NEWARK, Del. — For the better part of six minutes, it was a chess match on the mat.
Kurt McHenry dodged and ducked as he tried to find an opening to get past Trevor Mastrogiovanni’s arms and to his legs. Mastrogiovanni dropped low into his stance to respect McHenry’s speed.
It was a classic clash of styles Sunday when the top two 113-pounders in the national rankings collided in the Beast of the East finals. And it produced a bout that was heavy on tactics and light on scoring until the closing seconds.
But things happen in a blur with McHenry on the mat.
It was 2-2 with less than 15 ticks left on the clock. Then, in a span of seven seconds, all of this transpired:
Mastrogiovanni used a two-on-one on McHenry’s right side and fired off a shot.
McHenry sidestepped the attack and barely slipped his left leg out of Mastrogiovanni’s grasp.
McHenry squared up and spun to his right for a go-behind attempt.
Mastrogiovanni faced the top-ranked junior from St. Paul’s.
McHenry quickly bolted back to the left and dropped down to collect the Blair Academy sophomore’s right leg.
Mastrogiovanni began to kick away.
McHenry corralled the far leg to finish the go-ahead takedown with six seconds remaining.
“He decided to shoot and I fought it off,” McHenry said. “I was stingy and right from that I looked to score automatically.”
Top-ranked Kurt McHenry went into warp speed for the winning takedown against No. 2 Trevor Mastrogiovanni in the Beast finals at 113. pic.twitter.com/9tlhwrMuCC
— Trackwrestling (@trackwrestling) December 17, 2017
CARR SPOILS SASSO TITLE BID AT 152
Sammy Sasso would’ve been a title favorite this weekend if he opted to enter the tournament at 145 pounds, which is perhaps his ideal weight. But the Ohio State recruit made the decision prior to the season that he’d seek out competition against 152-pounders instead and he stuck with that pledge this weekend, even with top-ranked David Carr standing in his path to a second Beast title.
“Why not wrestle up and try to get the best competition? And it worked out,” Sasso said after a 6-3 defeat. “I came in here and wrestled another No. 1 guy. I lost the match, but there’s a lot to improve on than if I went ‘45 and won it.”
Carr got in on an early single and Sasso leeched on around the thigh of the Iowa State-bound senior from Massillon Perry in mid-air. The action shifted to the mat as Sasso passed a leg and squared up to Carr before Carr switched off to a double and finished the takedown, despite one last attempt by Sasso to fend it off.
“Maybe the scrambling that I have, that I can rely on, maybe at ‘45 or a weight below, that worked there,” Sasso said. “But when I get up against a bigger, stronger kid — he shouldn’t have been in on my legs in the first place — so the scrambling didn’t work and he finished both takedowns.”
COLAIOCCO ROLLS TO THIRD BEAST TITLE, OW AWARD
Blair Academy’s Michael Colaiocco had his arms filled with prizes Sunday when he made his way toward the Bob Carpenter Center exits. The tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler and 120-pound champion collected his third Beast title with a 3-0 win in the finals against No. 5 Julian Tagg.
The performance might have satisfied most, but Colaiocco shook his head in disapproval as he walked off the mat.
“I only scored three points and when you get to the college level that’s not going to do it,” Colaiocco said a couple hours later. “You’re not going to have a 3-0 match. When I go out there, my goal is to take people down five and six times. I want to put up 20 points a match and get falls, so only scoring three points was disappointing, but it got the job done.”
BLAIR PULLS AWAY
A six-point lead at the start of the day ballooned into a 51-point win Sunday as Blair Academy used its tremendous depth — and a few clutch victories — to pull away from Bergen Catholic for yet another Beast team title.
Ten Bucs placed sixth or better, six reached the finals and four won titles to help Blair pile up 288 points. Bergen Catholic finished second with 237, followed by Lake Highland Prep (188.5), Delbarton (150.5) and Brecksville (146).
The title race was decided long before the finals, but Blair padded its final margin in the championship round, thanks, in part, to a couple last-second wins.
Cornell recruits Andrew Merola and Julian Ramirez pulled out dramatic victories in title bouts at 160 and 170, respectively.
Fourth-ranked Merola reversed No. 10 Phil Conigliaro to his back in the closing seconds to win a 5-2 decision in the first tiebreaker.
No. 8 Ramirez finished a single with five seconds left to beat No. 5 Emil Soehnlen 3-1.
“The guys came through in a lot of the close matches,” Blair coach Brian Antonelli said. “Andrew Merola, you put him in overtime and he usually finds a way to win. Julian, that guy beat us last weekend in the finals at the Ironman. That was a great, tight, close match. Those are the real important ones for the guys. That’s what they train for.”
Blair's Andrew Merola with a late reversal and backs for the win in the Beast finals at 160 pounds. pic.twitter.com/62fg7p6YFx
— Trackwrestling (@trackwrestling) December 17, 2017
Most falls — 6 — West Mifflin heavyweight Gerald Brown
Most tech falls — 3 — Blair 120-pounder Michael Colaiocco and Malvern Prep 195-pounder Michael Beard
Fastest fall — :09 — Fort Dorchester heavyweight Quamari Jackson
Most team points — 35 — Delbarton 126-pounder Patrick Glory
Most match points — 106 — Malvern Prep 195-pounder Michael Beard
(Photo: Kurt McHenry (right) and Trevor Mastrogiovanni locked up in a battle of the top two 113-pounders in the national rankings/Andy Hamilton)
Above article re-posted from: http://www.trackwrestling.com/tw/PortalPost.jsp?postId=124472132