Wrestling: Nanticoke Area clinches D2 berth

The GNA Insider Staff

Article from the Citizens’ Voice.



Nanticoke Area’s Joseph Sauers wrestles Berwick’s Alex Beck in a 113-pound match on Wednesday.


NANTICOKE — A whiteboard hanging in Nanticoke Area wrestling’s practice room lists the team’s upcoming schedule and, below the last meet, the note “(Team Duals?)”

The District 2’s Team Duals tournament was never even a question in the last three seasons of winless Trojans wrestling. On Wednesday night, though, it became a reality.

A memorable week continued at Nanticoke Area as pins by Chris Maute, Adam Eckhart and Zack Pelton extended the young team’s winning streak to three Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 dual meets. This latest victory, a 51-27 win over Berwick, was even more important — it punched the Trojans’ ticket for next week’s District 2 duals.

“Anything can happen,” Nanticoke Area coach Harold Shotwell said. “The sky’s the limit, and we’re just super excited to be there and show that hopefully Nanticoke wrestling is around for a while.”

Four teams from WVC Division 2 qualify for the district duals, which start Wednesday at four sites. Lake-Lehman (5-0) clinched a top seed and a Class 2A home site with its Division 2 title, while Nanticoke Area (3-2) and Wyoming Area (3-2) also locked up spots with their wins Wednesday.

Berwick (2-3) and Hanover Area are tied for the division’s fourth and final spot. While District 2’s seeding criteria includes head-to-head competition — and Berwick defeated Hanover Area this season — the final seeds will be determined when the District 2 Wrestling Committee meets Tuesday.

The Trojans, who started their three-match surge with a comeback win over Wyoming Area, surely secured their spot with Wednesday’s big win.

Before Saturday, they hadn’t won a Division 2 match since the 2013-14 season. They also hadn’t posted a winning season going back to 2007-08, the last season archived on District 2’s website, although Shotwell estimates that drought could extend to the 1990s.

While Nanticoke Area rose above .500 with some help — Berwick spotted it 18 points with a 4-to-1 forfeit advantage — the Trojans did their job on the mat, too.

Maute, a 132-pounder and the lone senior on the team, got reversed to his back but then reversed his way into a pin of Maurice Smith. Rather than losing his team’s lead, Maute gave it a 29-17 advantage with his turnaround fall.

“Right now, (Maute’s) leading by example,” Shotwell said. “He’s been around a few years, he’s worked really hard and I’m really glad he’s starting to get the success … that comes with it.”

Eckhart sealed the win with his 41-second pin at 152, which put the Trojans up 41-21 with three bouts to go. Pelton ended the night with his pin.

Now, the Trojans enter the team duals for the first time since 2014 and the second time ever.

“It just puts a lot of enthusiasm in these kids,” Shotwell said. “It gives them something to work for, something to strive for.”