With wrestling over for District 6 Class AA, two of Centre County’s own are bringing gold back home.
Penns Valley’s Jared Hurd and St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Jacob Powers each claimed titles Saturday.
Powers cruised to his 120-pound medal. It was a historical win for the young Wolves’ program as it was their first District 6 wrestling crown.
“Awesome,” Powers said of the historical win. “I knew exactly what I was wrestling. I’ve wrestled him before. He likes to keep it close. I just had to open up.”
After a scoreless first period, Powers chose down. He escaped, picked up a takedown and turned Penn Cambria’s Chase Proudfit for three near-fall points. Powers led 6-0 to open the third.
Powers fought off several Proudfit shots and gave up a takedown late but it wasn’t enough. Powers had his hand raised after a 6-2 win.
“He is my linchpin,” St. Joseph’s coach Pat Flynn said, referring to Powers. “He believed in what my vision was. He basically came here with no partners. We worked it out and had him training with clubs. I’m real proud of him. It’s awesome for Jake to be the first guy to be on top of that podium for districts.”
Hurd had to put in some overtime in order to earn his 145-pound crown. The senior was able to cap off his District 6 career with a title. It was also special for Hurd as it was his first-ever varsity tournament title.
“It’s nice to get this at districts,” Hurd said. “We still got regionals and state coming up. We got to work for that.”
Hurd fell behind early as Marion Center’s Challen Cornetto scored a takedown. Hurd was able to escape and trailed 2-1 to open the second period.
Cornetto tallied an escape as the lone points in the second period. In the third, Hurd was down to start.
He escaped and earned a takedown. Cornetto escaped quickly and it was 4-4 with 1:13 to go.
The pair went to sudden death and no one scored. The first ride-out period Hurd escaped. The second ride-out period Cornetto escaped.
Hurd rode out Cornetto for the full 30 seconds in the ultimate tie-breaker period for a 6-5 win.
“That was a tough, very deep weight class,” Penns Valley coach Joel Brinker said. “He ran the gamut. He definitely earned it. I’m very proud of him. Jared is a very smart wrestler. He never beats himself. He slapped together a really solid tournament here.”
In all, Centre County will have 10 wrestlers at the Southwest Regionals next weekend. The event will be held at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Kovalchick Complex.
Joining Hurd will be five other Rams: Baylor Shunk (106 pounds), Darren Yearick (120), Clayton Royer (126), Andrew Sharer (152) and Abraham Allebach (160).
Ethan Kauffman (106) and Evan Courts (138), who locked up a regional spot Friday, will be joining Powers and Caleb Dowling to make it a four pack of Wolves at regionals after having one last season. Dowling made it through the 132-pound finals; however, he dropped a 5-1 decision to Bishop McCort’s Carnell Andrews.
Kauffman took fifth with an 8-0 shut out of Westmont Hilltop’s Tanner Kushner. Courts ran into a buzzsaw in Central Cambria’s Max Murin in the semifinals. Murin pinned Courts in 1:02. Courts came back to place fourth after suffering a loss to Ligonier Valley’s Alex Caldwell 1-0.
“These freshmen are buying into it,” Flynn said. “They are working their tails off. I can’t express it enough. These freshmen are going to hopefully open the doors for other freshmen to come in the next couple of years. Hopefully, we can jut build off of that. We are looking forward to that.”
Shunk, Yearick, Royer and Allebach all suffered losses in the semifinals to drop into the consolation bracket.
Shunk lost 13-5 before beating Kauffman in the consolation semifinals 4-2. Shunk then topped Cambria Heights’ Allen Simmons 9-4 for third.
Yearick fell to Powers in the semifinals 7-1. He responded to finish third with a 5-0 win over Westmont Hilltop’s Conner Polacek. It was Yearick’s 100th career victory.
“It was pretty awesome,” Yearick said. “I was expecting to get it in the finals but it’s still just as cool. I was only able to get five wins my freshman year because I broke my collarbone. It was pretty cool to be able to come back and get them.”
Royer dropped a 6-0 decision to Huntingdon’s Izac Benson and then fell to Tyrone’s Jamal Hicks 8-2. Royer finished sixth with a 14-5 loss.
Sharer finished in sixth after suffering an injury in his consolation semifinals loss.
Allebach got caught by Huntingdon’s Seth Baney and was pinned in 49 seconds. Allebach reached the consolation finals after beating Penn Cambria’s Derek Brown 12-4. In that third-place match, Allebach took care of Juniata’s Jared Heister 5-2.
Carter Felker finished seventh at 138 pounds and Jared Bressler finished eighth at 285 pounds.
“Overall, this group has been very coachable,” Brinker said. “It has been an awesome year. We still have a lot of wrestling to go with the six guys moving on. The guys that got knocked out and the ones that return know what they have to do next year. Our seniors, we just wish them the best. They are great kids.”
Huntingdon won the team race with 176.5 points. Bishop McCort, which is in its first year as a program, was 28.5 points behind in second.
Moshannon Valley (142.5), Penns Valley (141) and Marion Center (136.5) rounded out the top five. St. Joseph’s finished 13th with 88 points with only six wrestlers.