By NATE HECKENBERGER
FORT WASHINGTON -- Coming in to the this weekend's District 1 Duals action, Downingtown East had made a living finding ways to win by outworking it's opponents.
Saturday, in the Class AAA consolation semifinals, the No. 2 Cougars were given a taste of their own medicine by No. 4 Garnet Valley.
The Jaguars won four of the six one-point decisions in the contest and beat East, 33-25, at Upper Dublin High.
The loss eliminated the Cougars (27-2), denying them a return trip to the state tournament, while Garnet (19-3) will be District 1's fourth representative after the Jags fell to No. 5 Council Rock South, 26-22, in the consi final. Garnet will travel to Whitehall High Monday night to face the District 11 runner-up, Parkland.
"We would have liked to do better as the second-seed and really legitimize that seed,' East coach Joe Horvath said. "We have some injury issues and some fatigue issues and we knew it was gonna be tough regardless of our seed. I felt like we got some tough matches before the postseason so we can't leave completely disappointed.'
Garnet took the lead off the start when Sean Lyons (152 pounds) used a penalty point against James Meyer for too many cautions and an escape to win 2-1. Mark Morey (170) escaped in the third for a 3-2 win, Nick Puliti (106) scored a takedown in the third for a 3-2 win and Gary Pizzuto (138) notched the deciding takedown in the third for a 4-3 win, all for the Jags.
"Downingtown East wrestled us tough and it was great to be able to pull it out,' Garnet coach Rocco Fantazzi said. "I told the guys we weren't ready to celebrate yet, though.'
Four of the top-five ranked 126-pounders in District 1 were competing in the tournament this weekend, and not much was done to distinguish the clear favorite.
Downingtown East's Wade Cummings (No.3 at 126) registered a big win, knocking off Garnet's Mike Marino (No. 5), a returning sixth-place state medalist, 3-2. Marino beat Council Rock South's Danny Martoccio (No. 4) twice in two days, but Martoccio topped Pennridge's Ben Ross (No. 1) in overtime, Saturday.
"It's good to get a big win like that to prepare for the postseason,' said Cummings, who moved to 33-0 on the season, giving him 75 career wins already. "It also makes me work harder to get ready for the postseason and not overlook anybody.'
Downingtown East's average margin of victory in it's 27 wins this season is 57.1-11.3. Adam Pleines (195) and Sean Snodgrass (285) engineered pins for the Cougars to give them their biggest lead, 19-12, but it was the crucial third periods that East struggled in.
"I think we were a little unfocused on our feet,' Horvath said. "We gave away too many simple takedowns and ended up having to fight back. There were a couple situations where we could have gotten bigger leads but we got complacent.'
The attention will now shift to the Ches-Mont National Division crown for the Cougars. East hosts West Chester Henderson Wednesday night in what will be the clinching dual meet, as both teams are currently 3-0 in the division.
"We gotta be ready to go,' Cummings said. "We have to be prepared to get the job done. We're on the same page right now about winning Ches-Monts.'
Garnet Valley 33, Downingtown East 25
152- Lyons (GV) dec. Meyer, 2-1 (3-0)
160- Jarani (DE) maj. dec. Godwin, 14-1 (3-4)
170- Morey (GV) dec. Horne, 3-2 (6-4)
182- Dambro (GV) pinned Czajkowski, 1:45 (12-4)
195- Pleines (DE) pinned Zweier, 2:59 (12-10)
220- McGinley (DE) dec. McKeown, 5-1 (12-13)
285- Snodgrass (DE) pinned Walsh, 1:31 (12-19)
106- Puliti (GV) dec. Strommer, 3-2 (15-19)
113- S. Pizzuto (GV) pinned Zimmerman, 3:29 (21-19)
120- Ma. Marino (GV) won by forfeit (27-19)
126- Cummings (DE) dec. Mi. Marino, 3-2 (27-22)
132- Leonetti (DE) dec. Tuohey, 4-3 (27-25)
138- G. Pizzuto (GV) dec. Lillis, 4-3 (30-25)
145- Rowe (GV) dec. Fischer, 8-3 (33-25)