Locals place in Kiwanis Tourney

Blue Ridge's Dalton Hogle took a 16-0 major decision over Elk Lake's Blake Chew at 132 pounds in a Kiwanis Tournament opening round Friday in Tunkhannock. On Saturday, Hogle lost in the battle for third place to Pocono Mountain East's James Benjamin by a 3-1 decision. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

Blue Ridge’s Dalton Hogle took a 16-0 major decision over Elk Lake’s Blake Chew at 132 pounds in a Kiwanis Tournament opening round Friday in Tunkhannock. On Saturday, Hogle lost in the battle for third place to Pocono Mountain East’s James Benjamin by a 3-1 decision. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

BY SHANE HENNIGAN
Times Shamrock Writer

Frank Wadas is well aware of how significant the Tunkhannock Kiwanis Wrestling Tournament is to this area and its scholastic wrestlers.
As the years have passed, more and more people are becoming aware, as the tournament’s popularity has continued to increase. This year was no different.

For the 36th time, Tunkhannock High School hosted the two-day wrestling tournament Friday and

Elk Lake’s Blaise Cleveland (182) is locked up by Wyalusing’s Justin Griffith in the third place bout on Saturday afternoon. Cleveland was pinned in 1:33. STAFF PHOTO/ ROBERT BAKER

Elk Lake’s Blaise Cleveland (182) is locked up by Wyalusing’s Justin Griffith in the third place bout on Saturday afternoon. Cleveland was pinned in 1:33. STAFF PHOTO/ ROBERT BAKER

Saturday. Twenty-five teams from the Lackawanna League, Wyoming Valley Conference and schools from out of the area – two of which are from Virginia – were scheduled to compete in the area’s only individual tournament, which is a similar format wrestlers will see in the post-season.

“We’re really pleased,” Wadas, the tournament director who also coached at Tunkhannock for 32 years, said. “We feel we run a good, smooth tournament. With the competition we’ve brought in

Jake O'Brien (Mon) vs. Josh Beeman (Tunk) in first day action at 106 pounds. O'Brien went on to take third on Saturday against Hanover's Jeffery Bennett. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

Jake O’Brien (Mon) vs. Josh Beeman (Tunk) in first day action at 106 pounds. O’Brien went on to take third on Saturday against Hanover’s Jeffery Bennett. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

(from out of the area), I think a lot of the local teams want in it because they don’t have to travel to get the competition.”

Along with the host school, local schools scheduled to compete were Blue Ridge, Elk Lake, Lackawanna Trail, Montrose, Mountain View, Scranton, Scranton Prep, Valley View, Western Wayne, Coughlin, Hanover Area, Lake-Lehman, Nanticoke, Wyoming Area and Wyoming

Montrose's Chad Swift has his work cut out for him against Hanover's Khalil Lewis in the battle for fifth place at 220 pounds at the Kiwanis Wrestling Tourney in Tunkhannock. Swift lost a 4-0 major decision to Lewis. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

Montrose’s Chad Swift has his work cut out for him against Hanover’s Khalil Lewis in the battle for fifth place at 220 pounds at the Kiwanis Wrestling Tourney in Tunkhannock. Swift lost a 4-0 major decision to Lewis. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

Seminary.

Defending champion Pocono Mountain East was back to defend its crown along with Mahanoy, Mount Carmel, Northeast Bradford, North Penn-Blossburg, Sayre and Wyalusing.

Virginia Beach’s Princess Anne High School and Front Royal, Va.’s Warren County, where Wadas’ son Matthew coaches, were also scheduled to make the trip north to compete.

Wadas believes that having an individual format and wrestling back to eight places has really benefited the tournament throughout the years. He realizes that dual meet tournaments are nice, but it’s the individual ones that really benefit the entire team and not just certain wrestlers.

“By wrestling back to eight places, a lot of average kids get to place in the tournament,” he said. “As a coach, you want your average kid to get a match, too, and not just walk in and have your better kids get challenged.”
Wadas also noted that the format sets the kids and coaches up for things to come down the road in the postseason, which is another obvious benefit this prestigious tournament has to offer.

“Kids need to be able to go into an individual tournament where each round gets a little tougher, and you’re not getting breaks in between,” he said. “In dual meet tournaments, your toughest (opponent) might be in your first match, but here, you’re going to get good competition so your better kids are getting challenged in the semis and finals.

“The wrestlers need to hold their weight for two days, and I think that’s good for them,” he added. “I always felt as a coach it was good to have at least one individual tournament before you hit the state tournament. I think that’s why a lot of the guys still want to come back here, too.”

Local Results
Team scores: Montrose finished in a tie for 15th with Wyoming Seminary with 68; In 17th place was Blue Ridge, 58; Elk Lake finished in 23rd with 37; and Mountain View finished in 26th place with 5.
Championship finals
285: Dalton Chilson (WYA) pinned John Shaffer (MON), 5:22.
Third place
106: Jacob O’Brien (MON) won by default over Jeffrey Bennett (HA).
132: James Benjamin (PME) dec. Dalton Hogle (BR), 3-1.
138: Billy Poray (COU) maj. dec. Zach Edwards (BR), 12-1.
182: Justin Griffith (WYA) pinned Blaise Cleveland (EL), 1:33.
Fifth place
220: Khalil Lewis (HA) dec. Chad Swift (MON), 4-0.
Seventh place
113: Liam McLaughlin (PA) maj. dec. David Austin (BR), 8-0.
120: Francisco Lopez (EL) dec. Brett Toth (WW), 8-1.