Trojan Wrestling


District 2 wrestling: Repasky’s pin historic for Trojans
Eric Shultz – Citizens Voice

Nanticoke Area’s heavyweight has been history in the making all wrestling season.

The Trojans never had a Wyoming Valley Conference tournament champion until Shane Repasky scored an upset in January’s final round. On Saturday, Repasky won another title that’s eluded Nanticoke Area wrestlers for more than a decade.

With another pin of the tournament’s defending champ, Repasky brought home the Trojans’ first District 2 championship in 16 years Saturday at Hazleton Area. His postseason continues Friday in the Class 3A Northeast Regional at Bethlehem Liberty.

“I’m amazed. I’m absolutely amazed. Hard work’s paying off,” Repasky said after his medal ceremony Saturday.

“I go on my phone, I swear I have over 100 notifications already. It’s crazy. First one in 16 years, first-ever WVC title, it’s honestly awesome.”

Repasky’s strong season had its first major moment when he was an underdog finalist at the WVC tournament. He advanced to the finals with a pair of first-period pins only to face Dallas senior Shawn Henninger, who won district gold in 2018.

A surprise pin in 2:33 clinched Repasky’s spot atop the medal stand.

In a dual meet not even a week later, Henninger took a one-point decision over Repasky. It evened their season series and left Saturday’s championship without a clear favorite when they wrestled again.

Henninger backed up Repasky toward the boundary line early in their D2 final as both sides tangled on their feet. Before he stepped out of bounds, Repasky got hold of Henninger’s right arm and used his strength to fling him to the mat, getting back points in the process.

Action was whistled dead without a pin, but Repasky said he felt excited to jump ahead with the early lead. He eventually picked up the fall 15 seconds into the third period.

“He came out strong, and I just wrestled,” Repasky said. “I did my thing and I won.”

Repasky ended a district title drought that had lasted so long, Nanticoke Area’s last champ, Jason Mitkowski, graduated closer to current Trojans coach Harold Shotwell than Repasky. Six years after Shotwell received his diploma, Mitkowski won gold at 189 pounds in 2003.

Fifteen more tournaments came and went with a few Trojans finalists but no winners. Repasky got it done Saturday against Henninger (30-8) — but first started his day with a quality win in the semifinals. He earned his spot in the final by winning 2-1 over Valley View’s John Shnipes (28-5), a Class 2A heavyweight finalist last year.

“It shows a lot about the program and the kids. The attitude in the room this year was a lot different. They wanted to be better; they pushed each other to be better,” Shotwell said. “Shane stepped up, and that was his goal this year: to get his name up in the gym. He did what he set out to do, and I’m really proud of him.”

Nanticoke Area finally crowned its latest champ despite a move to Class 3A. It turns out that didn’t mean much for Repasky, who also moved up from 220 pounds in 2017-18.

He’s 28-5 this season following a 16-9 junior year that ended a place shy of regionals due to injury.

“He just loves to have fun with it,” Shotwell said. “He loves it, and he doesn’t let anything get him down. If he’s out there and he’s down points, he doesn’t let it get him down.”

When Repasky hits the mat again Friday, it’ll be the first time Nanticoke Area is represented at regionals since 2015.

Of course, the competition only gets fiercer at this stage. The last nine Nanticoke Area qualifiers have found that out with a 1-18 combined record, last winning in the 2011 tournament.

But Repasky has already proven himself against stiff competition in two major tournaments this season.

“When he’s smiling and he’s having fun, you know anything can happen,” Shotwell said. “I don’t count Shane out of any match, really. Big, small, he just takes it in stride.”

WVC Wrestling Preview
Erick Shultz - Citizens Voice

Coach: Harold Shotwell

2017-18 WVC record: 3-2 (T-2nd of 6)

2017-18 team finish (Class 2A): Consolation semifinals at team districts; 11th of 15 at individual districts.

Returning regional qualifiers: None.

Graduated regional qualifiers: None.

Projected starting lineup: 106: Zach Capie; 113: Joseph Sauers; 120: Dillon Kruczek; 126: George Brown; 132: Aiden Jaskolski; 138: Trevor Grohowski; 145: Austin Cheslaw; 152: Jacob Gall; 160: Collin Kudrako-Kashatus; 170: Adam Eckhart; 182: Isaiah Johnson; 195: Zack Pelton; 220: Seth Pelton; 285: Shane Repasky.

Outlook: Nanticoke Area reached last season’s District 2 duals in its best season in a long time. Its reward? A ticket to the Class 3A level of play in the new classification cycle. But Shotwell hopes the Trojans keep the good vibes going around the program and pick up where they left off. Capie and Repasky were a place away from regionals; Brown, Eckhart and Kudrako-Kashatus were other D2 medalists. Another year under all their belts could help keep Nanticoke Area competitive despite the new playing field.

Coach’s quote: “Our attitude in the room the last two years is something that I haven’t seen since when I wrestled at Valley West when I was younger. They have that competitiveness, that grit. … They push each other to be better. We don’t have to really motivate these kids this year or last year. They’re self motivated. They had a little taste of it, and now they want more.”

WVC Wrestling Preview
Dave Rosengrant - Times Leader

Coach: Harold Shotwell, sixth year
Last Year: 3-2 Division 2; 10-7 overall
Key Losses: Chris Maute

Probable Lineup: 106: Zach Capie, Jr.; 113: Joe Sauers, Jr.; 120: Dillon Kruczek, Sr.; 126: George Brown, Sr. or Sebastian Kryznewski, Fr.; 132: Aiden Jaskulski, Fr.; 138: Trevor Grohowski, Sr.; 145: Austin Cheslaw, Sr. or Baylie Butler, So.; 152: Jacob Gall, Sr.; 160: Collin Kudrako-Kashatus, Jr.; 170: Adam Eckhart, Jr.; 182: Isaiah Johnson, Jr.; 195: Zack Pelton, Jr.; 220: Seth Pelton, Jr. or Hunter Welch, Jr.; 285: Shane Repasky, Sr

Outlook: Finally breaking through last year and becoming a divisional contender, the Trojans are now bumping up from Class 2A and Division 2. Last year was a teaser of what this team can do. Plenty of old faces are returning to the lineup so the jump in classification shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Coach’s Comments: “There’s not really much of a difference (in Class 3A). We wrestled all the teams in the conference tournament. So it’s just building on the standards that we set for the team last year.”

The Trojans have been in Class 2A for decades. Last year, they finally got in contention for the Division 2 crown and advanced to district duals after several down years and also picked up five medals at districts, something the team hasn’t done in a while. Even though they’re now in 3A, the team’s goals stay the same, and have even become heftier.

“I think we can improve on a lot of what we did in districts. A lot of us placed in districts with half of our team, but I don’t think they were looking for what they actually can do,” said Trojans 160-pound junior Collin Kudrako-Kashatus. “We’re looking to have some district champs this year, maybe up to three district champs, nine placers, get people to regionals and maybe one person to states.

“We’re having high hopes because with the experience we have, we should be experiencing the next level. Triple-A and Double-A are different, but some people would say that Double-A is tougher because of the smaller school with more kids.”