Wrestling: Nanticoke Area clinches D2 berth
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A whiteboard hanging in Nanticoke Area wrestling’s practice room lists the team’s upcoming schedule and, below the last meet, the note “(Team Duals?)”
The District 2’s Team Duals tournament was never even a question in the last three seasons of winless Trojans wrestling. On Wednesday night, though, it became a reality.
A memorable week continued at Nanticoke Area as pins by Chris Maute, Adam Eckhart and Zack Pelton extended the young team’s winning streak to three Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 dual meets. This latest victory, a 51-27 win over Berwick, was even more important — it punched the Trojans’ ticket for next week’s District 2 duals.
“Anything can happen,” Nanticoke Area coach Harold Shotwell said. “The sky’s the limit, and we’re just super excited to be there and show that hopefully Nanticoke wrestling is around for a while.”
Four teams from WVC Division 2 qualify for the district duals, which start Wednesday at four sites. Lake-Lehman (5-0) clinched a top seed and a Class 2A home site with its Division 2 title, while Nanticoke Area (3-2) and Wyoming Area (3-2) also locked up spots with their wins Wednesday.
Berwick (2-3) and Hanover Area are tied for the division’s fourth and final spot. While District 2’s seeding criteria includes head-to-head competition — and Berwick defeated Hanover Area this season — the final seeds will be determined when the District 2 Wrestling Committee meets Tuesday.
The Trojans, who started their three-match surge with a comeback win over Wyoming Area, surely secured their spot with Wednesday’s big win.
Before Saturday, they hadn’t won a Division 2 match since the 2013-14 season. They also hadn’t posted a winning season going back to 2007-08, the last season archived on District 2’s website, although Shotwell estimates that drought could extend to the 1990s.
While Nanticoke Area rose above .500 with some help — Berwick spotted it 18 points with a 4-to-1 forfeit advantage — the Trojans did their job on the mat, too.
Maute, a 132-pounder and the lone senior on the team, got reversed to his back but then reversed his way into a pin of Maurice Smith. Rather than losing his team’s lead, Maute gave it a 29-17 advantage with his turnaround fall.
“Right now, (Maute’s) leading by example,” Shotwell said. “He’s been around a few years, he’s worked really hard and I’m really glad he’s starting to get the success ... that comes with it.”
Eckhart sealed the win with his 41-second pin at 152, which put the Trojans up 41-21 with three bouts to go. Pelton ended the night with his pin.
Now, the Trojans enter the team duals for the first time since 2014 and the second time ever.
“It just puts a lot of enthusiasm in these kids,” Shotwell said. “It gives them something to work for, something to strive for.”
195: J.J. Snyder (B) by fft. 220: Seth Pelton (N) by fft. 285: Shane Repasky (N) by fft. 106: Zach Capie (N) by fft. 113: Joseph Sauers (N) tec. Alexander Beck, 19-4. 120: Nicholas Yule (B) tec. George Brown, 15-0. 126: Fidel Mince (B) pinned James Dietterick, :32. 132: Chris Maute (N) pinned Maurice Smith, 2:42. 138: Oscar Perla (B) maj. dec. Keeghan Kester, 10-2. 145: Collin Kudrako-Kashatus (N) by fft. 152: Adam Eckhart (N) pinned David Pace, :41. 160: Alec Talanca (B) by fft. 170: Isaiah Johnson (N) maj. dec. Austin Dewald, 10-2. 182: Zackery Pelton (N) pinned Brandon Spezialetti, 3:03.

Downtrodden no more, Nanticoke Area wins third straight wrestling match
Dave Rosengrant - [email protected]

