La Salle comeback floors Father Judge

Father Judge's Pat McGinley (left) would barely get by La Salle's Anthony Siwek, wrestling to a close, 3-2, decision in the 106-pound match. La Salle rallied to take the CL championship.
Father Judge's Pat McGinley (left) would barely get by La Salle's Anthony Siwek, wrestling to a close, 3-2, decision in the 106-pound match. La Salle rallied to take the CL championship. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)

The Explorers won their fourth straight wrestling title but Judge put up a fight.

Posted: February 02, 2012

La Salle had had a fairly easy time racking up the last three Catholic League wrestling titles. And though Father Judge provided the stiffest competition in the league in years, it wasn't enough to keep the Explorers from adding yet another piece of hardware to their trophy case.

After falling behind early, the Explorers won seven of the final nine matches for a 37-27 victory over Judge in the PCL championship match Wednesday night at La Salle.

The league title is La Salle's fourth straight and fifth in the last seven years. On Friday, La Salle will go for its fourth consecutive District 12 Class AAA title when it faces Public League champ Northeast.

It's the first league title for La Salle coach Richie Gebauer, 28, who this year took over for retired Pennsylvania wrestling Hall of Famer Vic Stanley.

La Salle's last Catholic League defeat came on Feb. 2, 2008, in the league finals, against now-defunct North Catholic, guided by current Judge head coach Jim Savage.

"I'm happy for the seniors," Gebauer said. ". . . To not have lost a conference dual meet [in four years], I think that's a pretty impressive feat. For them, this is a big win."

The Explorers had won the previous three PCL titles by an average of 23 points, but against the Crusaders, it was far more complicated.

Despite forfeiting two of the first six matches, Judge (8-2 PCL, including playoffs) jumped to an 18-12 lead.

La Salle nudged ahead, 19-18, after eight bouts with decisions by 126-pounder Greg Konieczny and 132-pounder Tim Walker. Judge's Joe Galasso, ranked No. 7 in the state by PA Power at 138, pinned Kolby Stein in 2 minutes, 9 seconds to let the Crusaders reclaim the lead, 24-19, with five matches to go.

La Salle (10-0) received another forfeit win at 145 - where Matt Cimato, reigning PIAA bronze medalist, resides - before taking the next three matches to clinch the title. Nate Ezzo's 10-5 decision over Vickson Krah at 170, the penultimate bout, clinched the La Salle win.

Cimato and Casey Kent, who pinned Judge's Joe D'Imperio in 17 seconds at 160, each have 158 career wins, one shy of Joe Mazzi's all-time La Salle mark.

The Crusaders battled throughout, earning pins by Tim Maguire (195), Tom Bayer (220), and Galasso.

"We came in with a game plan, and it almost worked out for us," Savage said. ". . . We were asking a lot from our guys. We were basically bumping up guys two weight classes."

Savage has taken Judge to at least the league semifinals in each of his two seasons with the program. He has a 15-4 record, including playoffs, in league dual meets with Judge. Three of those losses came against La Salle.

"We knew it was going to be the closest this year," La Salle's Kent said. "At first, it was a little closer than we wanted it to be, but we got it together in the end."

The Results

LA SALLE 37, FATHER JUDGE 27

195: Tim Maguire, Father Judge, pin Joey Podraza, 3:49. 220: Antonio Pelusi, La Salle, win by forfeit. Hwt.: Tom Bayer, Father Judge, pin Bill Frusco, 0:57. 106: Anthony Siwek, Father Judge, dec. Pat McGinley, 3-2. 113: Gary Robinson, Father Judge, dec. Sal Anderson, 4-2. 120: Bryan Pflanz, La Salle, win by forfeit. 126: Greg Konieczny, La Salle, major dec. Vince Manzi, 22-10. 132: Tim Walker, La Salle, dec. David White, 6-4. 138: Joe Galasso, Father Judge, pin Kolby Stein, 2:09. 145: Matt Cimato, La Salle, win by forfeit. 152: Ryan Brady, La Salle, dec. Jack Eltman, 15-5. 160: Casey Kent, La Salle, pin Joe D'Imperio, 0:17. 170: Nate Ezzo, La Salle, dec. Vickson Krah, 10-5. 182: Idris White, Father Judge, dec. Dad Poquie, 10-7.


Contact Evan Burgos at rallysports@phillynews.com.

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