the night until heavyweight Rocky McGeary beat Jake Walker.
Some of Waynesburg’s most impressive matches didn’t result in wins. Waynesburg wouldn’t just win the match off of four bonus point wins though, the team had to rely on other starters to force decisions from the heart of Washington & Jefferson’s lineup.
At 149, an injured Josh Kuslock took on W&J national qualifierMike Heinl and gave up a 9-4 decision win.
Jace Guy stepped up tremendously and wrestled at 174 against Jaden Datz. Guy, who has seen time at 149 this season, gave up twenty pounds to take on Neely and held him to a 9-5 win.
At 184, senior captain Dillion Charlton took on the last of W&J’s national qualifiers in Hunter Neely. Neely defeated Charlton, 14-7.
Richland High School graduate Dan Verhovsek faced off with Alex Donahue, a George Mason transfer at 197. Donahue was the second D-1 transfer Verhovsek has faced this season, and he’s held both of them to decision victories.
Verhovsek kept the match close before falling, 3-2, leaving Waynesburg with a five point deficit with one match left.
“In a dual meet everyone has to do more when they’re matched up against different guys, they did, and it was a great effort from our guys.” Headlee said.
“We’ve been getting texts from different people about ‘how does Waynesburg always have a good finisher?’” Headlee said.
Former Jackets’ wrestler Jake Evans had many heroic moments against the Presidents. Last season, Evans handed Walker and W&J losses in the individual dual meet and then later in the season at the PAC Championships.
This year’s heavyweight, Rocky McGeary, had one of those moments against W&J. Jake Walker worked to not be pinned the whole match, but late in the third period McGeary locked up a cradle, and said goodnight to the Salvetti Family Gymnasium crowd.
“People don’t realize how hard it is to try to pin somebody, when all they have to do is try to not get pinned.” Headlee said.
After the win, Waynesburg’s record moves to 8-5 [1-0 PAC], and the team extends its winning streak against W&J to nine matches.
“I thought everyone did their part last night, not giving up major decisions, not giving up tech falls, not giving up falls, and getting the falls when we needed to.” Headlee said.