Journal Register News Service
LOWER POTTSGROVE -- The St. Pius X wrestling team wrapped up its dual meet schedule Wednesday night the way it began.
With a 54-6 win over Kennedy-Kenrick at Father Doyne Hall.
Though there wasn't much to cheer about in between, at least as far as team wins and losses go, the Winged Lions maintained a realistic attitude throughout the adversity of the long year. And now they'll head into individual post-season tournaments on a positive note after winning the battle for bragging rights against the team they'll be merging with after next season.
Zach Stone and Anthony Pugliese won by quick pins to start the night for Pius (2-14) at 171 and 189 pounds and Josh Rogers was awarded a victory by injury default after racking up a 17-7 lead by early in the third period. Then Jacob Quinn picked up KK's only win of the match, a pin against Mike Furey in the heavyweight bout, before a series of forfeits and double forfeits concluded the night.
Winged Lion coach Mark Houseal knew his team would win easily since the Wolverines brought only four wrestlers. But he still wanted his team to go out and wrestle hard ... which it did.
"I wanted the guys who had matches to go out and finish the race," said the SPX first-year coach, still wet after his team doused him with the water bucket following the win. "Pugliese tried some new moves (in a 61 second fall). Josh's match was unbelievable. He said, 'I've got this kid ... I can take him down the way I want.' Mike Furey ... I can't com
plain about the effort. I'm very proud of the boys. It was a good feeling. We had a roller coaster season, ending up like it did. We had a good season."
Rogers said the team and coach Houseal kept things in perspective during the string of setbacks.
"It's nice to have the tables turned for once," said the 215-pound junior, who raised his season record to 19-13. "We're over it. If you let all the little stuff get in the way, it clouds your mind. We're a small school. We have new kids. It's good that people understand that. You have to be honest with yourself."
"It's nice to end on a good note," said Pugliese, who jumped out to a 5-0 lead before earning his fourth win of the season. "It feels good. We just have a lot of fun with it. We don't take it too hard. He (Houseal) is such a good guy. He sets our goals for us every week. He sets realistic goals. He makes it an enjoyable experience. He's really set us up for the post-season all year long."
The Winged Lions will now have 10 days off before they begin the individual post-season grind in the District 1-AA Tournament at Springfield Township a week from Saturday.
"We're looking forward to districts," said Houseal. "This is a great way to go to districts. Overall, it was a good first year. The record doesn't show the progress we've made from the beginning of the year. It was a roller coaster of a year.
"After Boyertown (a 78-3 loss a week ago), adversity defined us through and through. I'm glad it was my first year. Now I understand what adversity is. I'm looking forward to a week of hard practice."
The Pius and KK teams will combine when their two schools merge into Pope John Paul II High School beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. But for now, and next season, the Winged Lions won't even think about that.
"We won't talk about the merger until March 8th, the day after states," said Houseal. "I'm excited. I'm looking forward to the off-season. I don't think anybody even wrestled last year during the off-season. I've got my whole core back and I'm actually going to have a couple new kids. We're going to be a lot better."
Houseal plans to meet Kenrick one more time next season.
"We'll schedule them next year if they have a team," he said. "If not, we'll go into the new school with bragging rights."
St. Pius X 54
171-Zach Stone (SPX) pinned Alex Quinn, :29 (6-0)
189-Anthony Pugliese (SPX) pinned Jarel Edsel, 1:01 (12-0)
215-Josh Rogers (SPX) won by injury default over Lou Zbyszinski, 4:17 (18-0)
285-Jabob Quinn (KK) pinned Mike Furey, 3:19 (18-6)
119-Anthony Yerger (SPX) won by forfeit (24-6)
125-Jarred Robbins (SPX) won by forfeit (30-6)
130-Nico Polero (SPX) won by forfeit (36-6)
145-John Anuszewski (SPX) won by forfeit (42-6)
152-Connor Myers (SPX) won by forfeit (48-6)
160-A.J. Ebersole (SPX) won by forfeit (54-6)