Wrestling: Wildcats down rival Red Raiders, 36-25
By BILL ALBRIGHT
Express Sports Writer
MILL HALL — With the PIAA Class AAA wrestling dual championships looming one week away, Bellefonte and Central Mountain hit the mats here Friday night for a preview of what could happen in that tournament.
If top-seeded Bellefonte defeats fourth-seed Altoona, and third-seeded Central Mountain downs second-seed Mifflin County, the Red Raiders and Wildcats would then battle each other in the finals for the right to advance to the state tournament.
In Friday’s first of what could be two meetings between the Raiders and Wildcats, it was a classic battle between two top-notch Class AAA wrestling teams in the state. In the end, an 8-6 edge in wins and a few more bonus points along the way put the win on the side of Central Mountain by the final of 36-25 before a capacity crowd in the ‘Cats gymnasium.
“Even in some of the matches we lost the effort was there,” said CM head coach Biff Walizer. “If you go up and down the line, I don’t think it was our best effort, but to beat a good team like Bellefonte, you have to come up with some big wins. The one area I wasn’t real happy with was in the third period, especially some of the decisions we made. We put ourselves in some predicaments in tight bouts. Bellefonte is a very good team because you don’t get to be 15-2 without being a quality team. This is something for us to build on going into next weekend.”
Bellefonte head coach Mike Maney has been known to juggle his lineup to the best advantage of his Raiders, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough there to pull off the win.
“Those bonus points and the three pins in a row were the difference,” said Maney. “We just have to find a way to close the gap and be tougher in those situations. Central Mountain is a tough team and they don’t give up a lot of bonus points. There were a couple of close matches on both sides. We won some and they won some but those matches (three falls in a row) were the difference.”
With Bellefonte holding a 12-6 lead, the Wildcats put the crunching blow to the Raiders when Jacob Edwards picked up the first of three falls at 285, and turned the lineup over and the two outstanding CM freshmen in Derek Keen and Taylor Weaver, who followed suit with falls of their own for a quick 18 points.
“Any time you can string three falls together like that against a good team it is going to pay off for you when the final score rolls around,” said Walizer. “Jake Edwards has been the anchor for us the past two years and is doing well. And then with that 1-2 punch of freshmen at 106 and 113, we are very happy to have them there. They are just fun to watch.”
The Red Raiders picked up three crucial wins from their three stalwarts as Lane Aikey downed Johnny Shreffler 6-2 in a battle of state-ranked wrestlers at 120.
Ethan Rossman defeated Tanner Riggle 6-2 in a battle of ranked wrestlers before Ethan Richner put the lid on the dual at 152 when he was all over Alonzo Henry for a 9-0 lead before getting the fall in 4:35.
“Rossman bumped up to 195 although he was 10-15 pounds lighter than that and he beat a really tough kid,” said Maney. “Aikey beat a really good kid (Shreffler) as well and that kind of got us back into the match. In the end, Richner looked strong in defeating a good kid. The match was out of reach at that point, but for us, it allowed us to finish on a strong note and hopefully we can take it into next weekend.”
Other key wins for the Wildcats came from Austin Confer at 170, Nikolas Miller at 220, Dalton Bechtel at 120, Cody Coleman at 138 and Lane Porter at 145.
Other winners for Bellefonte were Kenneth Simpson (160), Kyle Myers (182) and Ryan Smith (132).
Central Mountain 36, Bellefonte 25
160 – Kenneth Simpson, B, dec. Caleb Porter, 3-2. (0-3)
170 – Austin Confer, CM, dec. Andrew Howe, 5-1. (3-3)
182 – Kyle Myers, B, pinned Gage Sutliff, 5:57. (3-9)
195 – Ethan Rossman, B, dec. Tanner Riggle, 6-2. (3-12)
220 – Nikolas Miller, CM, dec. Max Barrier, 4-0 (6-12)
285 – Jake Edwards, CM, pinned Daniel Orndorf, 1:29. (12-12)
106 – Derek Keen, CM, pinned Aiden O’Shea, 1:14. (18-12)
113 – Taylor Weaver, CM, pinned Aaron Little, 3:00. (24-12)
120 – Lane Aikey, B, dec. Johnny Shreffler, 6-2. (24-15)
126 – Dalton Bechdel, CM, dec. Alex Coppolo, 6-0. (27-15)
132 – Ryan Smith, B, major dec. Kayden Busey, 11-2. (27-19)
138 – Cody Coleman, CM, dec. Cole Stewart, 4-1. (30-19)
145 – Lane Porter, CM, pinned Brady Martin, 2:41. (36-19)
152 – Ethan Richner, B, pinned Alonzo Henry, 4:35. (36-25)
Official: Randy Brungard.