OFF TO CHOCOLATE TOWN: Central Mountain Wildcats wrestling wins District 6 championship

Central Mountain High School celebrates winning the District 6 team wrestling championship. Justin Kline (center) poses with the team, he is the former mayor of Beech Creek and coach of the 2011 Keystone team that went to the LLWS. (The Express/Phil Mapstone)

Get ready Hershey; the wildcats are coming to town. With two dominant performances, the Central Mountain High School wrestling team has won the PIAA District Six team championship at Tyrone High School to earn a spot in the PIAA State wrestling team championships at Hershey.

The Wildcats crushed the Eagles of Bald Eagle Area High School to get to the championship final with a final score of 45-14.

The Wildcats ended up facing the no. 2 seed Red Raiders of Bellefonte High School. The Red Raiders got a come-from-behind victory over Altoona High School with a final score of 36-25.

The two teams met for the first time this season, even though they were supposed to meet at Central Mountain this past Tuesday (Jan. 31). That match got postponed due to hazardous winter conditions.

The championship final started at the 126-pound matchup between Red Raider Nate Wert and Wildcat Seth Andrus.

Andrus was hot from the start to the end. He finished the match with seven takedowns to earn a 21-6 technical foul to give Central Mountain a 5-0 lead. Bellefonte answered right back with a 14-4 major decision victory for Keegan Rothrock over Wildcat Seth Reese to reduce the lead to one point.

Central Mountain’s Logan Long responded the four Red Raider points, however, with a 6-0 shutout decision over Bellefonte’s Cameron Coppolo.

The next match at 145 pounds featured Red Raider Zachary Rosenberger and Wildcat Austyn Carson.

Penalty points were a struggle for Carson; but Carson held on to win a 5-3 decision.

Red Raider Brock Port made the match a little more exciting after earning a technical foul in five minutes over Wildcat Asher Corl to make the score 11-9 in favor of Central Mountain.

Bellefonte got its first lead of the match at 160 pounds when Chase Gardner earned a 5-1 decision over Colton Weaver to give Bellefonte a 12-11 lead.

It started to look like the Red Raiders were starting to get away with it. However, the lead didn’t last long for Bellefonte.

Wildcat Tanner Weaver started a big rally for Central Mountain as he earned a 8-2 decision over Luke McClure to regain a 14-12 lead.

Things only got better for the Wildcats as 182-pounder Caleb Turner pinned Mason Cooper in 51 seconds to increase the lead to 20-12.

Bellefonte finally responded at 195 pounds when Brien McChesney earned a hard-fought 3-0 decision over Wildcat Tanner Riggle.

McChesney earned all three points early in the third period after two scoreless periods.

The 220-pound matchup featured Red Raider Sean Irvin and Wildcat Mahlik Houtz.

After a scoreless first period, Irvin scored an escape point before Houtz scored a takedown, which later resulted in a Wildcat fall to increase the lead to 26-15.

Central Mountain’s Richie Thompson and Bellefonte’s Max Mondy had a great match at 285 pounds.

Thompson started the scoring with a takedown to take a 2-1 lead after the first period.

Thompson chose to be in the bottom position to start the second period, which later resulted in an escape point and a takedown to take a 5-1 lead after two periods.

Thompson was later awarded a stalling point to earn a 6-1 decision victory to increase the Wildcat lead to 29-15.

With Central Mountain up by 14 points with only three matches left, Bellefonte knew that they had to earn bonus points in a big way to earn a trip to the sweetest place on earth.

Red Raider Alex Coppolo started a rally for his team by earning a 4-2 sudden victory decision over Wildcat Johnny Shreffler.

However, with Coppolo only earning three points, it made it harder for the Red Raiders to come back with only two matches left.

After a scoreless first period, Bellefonte’s Cole Stewart pinned Dalton Bechdel to trim the Central Mountain lead down to five points with only the 120-pound match left to go.

It was all up to Ryan Smith to get a pin fall and send the Red Raiders to the state tournament.

However, it wasn’t going to be an easy task over Central Mountain’s Geo Barzona.

Barzona was ranked fifth in the state at 120 pounds heading into the championship finals.

Barzona got on the board quickly in the first period with two takedowns and one near-fall to gain a 7-1 lead after the third period.

Things only got worse for Smith as was down 9-2 after two periods in the final match of the night.

Eventually, tempers started to flare from Smith, which later gave Barzona an 11-2 major decision to clinch the District six championship. The final score was 33-24 in favor of the Wildcats.

Central Mountain head coach Biff Walizer was thrilled with the way his Wildcats earned a trip to Chocolate Town, USA.

“The kids have put in all the work to make it here,” said Walizer. “These kids definitely deserve the trip to the state championships.”

The Central Mountain Wildcats will now look to make the trip from Mat Town, USA to Chocolate Town, USA a memorable one.

They will take on the winner of a preliminary match between Cumberland Valley of district three and Bethlehem Catholic of district eleven.

Bethlehem Catholic won the AAA state team championship at the Giant Center last year.

Central Mountain will hit the state mats this Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Giant Center in Hershey at 6:00 p.m.

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN 33,

BELLEFONTE 24

126: CM’s Seth Andrus tech fall over Nate Wert – 21-6 5:51 – CM 5-0

132: Bellefonte’s Keegan Rothrock major decision over Seth Reese – 14-4 – CM 5-4

138: CM’s Logan Long decision over Cameron Coppolo – 6-0 – CM 8-4

145: CM’s Austyn Carson 5-3 decision over Zachary Rosenberger – 5-3 – CM 11-4

152: Bellefonte’s Brock Port tech fall over Asher Corl – 15-0 5:00 – CM 11-9

160: Bellefonte’s Chase Gardner decision over Colton Weaver – 5-1 – B 11-12

170: CM’s Tanner Weaver decision over Luke McClure – 8-2 – CM 14-12

182: CM’s Caleb Turner fall over Mason Cooper – fall 0:51 – CM 20-12

195: Bellefonte’s Brien McChesney decision over Tanner Riggle – 3-0 – CM 20-15

220: CM’s Mahlik Houtz fall over Sean Irvin – fall 2:46 – CM 26-15

285: CM’s Richie Thompson decision over Max Mondy – 6-1 – CM 29-15

106: Bellefonte’s Alex Coppolo decision over Johnny Shreffler – 4-2 SV – CM 29-18

113: Bellefonte’s Cole Stewart fall over Dalton Bechdel – fall 2:30 – CM 29-24

120: CM’s Geo Barzona major decision over Ryan Smith – 11-2 – CM wins 33-24

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