Bellefonte and State College wrestlers got an opportunity of a lifetime when they competed inside Lock Haven University’s Thomas Fieldhouse on Thursday night.
The Little Lions came out with a 36-33 win over the Red Raiders in a match unlike anything they’ve experienced in their home gyms.
“It was amazing,” said State College’s Kyle Domico, who won his bout at 145. “The atmosphere is so crazy because it’s college wrestling. Every wrestler’s dream is to wrestle at college.”
Added Bellefonte’s Ethan Rossman: “It’s a lot different because it’s a college and it has a reputation. At home, you’re at home, you just know everybody. Here, it is just a whole different atmosphere.”
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State College (4-11) and Bellefonte (9-7) wrestled before Lock Haven and Edinboro squared off Thursday night. The Little Lions held off the Red Raiders for the win, clinching it when State College’s Lance Urbas beat Rossman. With State College leading 33-27 going into the bout at 170, Rossman had a chance to tie the score for the Red Raiders. Urbas snapped off three first-period takedowns and added an escape to take a 7-4 lead after one period. Rossman had an escape in the second period and nearly got back points in the final frame late, but ultimately fell 7-5 and the dual was locked for State College.
“They wrestled great tonight. They worked hard the whole time,” Little Lions coach Ryan Cummins said. “We got the bonus points where we needed them. We figured it would come down to that.”
Those bonus-point victories all came by way of the pin.
Cole Urbas (220 pounds), Jackson Heasley (285), Clayton Leidy (113) and Ian Barr (160) all collected those falls. Urbas and Heasley went back-to-back to give State College a 12-6 lead after forfeiting the first bout of the night at 195 pounds. Leidy’s fall gave the Little Lions a 21-6 lead, and Barr’s pin handed State College a 33-27 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“We said feed off the crowd. We had our guys get behind one another and get some momentum going,” Cummins said. “I wish we could do this more than once a year. If we could do this every year, it would be great.”
Though Bellefonte came out on the losing end of the dual, coach Mike Maney knew Thursday’s dual was special for his kids.
“Any time you get to rub elbows with some of the best guys in the country, it’s positive,” Maney said. “Hopefully, the guys were able to take it in a little bit and realize the opportunity they had.”
A handful of Red Raiders made the most of their opportunity by earning wins for their team.
Trailing 24-6 after his team dropped five straight bouts, Cole Stewart pinned State College’s Isaac Sublett in 2:54 at 126 pounds. Bellefonte’s Ryan Smith followed Stewart with a fall of his own of Michael McShea in 1:52.
Zach Taylor made it three-for-three for Bellefonte wins with a 2-1 victory over Jason Dry at 138 pounds. The Red Raiders’ other wins were pins from Ethan Richner (152 pounds) and Andrew Howe (182).
However, Bellefonte lost its third dual in a row — all within four days.
“From our wrestling perspective, we’re just not wrestling really well right now. There is no easy way to put it,” Maney said. “We wanted to see improvement, but we just went through the motions.”
Centre County had a pair of alums in the Red Raiders’ Brock Port and Penns Valley’s Corey Hazel in attendance Thursday, too. Port and Hazel are both on the Bald Eagles’ wrestling team. Hazel is in the starting lineup at 184 pounds, and Port is redshirting this season.
They both enjoyed being able to see county schools compete in their new home gym.
“I enjoyed watching the kids wrestle and get back into the high school environment,” Hazel said. “It’s a big difference from high school to college.”
Port added: “It was good to see Bellefonte people out here. It was pretty cool.”