Fans in the stands of the Bald Eagle Area gym went on a roller coaster ride on Thursday night.
They were treated to a nice fast start, quickly fell into a dip but in the end got off the ride with smiles.
The Eagles were controlling the train in a 44-28 win over county rival State College.
“This one makes me a little more anxious as a coach,” BEA coach Ron Guenot said, “because you never know what could happen near the end. I’m proud of the effort. The kids wrestled hard.”
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The Eagles came out firing on all cylinders much like their season-opening victory over Clearfield on Tuesday. They raced out to a 17-0 lead thanks to a technical fall and two pins.
Seth Koleno led off the match at 145 pounds as BEA bumped wrestlers up. He tallied eight takedowns and two sets of three-point near falls in a 23-7 win over Zach Price in 5:15. Freshman Gage McClenahan followed with a quick pin of Griffin Barter in 1:06.
At 160, State College’s Isaiah Lose was leading 5-0 over Joey Gates, but Gates caught Lose and turned him to his back for a pin in 1:49.
“Joey Gates — that was a good win for him,” Guenot said. “That was one of those bouts we were unsure of.”
At 170, the momentum swung to State College’s favor.
BEA’s Dylan Bisel led Ian Barr 4-1. Barr, who was giving up 15 pounds by the estimation of State College coach Ryan Cummins, rallied to tie the match at 5-5, then won with one second left in the second period. He attempted to throw Bisel several times before he finally got one and pinned Bisel to cut into the Eagles’ lead to 17-6.
“He didn’t look terrific right away,” Cummins said of his junior. “He battled back. He had to dig deep for it. It definitely was a pivotal point.”
The Little Lions rolled off 22 more unanswered points to claim a 28-17 lead.
Brett Fields topped Andrew Cohen in a 20-8 major decision, Cole Urbas received a forfeit at 195, Pete Haffner dispatched David Close 9-4, and at 285 the crowd saw Drew Linnes hip toss Kurt Hall for a fall in 50 seconds. State College’s ride came to a screeching halt following Clayton Leidy’s 9-3 decision over Garrett Giedroc at 106 pounds.
BEA’s Alec Nyman made short work of Ben Krick in a 53-second pin, then State College forfeited to Drew Koleno at 120 pounds to hand the Eagles a 29-28 lead. Lucas Holderman kept the winning going with a 4-1 decision and pushed BEA’s lead out to 32-28.
Senior Clayton Giedroc then came through in a big way for BEA.
“He is a great kid and a hard worker,” Guenot said. “We want try to get him in the lineup when we can and when we need to. He has the experience. He lost his (starting) spot but he comes into practice every day and works hard.”
He led 2-0 after the first period, then tacked on another takedown and stuck Isaac Sublett to the mat in 2:16 to seal the BEA win.
“It meant a lot to me,” Giedroc said. “I really wanted to win it for the team. The atmosphere we have around here was just great. It got me pumped.”
The match ended with Garrett Rigg pinning State College’s Seth McMahon in 3:10.
For the Little Lions, it’s been a tough start to the year. They came into the match after opening their season with a 36-35 loss to Shikellamy on Tuesday.
“Another heartbreaker,” Cummins said. “We didn’t win the matches that we needed to, to get it done the way we went at it. We’ll come back better the next time.”