The State College wrestling team is one of the more experienced teams in Centre County.
It showed in the Little Lions’ 45-31 win over Hollidaysburg inside the North Gym on Wednesday.
In all eight of State College’s individual wins, bonus points were awarded thanks to six pins, a technical fall and a major decision.
“The seasoned guys take control and set the tempo,” State College coach Ryan Cummins said. “The other guys kind of follow and that’s all I can ask for. I like the fact that they are building off one another.”
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The match began at 220 pounds with senior Pete Haffner starting a pin parade. Haffner tallied two takedowns and had two near-fall points before taking care of Josh Lynn in 1:28.
Returning District 6 placewinners met at heavyweight in the Little Lions’ Drew Linnes and the Golden Tigers’ Hunter Gill. The pair could very well meet in the district finals after finishing third and second, respectively, behind Bald Eagle Area’s Josh Fye last season. Gill pinned Linnes in the first round of the District 6 tournament last season. This time around, Linnes got the pin. He caught his fellow senior in a headlock and tossed him to the mat in 1:28.
“The big swing match was at 285,” Hollidaysburg coach Mike Moore said. “We know he is a thrower. He (Gill) got into a position we shouldn’t have been in. I’m not thankful (that it happened) but if it had to happen, I’d rather see it happen during the course of the season as opposed to the postseason.”
Cummins added: “Gill is a tough kid. He’s been around for a while. We got the better of him today. It won’t be the last time they wrestle this year I’m sure.”
Freshman Clayton Leidy kept the momentum going for the Little Lions with a pin of Cole Thompson in 1:01. Leidy’s win handed State College an early 18-point advantage.
The Golden Tigers got their first points of the night thanks to Andrew Simpson’s pin of Ben Krick in 3:40. It was also the first match to go beyond the first period.
State College responded with its fourth pin, from senior Jacob Pammer, who made quick work of Jared Giarth in 32 seconds. The Little Lions got out to a 28-9 lead after Adam Stover shut out Cody Dively 9-0 at 132.
Hollidaysburg got within three points with four matches to go, sandwiching a major decision between a a pair of pins. Nathan Swartz pinned Seth McMahon in 52 seconds at 138, Dalton Long used five takedowns for a 15-2 victory at 145 over Zach Price and Aiden Myers pinned Isaiah Lose in 3:47.
“I’m happy with our effort,” Moore said. “There are certain spots in matches when things are tough that sometimes we’ll fold up. Overall, we do a pretty good job of fighting and wrestling hard. I tip my hat to State College. They wrestled well tonight.”
The Little Lions flipped the momentum and sealed the match thanks to bonus-point wins from Ian Barr and Brett Fields.
If you blinked, you might have missed Barr’s match. The junior quickly took Ashton Curry down and turned him in 30 seconds. Fields, a senior, tallied seven takedowns in a 19-4 technical fall over Vince Burkhart at 170.
“Those guys are tough,” Cummins said. “They go into the room and work hard every single day. They leave it all on the mat. I’m really happy with the way those two wrestled for sure.”
Cole Urbas picked up the other win for the Little Lions with a pin of Mason McCready in 1:51.
“Most of our guys wrestled really tough,” Cummins said. “They laid it all out there it seemed like. We got some things we need to work on of course. A couple of guys being a little more reckless than I like. Overall, pretty good effort.”