For the most part of this century, the Nanticoke Area wrestling team has been irrelevant.
The team has been at or near the bottom of the Wyoming Valley Conference standings just about every year.
Heck, with the exception of Jason Mitkowski’s phenomenal run to a district, regional and state championship in 2003, the Trojans haven’t even produced a district champion this millennium.
Just a week ago, the Trojans were riding a four-year losing streak in the WVC, which was snapped only five days ago in a win over Wyoming Area.What a difference a few days makes.
After Wednesday night’s 51-27 win over Berwick, Nanticoke is riding a three-match winning streak for the first time in years, and secured the conference’s No. 2 seed for next week’s District 2 Class 2A Duals Tournament for the first time ever in the team’s second berth ever in district duals in the 22-year history of the event. With Wyoming Area’s 42-30 win over Hanover Area, the Trojans and Warriors are both 3-2 in the division, but Nanticoke owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Trojans end the WVC Division 2 schedule with a 3-2 record. The winning mark in the division is something they have not had since the 1990’s.
“This is huge for kids and for the program to build our junior high team and feeder program,” Trojans coach Harold Shotwell said. “Nanticoke’s a basketball area, and they have a lot to be proud of in basketball. We’re just hoping we can give them one other thing to be proud of.”
On a team loaded with sophomores, the only senior on the team, Chris Maute, pulled out a pin in a big spot on Wednesday. In the 132-pound bout against Maurice Smith, Maute was on his back in jeopardy of being pinned. Smith picked up nearfall points in the first period and had Maute on his back again in the second period.
Had Smith registered the fall, the match score at that point would have been tied at 23-23.
Instead, Maute fought off his back, got a reversal then the fall in the second period to extend the Trojans’ lead to 29-17 with six weights remaining.
“Few people realize that fighting off your back is harder than people realize, and when someone is trying to pin you they release their own hits so you can try to turn him,” Maute said.
In three years wrestling for the Trojans, Maute has never experienced a team win in the WVC. Now, he’s leading a young and budding team to district duals. His win over Smith sparked the Trojans to wins in all but one of the remaining bouts in the dual. And being part of a winner is something special.
“It’s exciting. It’s been a few years since Nanticoke’s made it this far,” Maute said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster and hopefully we get to finish it as a good team.”
While Nanticoke has won three matches in a row, the Bulldogs (2-3) dropped three straight to end their divisional slate. But they still secured the conference’s No. 4 seed for district duals via winning the head-to-head tiebreaker with Hanover Area (2-3).
The Bulldogs are in district duals for the second straight season after missing out the previous two years.
“In the big picture…it’s gonna give our young guys more matches,” Berwick coach Ron Swingle said. “You equate it to college football making a bowl game. It gives you all that extra experience, all that extra practice. It’ll give us a couple more matches that if we didn’t make it we wouldn’t be able to wrestle. And it’ll give us an opportunity to fix some things.”

Citizens Voice Wrestling Preview

Nanticoke Area

• Coach: Harold Shotwell

• 2016-17 WVC record: 0-5 (6th of 6)

• 2016-17 team finish: Did not qualify for team districts; 14th of 15 at individual districts.

• Returning regional qualifiers: None.

• Graduated regional qualifiers: None.

• Projected lineup: 106: Zach Capie, so., Joey Sauers, so.; 113: Capie, Sauers; 120: George Brown, jr.; 138: Chris Maute, sr.; 145: Austin Cheslaw, jr.; 152: Adam Eckhart, so.; 160: Collin Kudrako-Kashatus, so.; 170: Isaiah Johnson, so.; 182: Zack Pelton, so.; 195: Seth Pelton, so.; 220: Shane Repasky, jr.

• Outlook: The Trojans are looking for their first WVC dual victory since 2013-14 and are on the right path. An influx of freshmen who filled some vacant weight classes return with a year of wrestling under their belts. With again one senior (Chris Maute), sophomore Isaiah Johnson is already a team leader after taking sixth at districts. Classmates like Zach Capie, Adam Eckhart and Collin Kudrako-Kashatus are others who could make an impact this season.

Times Leader Wrestling Outlook

Nanticoke (2A)

Coach: Harold Shotwell, fifth season

Last Year: 0-5 Division 2, 3-15 overall

Key Losses: Megan Kocher,

Probable Lineup: 106: Zach Capie, So.; 113: Joe Sauers, So.; 120: open; 126: George Brown, Jr.; 132: open; 138: Chris Maute, Sr.; 145: Austin Cheslaw, Jr; 152: Keeghan Kester, Jr.; 160: Adam Eckhart, So.; 170: Zack Pelton, So.; Isaiah Johnson, So.; Colin Kashatus, So.; 182: see 170; 195: Seth Pelton, So.; Hunter Welch, So.; 220: Shane Repasky, Jr.; 285: Sheik Ali, Jr.

Outlook: Shotwell is seeing things he hasn’t seen in his tenure as coach of the Trojans having a motivated bunch that wants to stop the losing. The Trojans haven’t won a match in the division since January, 2014 having dropped 16 straight duals dating back to then. This team is different, and with four double-digit winners returning, expectations have changed.

Coach’s Comments: “Once we get the allowances after the holidays, we’ll be close to filling a lineup, and that’s a big step for a program like us. We should be hopefully very competitive. The attitude in the room, and of the kids, this year is night and day from last year. The attitude is something we’ve been lacking the last few years. This year, they’re practicing harder and they’re working harder. They’re more of a team this year than just individuals. They’re working together as a whole where in previous years when unity wasn’t there. We’re hoping this is a nice stepping stone for the next two, three, four five years.”