Elliott, Ross win section crowns for Indians
March 7, 2008
Sunday, 17 February 2008
Written by Dustin Filloy, Gazette Sports Writer   
MONROEVILLE – Craig Miller tried to remember the last time two Indiana wrestlers won section titles in the same year – but the long-time Indians' coach couldn't remember that far back.

However, on Saturday night at Gateway Senior High School, sophomore John Elliott and senior Dayne Ross gave Miller a new reason to search for that answer, which he later found.

Elliott, a 171-pounder who entered Saturday's WPIAL Section 1-AAA Tournament with a record of 17-11, pinned Franklin Regional's Cory Shields at 1:19 in the second period to become the first sophomore wrestler from Indiana since Luke Miller to claim a section crown. And Ross, a 215-pounder and a third-place finisher in last year's section meet, pinned Woodland Hills' Isaac MacKenzie with 38 seconds to go in the third period to tie the Indians' single-season record for pins (22). Both wrestlers, along with Brandon Maharaj (125), who finished second, and Quenton Webb (130), who finished fourth, advanced to the WPIAL Southwest Regional Tournament on Thursday at Canon McMillan High School. 

 

“It's been so long since we've had two section champions in one season that I couldn't tell you for sure who it was,” said Miller, who later found out that Mike Monsilovich and Jason Condino each won section titles for Indiana in 1995. “Coming in we thought we had two great chances with Dayne (Ross) and Brandon (Maharaj), who were both No. 1 seeds. But we also knew there were going to be a lot of quality wrestlers here, and nothing is ever for sure. We have four kids moving on, which is nice. Although it would have been nicer to see a few more seniors advance.”

Elliott advanced to the finals by pinning Travis Kuhn, the No. 1 seed from Plum, in 53 seconds in the semifinal bout. In the finals Elliott jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a first-period takedown, then turned Shields early in the second period with a half nelson to earn the fall.

“I felt confident going in because I knew I was wrestling with more heart and emotion than him,” said Elliott. “I lost my aunt and my best friend recently, and ever since then, I've been dedicating everything to them. I knew that if I wrestled with heart like I had done all day that I could become the first sophomore since Luke Miller to win sections. I just wanted this so bad for me and my family.”

Ross's championship bout began differently than Elliott's, but finished in similar fashion. Ross, who fell behind 2-0 just 15 seconds into the match, used an escape, a double-leg takedown, and a tilt to grab a 7-2 lead over Mackenzie in the second period. With 38 seconds to go in the match, Ross sunk a deep half nelson on Mackenzie and ended the match.

“This really means a lot to me,” said Ross. “At the beginning of the year, my goal as an individual was to get to states. I knew that if I won here tonight, that would give me my best shot at reaching that goal. I know it's going to be tough, but with my friends, teammates and coaches behind me, I know I have a chance.”

Indiana's other No. 1 seed, Maharaj, fell a few points short of being the third Indians' wrestler to top the winner's podium at sections. Maharaj used a double-led takedown just 19 seconds into his championship bout with Plum's Cory Bonura to take a 2-0 lead. But Bonura took an insurmountable 5-2 lead in the second period by tilting Maharaj for five back points.

“He did a good job of catching me off guard with that first tilt,” said Maharaj. “As for the second one, he just overpowered me with his legs.”

“It's very difficult to lose like this as a senior, but my goal is to get to states, and that's still in reach.”

As for Webb, he earned his first trip to WPIAL's by advancing to consolation finals, where he lost by technical fall, 18-3, to Penn Trafford's Stewart Owens.

 

Blog Posts


Trio of Indiana wrestlers ousted at AAA regionals
March 7, 2008
Written by Dustin Filloy, Gazette Sports Writer   
Sunday, 24 February 2008

CANONSBURG — Few high school wrestlers finish their individual season with a win.

In Pennsylvania, just 28...

Elliott, Ross win section crowns for Indians
March 7, 2008
Sunday, 17 February 2008
Written by Dustin Filloy, Gazette Sports Writer   
MONROEVILLE – Craig Miller tried to remember the last time two Indiana wrestlers won section titles...
Indiana wrestlers have high hopes
March 7, 2008
Written by Dustin Filloy, Gazette Sports Writer   
Thursday, 21 February 2008

Although each of the four Indiana wrestlers that qualified for the WPIAL Southwest Regional tournament have...

Indiana wrestlers fight to stay alive at regionals
March 7, 2008
PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dustin Filloy, Gazette Sports Writer   
Saturday, 23 February 2008
CANONSBURG - A lifetime of work and preparation comes down to the third and final day of the WPIAL...