Weekly Feature

2018-02-07 / Sports

St. Joe’s wrestling team wins All-Catholic Title


For the fourth year in a row, the St. Joe’s Wrestling team has captured the All-Catholic Championship. The Marauders earned 234 points in the Sunday’s event at home, besting regular-season champion St. Francis by 37 points. The Marauders had 10 athletes make it as far as the final round. That, along with team depth, played huge roles in the victory.

“I think it was a total team effort,” St. Joe’s coach Pete Kennedy said. “We started off by putting 10 guys in the finals. After the semis, we were down by 25. In the consolation rounds, our guys that haven’t wrestled a lot of varsity were able to help us out. By the time the finals started, we were back in front. The pressure was not on our guys and we were able to take care of it by that point.”

St. Joe’s senior Ty Slaugenhoupt was named Most Outstanding Wrestler at the meet, after capturing the title in the 160-pound weight class. He got wins over Marcus Muffoletto in the final and Dan Karl of Canisius.

“He looked great,” Kennedy said. “I thought he wrestled one of his better matches of the season. There’s no reason he couldn’t wrestle that way in states too. He’s in control and in shape. He scored all the offensive points in the final match. It was a very controlled performance.”

Other champions on the St. Joe’s team included Samuel Baker at 120 pounds, Garrett Grenauer at 126 pounds, Ronnie Jones at 138, Matthew Werts at 182 and Caleb Lesswing at 285.

“We had six champions, so there were plenty of great performances,” Kennedy said. “Sam Baker won his second All-Catholic title in an awesome final. He got a technical fall. He just scored when he wanted to. Garrett Grenauer is a sophomore who’s coming into his own. He’s got his own skill set and technique. He’s very strong, he has tremendous strength. He works after practice with all the coaches. He’s an All-Star in the weight room. It’s good to see him win. Ronnie Jones is a freshman who has 25 wins on the season. He beat a senior who had previously been the All-Catholic champion. He had lost to that guy in a dual meet earlier in the year. He put it on him last night. Ty won his third straight All-Catholic title, which not a lot of people have done. Matt Werts went out with a pin. He looked really good. Sophomore heavyweight Caleb Lesswing won in overtime by a point. You can’t teach that kind of poise. To be able to return to the mat and ride out that match was impressive. It’s the second time he’s beaten that guy in overtime.”

The Marauders lost to St. Francis late in the season, by a score of 37-29. Many of the matches were close calls, which could have flipped the outcome to St. Joe’s had they gone another way. Sunday, the team successfully flipped that script.

“When we wrestled in the dual, it was close,” Kennedy said. “We had a couple that could have gone the other way. There were several one-point matches. Yesterday we were definitely more competitive. We beat some guys who we lost to earlier in the year.”

One of the main reasons the team was able to come through with a win was the depth of the program. St. Joe’s has the biggest team, and everyone in the program is able to contribute.

“A lot of the seniors stepped up, it ultimately came down to the depth of the program,” Kennedy said. “We have almost twice as many wrestlers as everyone else. That’s kind of our philosophy. The more guys that come out, the more we keep, the more that turn into wrestlers for us, the more success we have this year and beyond. I tell the guys if they join and stick it through, they’ll be a part of a championship team. No one rides the bench in this sport, everyone contributes.”

St. Joe’s will next travel to Staten Island Saturday and Sunday for CHSAA Championship Tournament. The team is aiming to get a few wrestlers through to the Federation Tournament.

“Our overall goal is to have another team performance and push as many people through to the feds as we can,” Kennedy said.

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

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