BENTON Russ Hughes made his wrestlers wait for their congratulations from their parents and friends following a 53-21 win over Warrior Run on Thursday night.
He led them from the gym at Benton High School into the wrestling room and proceeded to chew them out as if they had just lost the dual-meet. The reality was the Tigers put together an impressive performance last night, losing just one contested bout.
To Hughes, it wasn't quite good enough. His wrestlers knew it, and when Hughes took the opportunity to read his team the riot act, they weren't exactly surprised.
"That's expected," Tigers junior returning state placewinner Jeric Kasunic said. "He wants us all to go out there and do the best we can and basically pin every time."
Benton didn't pin every time out last night, but it came darn near close. The Tigers won eight of the nine contested bouts, five by fall and one by technical fall.
Hughes got wins from the usual suspects with world champion Zain Retherford and three-time state placewinner Colt Cotten picking up falls in under a minute. But it was the wins from the unusual suspects that turned Benton's win into a rout.
Dominic Vitale had a first-minute fall at 160 pounds, Logan Womelsdorf upset Garrett Moser with a takedown in the final 20 seconds, and Luke Bogart picked up a fall earned a fall at 195 pounds.
A Warrior Run team which put itself in the forefront of the discussion as one of the top teams in District 4 a week ago with a win over Mifflinburg looked like a completely different team last night wrestling without five starters.
Freshman Zach LeBarron, ranked 10th in the state at 106 pounds, was out with an injury along with Nick Rohm, William George, Hunter Stroup and Matthew Kilgus. The Defenders were forced to forfeit at 106 and 220, and sent out juniors Jonathan LeBarron and Dominic Lincalis for their first bouts of the season at 160 and 195 pounds.
"They beat us. We're disappointed in the results," said Warrior Run coach Wayne Smythe, who remained at 493 career wins. "The guys they put on the mat were a little better than us, and that's to their credit."
Benton was able to beat two of Warrior Run's best wrestlers, first by having Kasunic bump up to 170 pounds where he beat regional qualifier Dan Breech, 7-4. Then it was Womelsdorf, a sophomore coming off a 12-16 season, taking down Moser, who entered the season ranked 16th in the state.
Womelsdorf was trailing 1-0 in the third period when he got hold of Moser's knee and scored a takedown with 18 seconds to go to win, 2-1.
As happy as Hughes was to get the wins, especially from Womelsdorf, he still saw a lot of things that needed to be corrected. And those mistakes, among others throughout the night, were the reason he took his team into the wrestling room to chew them out after a 32-point win.
"(Kasunic was) in on six or seven shots and didn't finish and that's a problem," Hughes said. "You get caught underneath a guy like that and it's a lot of wear and tear on him. I think it took a toll on Jeric. I think (Womelsdorf') proved something to himself. He still has to get in a little better shape. He's still in a bit of football shape. But he's coming. He's doing some things where he's half right and half wrong. But it's going to come."
After Warrior Run's Brandon Giannantonio won the night's first bout, Benton rolled off eight consecutive wins until Austin Fiedler accepted a forfeit win at 285 pounds. Of those eight consecutive wins, four were by fall.
It was reminiscent of the seven consecutive wins the Tigers pulled off on Tuesday against Muncy after falling behind 37-0. Benton won that dual on Tuesday, 42-37, with a last-match fall.
"(Pins) are the 15th guy on the roster. There's only 14 weights, but that's the 15th man," Hughes said. "If you can get a guy steamrolling and get that snowball rolling, there's a couple extra points you wouldn't normally have."
"That fired us all up the other night and we wanted to keep it going," Kasunic said. "This is a pretty big win, but I think we could have done a little better as a team. I don't think we're at our full potential yet, but we'll be there by the end of the year."
106: Alan Diltz, B, won by forfeit.; 113: Eric Hunt, WR, won by forfeit.; 120: Tyler Hornberger, WR, won by forfeit.; 126: Matt Welliver, B, pinned Brian LeBarron, 4:29.; 132: Brandon Giannantonio, WR, dec. Ronald Flick, 6-5. 138: Zain Retherford, B, pinned Andrew Walker, :36. 145: Colt Cotten, B, pinned Doug McCarty, :56. 152: Russ Ramsey, B, tech. fall Masen Wagner, 19-1, 6:00. 160: Dominic Vitale, B, pinned Jonathan LeBarron, :52. 170: Jeric Kasunic, B, dec. Dan Breech, 7-4. 182: Logan Womelsdorf, Bm dec. Garrett Moser, 2-1. 195: Luke Bogart, B, pinned Dominic Lincalis, 2:32. 220: Marcus Welliver, B, won by forfeit. 285: Austin Fiedler, WR, won by forfeit.
*Match started at 132 pounds
Takedowns: Benton 15, Warrior Run 3
Official: Joe Cesari.
Records: Benton (4-0); Warrior Run (2-1)