La Salle easily captures Catholic wrestling title

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Bonner's Seamus Flynn (bottom) is controlled by LaSalle's Mike Bowen. (Elizabeth Robertson/Staff Photographer)

Aside from the Senior Night festivities that preceded the match at La Salle on Wednesday night, the whole thing just felt routine.

A Catholic League wrestling match, in the home gym, in the early evening on a school night. All of which, of course, was sealed with thorough and convincing victory.

The Explorers, who have dominated the Catholic League all season, handed Monsignor Bonner a 53-20 defeat in the league championship match. It was La Salle's third consecutive title and fourth in the six-year reign of coach Vic Stanley.

The match lasted only 55 minutes, and came directly after the league semifinals. La Salle dispatched St. Joseph's Prep, 63-9, in a final-four bout, and Bonner upset Father Judge, 42-36, with a pin in the meet's final match.

La Salle senior Joe Mazzi, who recently set the school record for career wins and pinned Bonner's Dan Sissamouth in 1 minute, 53 seconds with a headlock, earned his third league championship in four years.

"Same thing every year," Mazzi said wryly.

His pin Wednesday, according to Mazzi, was the 145th of his varsity career. It was also (mathematically, at least) the meet's clincher. Just three matches went the entire three periods. La Salle collected three pins and two wins by technical fall.

Bonner's Marcus Collins was one of two Friars to win by pin. At 215 pounds, he dropped La Salle's Antonio Pelusi in 53 seconds.

For Stanley - who led his squad to an 8-0 regular-season record - winning titles, even when expected, never loses its luster.

"When I came here six years ago," Stanley said, "it was the furthest thing from our minds to win the PCLs. . . . Three in a row, that's awesome. You never get tired of winning championships."

Bonner, which finished the regular season at 6-2 in league, forfeited three weight classes and won four matches. Even with the lopsided loss, the Friars' 20 points were the most against La Salle in a league match all season.

The Explorers hadn't allowed more than 16 in a league dual before Wednesday's championship, winning by an average margin of 59.66 points per match. That includes the semifinals.

Bonner coach Phil Carbonetta acknowledged, with a shake of his head, that his team was simply content to have a chance to face La Salle.

"You know, they're one of the best teams around here," Carbonetta said. "We knew that coming in. The goal, obviously, was to make it into the finals."

The Explorers beat Bonner, 61-16, on Jan. 22 on the road. Having to concede three matches from the outset didn't aid the Friars' cause.

"I'm a coach, but I'm realistic," Carbonetta said. "You can't give away 18 points and win against a team like that. You just can't."

For La Salle, the journey begins here. There was little doubt at the season's beginning that the Explorers would be the heavy favorite in the league. Next step: Win the District 12 crown Friday for, also, the third straight year.

Then it's on to PIAA competition, where last year, Stanley's team finished fifth overall.

Said the coach: "I told the kids this is just a first step."

La Salle 53, M. Bonner 20

160: Shane Springer, La Salle, pin Marcus Warner, 0:30. 171: Nick Burns, La Salle, tech. fall Nick Maiele, 15-1. 189: P.J. Steinmetz, La Salle, pin Chris Guidera, 1:39. 215: Marcus Collins, Monsignor Bonner, pin Antonio Pelusi, 0:54. 285: Ryan Geiger, La Salle, win by forfeit. 103: Pat McGinley, La Salle, win by forfeit. 112: Bryan Pflanz, La Salle, win by forfeit. 119: Ryan Kiefer, Monsignor Bonner, pin Colby Stein, 1:01. 125: Roger Woerhle, La Salle, major dec. Mark D'Imperio, 9-1. 130: Tom Flynn, Monsignor Bonner, tech. fall Tim Walker, 15-0. 135: Joe Mazzi, La Salle, pin Dan Sissamouth, 1:53. 140: Matt Cimato, La Salle, tech. fall Joe DePhilippo, 20-4. 145: Ben Center, Monsignor Bonner, dec. Dom Bonitatis, 3-0. 152: Mike Bowen, La Salle, dec. Seamus Flynn, 5-4.

 


Contact Evan Burgos at rallysports@phillynews.com.