Thursday, March 13, 2008

Prestifilippo's overtime luck runs out

By Steven Lienert

Hershey, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - Matt Prestifilippo's luck in overtime matches finally came to an end last week.

At each stop along the way to the PIAA state championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, the North Penn 112-pound junior wrestler emerged victorious either at the last second or in extra sessions to capture the title.

After winning his first two matches by a scant two points each, Prestifilippo was tied at 2-2 in an overtime ride out against Emmaus senior Taylor Brown.

The winner earned a berth in the championship final, while the other was left lamenting what could have been.

While most matches like that are decided on the mat, the referee's ruled that Prestifilippo was penalized with a third caution on a restart with 13 seconds left in the ride out, which gave Brown a shocking 3-2 win.

"I was upset after that happened," Prestifilippo said. "I guess you can say I ran out of luck, but I thought it was a bad call. It was my fault. I could have been more prepared when I got back on top of him."

Prestifilippo was pinned in his consolation semifinal before rallying to defeat State College's Erik Galloway by major decision to capture fifth place. But watching Brown in the championship match stuck in Prestifilippo's craw.

"When I saw that kid wrestling in the finals, I told myself I'll be in the finals next year."

Fellow North Penn grappler Mike Incollingo (125) had a rude introduction to the state championship tournament. Incollingo, a senior, was pinned by West Mifflin's Sam Sherlock just 45 seconds into the first period of his first bout.

"The whole experience took me by surprise," Incollingo said. "I was like a deer in the headlights in my first match. I just wasn't ready."
Incollingo came back to pin Northampton's Josh Yurasits early in the second period of their consolation bout before falling in the second round of consolations to Rocco Wellek from Erie Cathedral Prep.

Incollingo will wrestle in an all-star match at Harry S Truman High School on Thursday, but after that, his wrestling career comes to an end.
"That's my last competition ever, I guess," Incollingo said. "I was excited for it to end so I could have a real life. But I know I'm going to miss it. It's going to be a whole different life without wrestling because it takes so much of your time. I almost don't know what to do with myself."


Pennridge 145-pound junior grappler Colin McConnell wanted desperately for this year's state championship run to start better than last year's did.

In last year's opening bout, McConnell dropped a major decision before getting pinned in the first consolation round.

Unfortunately, this year's story was much of the same. McConnell lost in the final seconds of his opening match against Cumberland Valley's Joseph Napoli, the eventual 145-pound champion.

"I think that the guys that he wrestled were very good and he may have been a little apprehensive," Pennridge coach Derek Sola said.

In the first consolation round, McConnell rebounded to earn a 6-2 win over Shane Alterio from Bellefonte, but his season came to end after a 3-1 loss to Easton's Eric Burgey.

"We would have liked him to open up a little more but I think that he has learned a lot from his experience at states and he will use it to motivate him this off season and next year," Sola said.

No comments: