1. Mounting a charge
Philipsburg-Osceola had plenty to celebrate during the holidays.
The Mounties finished second behind Brookville at the Big Dog Tournament. P-O crowned four champions -- Chris Thompson (106), Andrew Greenawalt (138), Jared Smith (145) and Logan Walstrom (152) -- and placed two other wrestlers in the finals. The Mounties finished the tournament strong, going 12-for-14 in place bouts. The surge helped P-O, which also won its season-opening Mountaineer Tournament, close the gap on Brookville 396-379.5 in the team standings.
Surprisingly, P-O is still searching for its first dual meet win after December losses to Bellefonte and Central Mountain. Balanced Huntingdon visits Philipsburg on Friday.
2. The unbeatens
Thompson (14-0), Smith (12-0) and Walstrom (14-0) enter 2012 undefeated. Ditto for Bald Eagle Area junior 170-pounder Jake Taylor, who improved to 10-0 by winning his second straight Manheim Tournament title. Taylor also meandered the opening stages of last season without a blemish.
Thompson, a sophomore in his first varsity season, is dominating opponents. He has posted nine pins, two major decisions and a technical fall. His other win came via forfeit, giving him 14 bonus-point victories in 14 bouts.
3. Duals, duals and more duals
State College has already wrestled an astounding 12 dual meets. The total will expand again this weekend because the Little Lions visit the Parkland Duals. Later this month, State College will participate in Bellefonte’s Red Raider Rumble, another dual meet tournament.
The Little Lions went 2-8 in last week’s Dale Bock Tournament, a two-day dual meet event featuring 10 days. The other two tournaments are one-day events and State College could wrestle a maximum of five times.
State College has eight other remaining dual meets on its schedule. If the Little Lions wrestle five times during the Parkland Duals and Red Raider Rumble, they could reach the 30 dual meets.
4. Look at him wrestle
State College’s Jack Haffner decided to wrestle on a whim last year despite limited experience. An illness slowed his development, but he parlayed some of his wrestling skills into a 2,000-yard rushing football season.
This winter, Haffner might turn into a big factor on the mat. The senior went 9-1 with eight pins at the Dale Bock Tournament. Haffner weighed-in at 195 and suffered his only loss when he bumped up to 220 against Century (Md.).
Haffner, who started the football season at 210 pounds, should benefit from the addition of the 195-pound weight class. He’s no longer forced to give up serious weight to opponents.
5. Rams head to Coudersport
Penns Valley makes its annual trek to the Coudersport Duals on Saturday. The results should play a role in determining the Rams’ postseason fate.
Eight teams qualify for the District 6 Class AA team duals. The Rams (2-1) could position themselves to earn one of those spots with three or four wins this weekend.
Penns Valley visits Hollidaysburg tonight.
6. That tournament is brutal
The Powerade Tournament has become unforgiving for teams bringing anything less than a full lineup or ‘A’ performances.
Bellefonte, which finished 13th at the 32 team King of the Mountain Tournament, left Canonsburg with just two placewinners: Tom Traxler (sixth, 120) and Nick Shawley (7th, 182). Heavyweight Garrett Poorman and 152-pounder Leo Wortman, who finished second and third, respectively, at King of the Mountain, missed the podium last weekend.
The presence of Blair Academy is one reason for Powerade’s unforgiving nature. The nation’s No. 1 team added the tournament to its incredibly demanding schedule.
7. Gulibon suffers injury
Derry Area senior Jimmy Gulibon, a Penn State recruit, won his fourth Powerade title by defeating Blair Academy’s Max Hvolbek 7-2 in the 126-pound final.
The victory, tough, proved painful. Gulibon suffered a knee injury.
Here’s hoping the injury doesn’t slow Gulibon’s quest to become a four-time PIAA champion. Wrestling could use the buzz a four-time state champion generates.