YORK TWP. — Buckeye made sure that when wrestling fans peruse the Patriot Athletic Conference history books years from now, there will be no denying the Bucks’ contributions to the league.
A back-and-forth team battle with Fairview on Saturday ended with the Bucks coming out on top 168-159.5 in the PAC Tournament team standings. Black River was seventh with 87 points.
It was the Bucks’ third straight PAC championship.
“It was a lot of fun,” Buckeye coach Rich Conkle said. “It was stressful, and especially to do it with a bunch of young kids — we only had one senior out on the mats today — (there) was a lot of excitement and building towards the future there, too.
“This was also the sixth time we’ve won the PAC. I told the kids, ‘Black River won five; we won five. This was the one to end with,’ so I’d say we were the dominant team in the PAC.”
There has been little doubt, as Buckeye has had a conference champion every PAC season and has had multiple champions every year except 2007 and ’11. The Bucks set the league record with six champions in 2010.
Buckeye came away with three champions Saturday, including Eddie Pinc, who captured the 113-pound title after winning at 106 last year as a freshman.
Buckeye’s Logan Cravatas won the 106-pound title, beating teammate Tanner Tecco with a second-period pin, and Trevor Badiu won at 145 pounds with a pin of Lutheran West’s Khalid Morales in the third period.
“Last year it was probably one of my better years,” Pinc said. “I was below weight by about 10 pounds and I was pretty happy when I came out with the PAC championship. This year I just wanted to keep that streak going and win it again.”
Pinc faced Columbia freshman Josh Hickman in the final, earning a pin in the first period. Hickman missed weight at 106 and bumped to 113 because the Raiders had no wrestler in that class.
“I’m used to some of the people I’ve wrestled, so it’s good just wrestling someone new,” Pinc said. “It was a little bit of a challenge because when I went after him he did something different than what I’m used to, but after I started to know what he was doing, I was able to go after him.”
Pinc said repeating as an individual titlist was a thrill, but he was equally excited to be able to have a say in his team’s championship performance.
“It feels pretty good that I was able to contribute to that,” he said. “I wanted to fight and I wanted to keep it going, but I also wanted to do it for my team.”
At the end of the day, 11 Bucks ended up placing.
“We had two freshmen wrestling for the final at 106, two sophomores that placed at 113, so it was a team effort with that,” Conkle said, adding the big performance serves as a springboard as the Bucks head to the Great Lakes Conference in 2019-20.
“It’s special and we’ve been working on this building to the future and everything,” he said. “We just want to keep this rolling as we go into the new league.”