Crusaders' Loiseau fifth in Class AA
By Dave Byrne, Sports Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
HERSHEY -- Winning ugly is still winning.
And beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
Stephen Loiseau scored a 1-0 victory over Valley's Terrell Fields in the fifth-place final at 182 pounds at the PIAA Class AA wrestling championships Saturday afternoon at Hershey's Giant Center.
The point came on a stalling penalty with three seconds left in regulation.
Unusual to call stalling that late in a state-level bout? Maybe. But it was a call as obvious as it was righteous.
Fields was warned for stalling with 13 seconds left when he did not return Loiseau to the mat -- or make a concerted effort to return Loiseau to the mat -- in a timely fashion.
He managed to tackle Loiseau as the clock counted down and dropped to an ankle as Loiseau popped back up. Fields stayed on the ankle as Loiseau dragged him across the mat. The stall call followed.
"That's how a lot of my matches are," Loiseau said. " Never really pretty."
Still, "it's nice to win my last match of the season," said Loiseau, who'd had his sights on third place.
The complexion of the match was colored by stalling, both called and uncalled.
As Loiseau executed his go-to grapevine-and-half from top, Fields stood up.
That calls for an immediate stoppage, as the position is seen as potentially dangerous.
Continued stoppages call for a stall warning, especially when it's the top wrestler putting the leg in after the wrestlers stand.
The third time Loiseau and Fields came to a stand, 16 seconds into the second period, Loiseau was warned for stalling. Never mind that it was Fields initiating the stand after Loiseau had put the leg in. Twice.
Crusaders coach Tom Blaszczyk asked for an explanation and was told, "That's the rule."
"I said, 'I see it differently, but I just want to know what you're calling. I want to know how to coach my kid.' "
Blaszczyk told Loiseau to forgo the leg and just work a wristlock and hip block. Which got him through the remainder of the period.
"It changes your whole strategy," Loiseau said. "It puts you out of your normal stuff."
Down to start the third period, Loiseau found it difficult to break out. largely because Fields was riding parallel. And getting away with it.
"Plenty of times," Loiseau said. "He was stalling a lot. I was frustrated."
He kept grinding and, ultimately, reaped his reward.
Loiseau has come a long way at states in one year -- from winning once in three tries at 152 to winning four of six matches, and winning a medal, at 182.
He understands there's still a long way to go.
"It really showed me how much I have to work," he said.
"I have four losses this year. Three are to the kid who got third, [Brandywine's Adam] Mackie, and the other one's to the first place [champion Dakota DesLauriers].
"I was hanging right in there with those guys. A little bit more work and I think I can get it done."
As the season ends, believe it or not, the 2013-14 season begins.
"I'm going to take a week off, then train almost every day until next year. I want to be 195, so I'll lift every day and wrestle like four times a week."n