Family ties

By on March 11, 2015

Schnupp equals his father with 6th-place State medal

With the action moving to the edge of the mat, Warwick’s Devin Schnupp (right) blocks a third-period takedown attempt by Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in their PIAA fifth-place bout at the Giant Center. (Photo by Mike Shull)

With the action moving to the edge of the mat, Warwick’s Devin Schnupp (right) blocks a third-period takedown attempt by Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in their PIAA fifth-place bout at the Giant Center. (Photo by Mike Shull)

At this point, Warwick junior Devin Schnupp has equal bragging rights with his father, Gary.

Both have a PIAA State sixth-place medal in their collection of hardware.

It was in 1982, as a Warwick senior wrestler, that Gary earned fame at the Hersheypark Arena.

Across the street at the Giant Center last Saturday night, Devin took his place on the medal stand.

Only Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto stood in the way of the Warrior junior going one place better than his father, but it wasn’t to be. DeSanto snapped a 2-2 tie on a third-period escape and held on for a 3-2 win in the 113-pound Triple-A fifth-place bout.

“We joked about (Devin beating me),” Gary said. “He’s got one more year to beat the old man.”

If Devin had his wish, he would have done that last weekend. He was on track to do so, regrouping from a loss in the quarterfinals to beat Pennridge’s Kordell Rush 5-3, putting him one win away from the bronze-medal match. But back-to-back one-point setbacks &tstr; first to Northampton’s Daniel Moran 1-0 and then to DeSanto &tstr; gave him sixth.

“I’m real glad to place here, it’s definitely real cool,” said Schnupp (42-5), a two-time State qualifiier. “I definitely didn’t want to get knocked out like I did my freshman year. It’s an improvement, so we’ll see how next year goes.”

“Not too shabby,” Warrior coach Ned Bushong said. “There’s roughly, like, 250 kids that have wrestling and he finishes sixth out of 20 in a really deep weight class … you always want better, but this is great. He’s had a great year.”

DeSanto (50-3) was not too shabby in his own right. He and Schnupp had also wrestled in the District Three finals two weeks earlier, and the Eagle sophomore capitalized on a five-point dump to win 6-3.

This time, Schnupp avoided the big move, but couldn’t quite get the takedown that he needed.

“Definitely try to attack his threat hand and not get my arm tied up underneath him,” Schnupp said of his approach. “The game plan went pretty good, but it definitely wasn’t perfect at all … In terms of controlling the pace, he didn’t slow me down as much, I didn’t think. I was better in the hand-fighting. But he’s beaten me every time I’ve wrestled him, so I don’t know how much improvement I’m making, but I’m working on it.”

Two escapes by Schnupp in the second countered a takedown by DeSanto with :35 left in the period, which left the match tied 2-2 heading to the third.

In between, there were several stoppages for nose repairs to the Warwick grappler.

“I’m pretty experienced with nose bleeds,” he chuckled. “(In regards to the flow of the match), maybe it could actually fluster the other guy more than it flusters me because it doesn’t affect me. It would only affect me if I was trying to keep the pace real high.”

With nine seconds elapsed in the final stanza, DeSanto’s escape gave him the one-point lead. It remained that way when Schnupp tried a throw at the edge of the mat with :05 left, but it was ruled out of bounds and DeSanto held on for the 3-2 win.

“My arm was kinda stuck under him and I didn’t want to waste any time, so I just started pushing him out of bounds,” Schnupp recalled. “I just felt (the throw), hit it, but my foot stepped out of bounds or something, so I didn’t get it. It was close.”

Close was also an accurate description of Schnupp’s consolation semi-final match against Moran (34-7), a wrestler he had defeated 3-2 at the Bethlehem Holiday Classic.

The Northampton sophomore, a State silver-medalist at 106 last year, got a quality single-leg shot in the first period, but Schnupp battled out of it to keep things scorelesss.

“It looked like he relaxed just a little bit and (Moran) got in on him deep, but we fought it off,” Bushong recalled.

Moran’s escape with 1:50 left in the middle period put him in front 1-0, a lead he protected as they went to the final two minutes.

There, Schnupp got a stalling warning against Moran with :10 left and nearly broke free in the waning moments, but came up a little bit short.

“The kid’s a good rider and he stopped us,” Bushong said. “We were close, not close enough.”

Earlier, in a first-round match against Pine-Richland sophomore Hunter Baxter (38-11), Schnupp scored three takedowns and a reversal in an 8-3 decision.

That sent him to a quarter-final matchup with Upper Perkiomen senior Dustin Steffenino (39-2), the eventual bronze-medalist. Schnupp threatened early with a solid single-leg shot in the first period, but couldn’t finish.

“I managed to get my wrist free and come around and I almost had the two,” he recalled, “but my hand just slipped off his ankle and lost it, so that was a big bummer.”

Instead, Steffenino took the lead on a takedown with :42 left in the first and then he extended it to 5-0 at the end of two. Schnupp picked up an escape early in the third, but Steffenino’s takedown with 1:18 remaining sealed the 7-1 victory.

“He was definitely good in tie-ups, he was hard to score on, but I didn’t wrestle real patient,” Schnupp said. “I was a little too pushy, I took some really bad shots. I think a little bit of nerves got to me.”

His road back started with a 5-3 decision over Rush (27-9) in the Round 3 consolations to guarantee himself a spot in the medal rounds.

Up next was Liberty sophomore KJ Fenstermacher (38-6), whose three-point nearfall in the second gave him the advantage. Schnupp answered with a reversal, but was still trailing 4-2 when he hit a four-point cradle in the final 20 seconds and held on for a 6-5 decision.

“I was more poised and more calm (than in the semi-finals). I think I was in the single-leg two or three times before that,” Schnupp said. “One time was a scramble and he almost got me. But that time, I knew the cradle was there and I just reached up and grabbed the head and tucked it under … I’m just trying to place as high as I can right now.”

That place, of course, was sixth.

“He was right there,” Bushong said. “Two of his matches he lost here were one-point matches. We have work to do, but he’s had a tremendous year and we’ll start getting ready for next year.”

Warwick senior Austin Maguire (39-7) also had a tremendous year, capped with his first trip to States.

In his first-round match, he went nose-to-nose against Connellsville junior Louis Mauro (36-10), each scoring an escape in regulation.

Maguire nearly got a takedown at the edge at the end of OT and almost had an escape with :09 left in the first of two tiebreaker sessions, but didn’t get the call. Mauro’s third false-start violation awarded Maguire with a point at the start of the second tiebreaker, but the Falcon junior tied it with an escape with 25 seconds remaining.

In the ultimate tiebreaker, Mauro held down Maguire to survive for the 3-2 victory.

The Warrior senior notched his first State win by decking West Chester Henderson’s James McDonald (40-5) in 4:05, but then was eliminated with a tough 1-0 loss to Montour’s Zach Jablonski (36-5), the eventual seventh-place finisher.

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