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Athlete of the Week: Invaders' Morgan Has Some Big Shoes to Fill

February 10, 2002A familiar name has been posting familiar results for the West Scranton wrestling team.With sophomore Dave Morgan winning four matches, including three by pin, the Invaders captured the Lackawanna League Division 1 title and placed second in the District 2 Class AAA team duals.

The younger brother of former West Scranton and current King's College standout Jim Morgan, Dave stepped up in weight in the season finale against Abington Heights to be matched against Josh Ruddy at 130 pounds. He scored a major decision, 18-6, to help West post a 46-23 victory and clinch the division title.

In the District 2 duals, he recorded three first-period pins at 119 pounds to help the Invaders beat Crestwood and Berwick before falling to Pittston Area in the final. Morgan pinned Crestwood's Mark Lukashinski in 1:27; Berwick's Bill Cressman in 1:01; and Pittston Area's Ken McLoud in 1:19.

For his efforts, Morgan has been selected the Times-Tribune/ESPN Radio 630 and 1240 AM Athlete of the Week for the period of Jan. 30-Feb. 5. He and West coach Rob Butka were interviewed for the program by sports writer Scott Walsh.

Q: Dave, talk about stepping up in weight to face Josh Ruddy and how you were able to score the major decision against him.

A: "I wrestled him last year and he's gotten a lot better. I just tried to take him down and get bonus points because we needed them.

"Stepping up, I just know I have to balance my weight more and be ready for a lot. Takedowns aren't as easy when I wrestle bigger kids, so I have to work a little harder."

Q: How about your three first-period pins at the District 2 duals?

A: "I just went out there and looked to get the match over with and get the ball rolling for the team."

Q: Your brother, Jim, had a standout career at West Scranton. Has it been difficult having to follow him?

A: "People compare me to Jim and I think it's good. It gets me motivated. I know my brother is good and it would be nice to be better than him."

Q: Coach Butka, what are some of Dave's strengths?

A: "His willingness to constantly want to learn and constantly be in the room working. His work ethic is, by far, one of the best I've seen since I've been coaching. He's going over the lineups for who he might see in districts and possibly regionals and what he needs to do to get to states. He constantly wants to succeed and further his progress.

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK airs Mondays at 5:20 p.m. on ESPN Radio 630 and 1240 AM.

©Scranton Times Tribune 2002