Hightstown wrestlers capture Truman Tournament

By: Neil Hay
   Sweeping through four opponents Saturday, the Hightstown wrestling team began the 2003-04 dual meet season by winning the Truman Invitational Tournament in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
   According to coach Mike Russo, the title was the Rams’ first in over 20 years.
   "Everyone contributed" to the team championship, said Russo. "It’s really nice. We showed a lot of heart. The team really pulled together. We got a lot out of it."
   In the Rams’ opening match, a 65-6 win over Bristol, Hightstown scored pins from Tim Trivisonno (at 112, in 2:30), Chris Crawford (135, :57), John Bardachino (152, :14), Greg Scheman (189, 1:10) and Ricky Vetick (215, 1:30). The Rams’ only on-mat loss was at 171, when Ken Amponsa was pinned in 5:05. All the other weight classes were decided by forfeit.
   Next up for the locals was the host school, Truman, which lost to Hightstown by a 40-24 final. In the first match, at 125, the Rams’ Brandon Tyers posted a 9-0 major decision, then at 130 Erik Crawford won 15-11. Next up was Chris Crawford, who lost 5-3 at 135. At 140, Adam Gonzalez was pinned in 1:19. But Dan Indellicati, at 145, won by fall in 5:47. Bardachino put his opponent on the mat in 3:44.
   Truman regained some momentum at 160 when Hightstown’s Andy Feeney was pinned in 1:19. But Amponsa won by fall in :29, Scheman escaped with a 6-5 decision, and Vetick won by a 3-0 score. Ethan Lippman then won at 103 (6-1). Trivisonno lost in overtime, 11-6. Brian Leibowitz put the exclamation point on the win with a pin in 1:21 at 119.
   Under the tournament’s random start, the Hightstown-New Hope match began at 125, where John Marion lost, 10-6. Tyers, bumped up to 130, responded with a win by pin in :15. Indellicati won by fall in 1:35, Feeney was pinned in 5:42, Amponsa was pinned in 3:05, but Vetick (:35) and Leibowitz (1:30) both won by pin. Coupled with several wins by forfeit, Hightstown defeated New Hope 54-15 to advance to the championship round against Bensalem, which came out of the other bracket with a win over Ewing.
   The finals again started at 125, with Marion losing by fall in :11. Tyers answered with a pin in 1:46, but Chris Crawford was defeated 5-4, and Gonzalez was pinned in 4:57.
   Indellicati regained the Rams’ winning ways with an 11-3 major decision, and Bardachino pinned his opponent in :35. But Feeney was pinned in 1:17, and Amponsa was decisioned 7-2.
   But the Rams ran the table in the final five weights to defeat Bensalem, 46-30, and win the championship. Scheman got his side going with a fall in :53; Vetick notched his fourth win of the day with his third pin, in 3:18; Lippman put his man down in 4:50; Trivosonno won by pin in 1:14; and Leibowitz wrote the final score with a 1:11 pin.
   "It was a see-saw match," said Russo of the Bensalem final. "We got a string of pins at the end to clinch it.
   "Vetick definitely showed what I kind of expected from him this season," said Russo afterwards. "He is stronger and much improved. If he gets physical, he’ll win a ton of matches for us. He is so strong and knows a bunch of moves. He is tapping into his potential.
   "Scheman has come a long way. He is so much improved. He has very good technique for a 189-pounder. We get criticized for not having much in the upper-weights. Now we have two guys off to a strong start this year."
   Also earning solid reviews was Lippman, who Russo called "awesome." With the Rams trailing Bensalem 30-28 and Lippman down 10-0 in the third period, he rallied to win by pin.
   "That was huge. The next guys fed off that," said Russo.
   Also wrestling well were Indellicati, who twice went up in weight class to win, Bardachino, Leibowitz, and Tyers, who all emerged unscathed in the tourney.
   "That is kind of what I expect from these guys," said Russo.
   Tomorrow the Rams will join Nottingham, Pemberton and Delran in a quad meet.