Late headlock boosts Schnupp to Bethlehem Classic title Charles, Woolley bring home seventh-place finishes
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Trailing by two points as the third-period clock was melting away last Saturday in the finals of the Hurricane Holiday Classic, Devin Schnupp just tried to remain calm.
His poise paid off.
In a battle of freshmen, Schnupp caught Phillipsburg’s Brandon Paetzell in a four-point headlock with just :09 seconds left and went on to earn a 5-3 win in the 106-pound championship bout, clinching his first Bethlehem Classic crown. He also became Warwick’s first wrestler to win a title at the esteemed tournament since Antonio Giorgio claimed back-to-back crowns in 2007-08.
"It feels good," said Schnupp, who improved to 11-0 on the season. "I guess it’s a little confidence booster, but there’s a lot of other good kids and hard, hard tournaments coming up too. So you’ve just got to keep trying to win and pushing through the season being healthy."
Josh Charles and Steve Woolley pushed through tough weight classes at 113 and 160, respectively, to finish with seventh-place medals, as the Warriors placed 19th out of 28 teams with 68.5 points. Wyoming Seminary won the team crown with 245 points, easily ahead of runner-up Central Dauphin (163).
It didn’t come easy for 3rd-seeded Schnupp, however, who had to overcome a bit of adversity on his path to the title. After scoring an apparent takedown in the second period, Schnupp ended the second period with what he thought was a 3-2 lead against Paetzell. The officials, however, negated that takedown at period’s end, and instead of leading by one point, he was trailing 2-1.
"I guess I didn’t secure (the takedown) good enough, but it could have gone either way. But it was kind of a tough call, especially in that situation in the final match," Schnupp said.
That situation became a bit tougher after none of the officials informed him of the scoring change. It wasn’t until 40 seconds remained in the third that Schnupp realized he was actually trailing by one point, instead of leading.
"That’s when I had to let him up, and I only had 40 seconds, so it was kind of stressful and a little nerve-wracking realizing I was losing," Schnupp recalled.
Paetzell’s escape gave him a 3-1 advantage, and Schnupp acknowledged that he became a bit nervous as the clock ticked away toward single digits.
"But you’ve still got to stay calm and just keep attacking smartly and not letting him get you taken down or taking any bad shots," he said.
There was nothing bad about the headlock that Schnupp eventually slapped on Paetzell, and when he took the Stateliners’ freshman to his back, Schnupp broke the tie with two nearfall points.
"I was attacking him and putting a lot of pressure on him and I think it was just my reaction that kinda just came to me," Schnupp said. "I’ve drilled it quite a bit in my lifetime."
It actually marked the second time this season that Schnupp pulled out a tight victory in the final 10 seconds of his match. In his varsity debut against Lancaster Catholic on Dec. 13, he scored a late escape and takedown to defeat Crusaders’ freshman Joe Lobeck by a 7-6 score.
"It just tells you that you never stop wrestling … you never let up on those kids," Schnupp said. "Guys might start to notice that so it might be tough to get those wins all season."
Earlier, Schnupp recorded major decisions in his first two matches, defeating Pennridge’s Kordell Rush 9-1 and then shutting out Delaware Valley’s Richard Koslower 9-0 in the quarter-finals.
That set the stage for a tough semi-final bout against Quakertown’s 2nd-seeded Collyn Dorney, who had outscored his first two opponents a combined 17-3. Following a scoreless first period, the two wrestlers traded escapes over the next two stanzas in a defensive battle, ending regulation tied 1-1. It remained that way after one overtime period, and then in the first of two additional 30-second OT stanzas, Schnupp got a reversal to go up 3-1. Dorney got a point back in the next period on an escape, but Schnupp held on for the 3-2 decision to advance.
"It was a close match. It could have maybe gone either way," Schnupp said. "(Dorney) was pretty good."
In other action, Charles advanced to the 113-pound quarterfinals with a 15-0 whitewashing of Big Spring’s Josh Fauver, but then suffered an 11-3 loss to Central Dauphin’s Austin Camacci. He bounced back to get himself into the medal rounds and ended his tournament with a 9-4 victory over Quakertown’s Tanner Seislove in the seventh-place match.
Like Charles, Woolley also finished with a 3-2 record in the 160-pound brackets at Bethlehem. The Warwick senior defeated Northern York’s Andy Reed 3-2 in OT in the first round before losing by fall in 2:32 against Wyoming Seminary’s Chris Weiler. But Woolley won two of his next three bouts, including a 3-1 win over Stroudsburg’s Keith Howie for the seventh-place medal. More WHS WRESTLERS, page B-4