WRESTLING MAT-TERS: CM shines at Top Hat, host of local teams to compete in the King of The Mountain Tournament today

By TOM ELLING

Saucon Valley (District 11 AA) easily won the Tom Best Memorial Top Hat Tournament last weekend. They had six champions and one runner-up scoring 233.5 points. Central Mountain had one champ (Johnny Shreffler at 120-lbs; Jake Edwards was second. Dalton Bechdel (126) and Tanner Riggle (220) were third; Lane Porter (145) and Alonzo Henry placed 4th. Derek Keen (106) and Taylor Weaver (113) took fifths. Cody Coleman (138) finished 7th. Jersey Shore finished 11th in the twenty-one team field. The Bulldogs had a champion in Hunter O’Connor (170) and an 8th in David tomb (182). Seneca Valley, who just competed in one of the nation’s toughest tournaments – the Ironman in Ohio-will have returning State Champ Alejandro Herrera-Rondon in the 113 pounds class. He finished 2nd in the prestigious event.

Saucon Valley is located in Hellertown, PA. Former Clarion star Don Rohn who won an NCAA title, serves as an assistant at his alma mater. The head coach is Chad Shirk. Rohn won his PIAA title the last year Hellertown had a wrestling team. His senior year a jointure formed as Saucon Valley. The coach then was Charlie Bartolet. Coach B always confused Rich Lorenzo and I. Perhaps it was because of our curly semi-afros back in the day? Rich will be honored in Stillwater, Oklahoma this June as a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

The Weaver boys (Tanner and Hunter) are both on the Luther College (Iowa) varsity wrestling team. Tanner is 4-7 in his true-freshman year; Hunter (a junior) is 8-3. The head coach at Luther is Dave Mitchell. Mrs. Weaver tells me it is about a 17-hour drive to Decorah, Iowa.

Logan Long informed me he is taking a medical redshirt at Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ. He is a regular posted on my ‘Tom’s Wrestling Page’ on Facebook. His brother, Loc, is a member of the Lycoming College wrestling team.

Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte, State College and Williamsport are the local teams that will be participating in the 20th Annual King of the Mountain. BEA unfortunately has temporarily without the services of PIAA Runner-Up Gage McClenahan who was injured in football. Gage reportedly has had some interest from Cornell. The Eagles took on District 9’s Clearfield this past Tuesday. In the lineup for Clearfield was freshman Mark McGonigal, younger brother of one of LHU’s PSAC Champs Luke McGonigal. Bellefonte handled Tyrone at the Golden Eagle’s home mats.

For those not aware, BEA and Philipsburg-Osceola have elected to wrestle at the AA level the next two years. I predict the attendance in thr Altoona Field House for both Districts and Regionals will drop substantially. Johnstown and Juniata will move to Class AA this year and next.

Central Mountain hammered Selinsgrove Tuesday night, 58-15.

Williamsport is on their way up thanks to some pretty talented freshmen. The Bower twins started their careers off with a bang. Braden won the title at the Tom Best Memorial, while brother Riley placed 3rd. Carter Dawson (also a 9th grader) was 3rd at 132. Sophomore Austin Stugert placed 6th at 106 (losing twice to Wildcat newcomer Derek Keen by fall). The Billtown roster is still bit thin, but success breeds success. Good to see Brian Nasdeo’s team moving in the right direction.

State College has also suffered the injury bug as reportedly Lance Urbas will be out for a while with a nagging football mishap. Older brother Cole was a PIAA runner-up at 195 last season. Their father wrestled for Gus DeAugustino at North Allegheny High School.

Important Information for the KOM: Friday’s 1st session starts at 2:00 PM; Round II will start at 5:30. On Saturday, Quarters are at 10:00 AM; Consy R4 will take place at 12:15. Semis are slated for 1:30 PM and Finals at 5:30. Admission: $20/day or $30 for both days and $5 for students. The price for the finals session is only $10. The tournament can be followed at https://arena.flowrestling.org.

Charlie Barner is the new head coach at sugar Valley Rural Charter School. Perhaps Coach Barner is most famous for having wrestled at almost all of the schools that consolidated to form Central Mountain. I can clearly remember his debut for LHHS and Doug Buckwalterís team at DuBois. Coach Barner had a runner-up at the Darren Klingerman Tournament in Bloomsburg in 113-pounder Naaman Conoway.

LHU was the ‘unofficial’ PSAC Tournament team champion. ‘Unofficial’ because for the first time (probably ever) the conference decided to not keep team score. Is it an ‘everyone-gets-a-ribbon’ mentality? The Bald Eagles had four champions: 133: Dalton Rohrbaugh, 141: DJ Fehlman, 197: Luke McGonigal, and 285: Thomas Haines. They also had runners-up in 149: Jon Ross and 174: Jared Siegrist. Luke Werner(125) took a third; Collin Glorioso (157) was 4th.

Millersville’s Shane Ruhnke at 165 was named the Outstanding Wrestler. Millersville is coached by Kerry Regner, who is married to Lock Haven High grad Sarah Lacy.

Mark your calendars. December 21 Bald Eagle Area is at Central Mountain and the Wildcat Boosters will honor the past undefeated teams from BE-N and Lock Haven.

BE-N team of 1957-58 of George Custer was 11-0 and the 1976-77 team under Charles Biff Walizer went 14-0. The 1991-92 finished 18-0 and 1992-93 finished 18-0-1, the ties was 27-27 with Williamsport. BE-N was ranked #1 by the Keystone Rankings.

Lock Haven ’72-73 team was the only undefeated team in the Bobcats’ illustrious mat history. They went 11-0 in duals handing Clearfield and Williamsport their only losses. The team also won the District 6 tournament. There was no Regional title back then. This was the last year before classifications came into being. The coaches were Tom Elling, Bill Bailey and Dave Liddick.

Sugar Valley did not have an unbeaten season, they were 13-1 in the 1983-84 season under Bill Robb, their only loss was 31-12 to Lewisburg. The 1993-94 team under Mark Everett went 14-3. (Thanks to Joe Walker for providing the BE-N and SV information.)

All members of the aforementioned teams are invited to participate. More details next week.

Former LH Bobcat Mike Vuocolo will be inducted into the District 6 Wrestling Hall of Fame in February. More on that and the other inductees as the time approaches. Congratulations to Mike, who still works as a dentist in the Atlanta area.

There was a nice feature on LHU wrestling fan Jo Ann Bowes in the winter edition of the West Branch Life Magazine on page 30. Jo Ann and her husband Ron have long been LHU wrestling supporters.

We noticed the name Teague McCormack in the Central Buck West lineup at 106. Seemed to much of a coincidence that it was not Trap’s son. Sure enough, John ‘Matthew’ confirmed my suspicion. So keep your eye out for the newest ‘Mac Attack.’

If you are looking for a Christmas stocking stuffer, please consider my PA Wrestling Handbook. It has 320 pages of wrestling information including all returning wrestlers for every high school in PA. It lists their last year’s information such as weight class, places in Districts, Regionals and States and their W-L record. Never go to another tournament in the dark. The book also lists by last name and by School EVERY PIAA placewinner since 1938.

And, if you are a wrestling junkie, you might want to join Tom’s Wrestling Page on Facebook. It is a closed group but very few are refused entry. WARNING: There are nearly 3000 current members, allowing for many, MANY wrestling posts.

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