The lightweights got the job done. Unfortunately for the Bellefonte and Philipsburg-Osceola wrestling teams, the individual wins from their lightest grapplers came too late.
Both local teams lost semifinal matchups in the District 6 Class AAA team tournament at Tyrone High School on Saturday afternoon. Philipsburg-Osceola (9-5) fell to Central Mountain 41-27 after Bellefonte bowed out with a 42-29 loss to Mifflin County.
Central Mountain beat Mifflin County 26-25 to win the crown.
Dallas Kephart, Dennis Lumadue, Nick Gray, Bryce Bennett, Chris Thompson and Dakota Weitoish picked up wins for P-O while Dillon Kephart, Aaron Witherite, Luke Leathers, Brock Port, Chase Gardner and Trevor Corl added victories for Bellefonte.
Before the Mounties and Red Raiders combined to win six of eight lightweight bouts to close out each dual, the Wildcats (12-0) and the Huskies (17-4) had put both duals away with big bonus points early.
Mifflin County opened with back-to-back falls and Central Mountain followed suit with both duals beginning at 145 pounds. All-in-all, the Huskies picked up six pins in the first eight bouts with four in a row from 182 pounds to 285. Hayden Hidlay pinned Bellefonte’s Nate Rosenberger to begin the dual and Noah Stewart followed with a fall over Tanner Day in 2:51.
Dillon Kephart got Bellefonte on the board when he ran Eli Habbershon to his back in 1:56 at 170 pounds but Trey Hartsock flattened Bellefonte’s Brien McChesney at 182 in just 46 seconds. Mifflin County’s Tim Pearce followed with a fall over Toby Cain and Kyle Kahley and Colton Craig added pins of Benjamin Putnam and Timothy Benford at 220 and 285 pounds, respectively to give Mifflin County a 39-6 lead.
“That was kind of in their wheelhouse with their guys and ideally an ideal starting spot for us would be in the light weights where we get our momentum going,” Bellefonte coach Mike Maney said.
Witherite finally got that momentum going for Bellefonte at 106 pounds. He wasted little time getting in deep on Jonah Schultz and tilted Schultz over for a fall in 1:14. Leathers followed at 113 pounds but couldn’t get Noah Myers to his back and instead settled for an 8-0 major decision.
Port was looking to keep his team alive with bonus points at 120 pounds but Mifflin County’s Daulton Wilson held him to just a 7-0 decision. Although Mifflin County’s team lead was insurmountable, Gardner notched a late takedown to post a 9-0 major over Brandon Fultz at 126. Corl padded Bellefonte’s point total with a fall in 1:51 over Jeff Murphy at 132.
Isaac Underhill closed the dual out for Mifflin County with a 2-0 win over Zach Musser.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Maney said. “It was going to come down to bonus points and unfortunately we lost the coin toss which allowed them to move some guys around and we couldn’t so that certainly played a factor.”
Based on their earlier encounter with the Wildcats, the Mounties knew they’d have tough matchups with their Central Mountain counterparts, too.
This time around, P-O was able to close the gap having lost to Central Mountain by 20 points on Dec. 19.
“We wrestled a lot better,” P-O coach Tim McCamley said. “There were a lot of good, competitive matches in that dual meet and I’m happy with the way we wrestled. We came up a couple of wrestlers short but it was a good showing.”
Demetri Probst opened the dual at 145 pounds with a pin of P-O’s Caleb Shively in 5:52. Dallas Kephart pulled P-O even when he pinned Caleb Turner in 1:40 at 152.
The Wildcats extended their lead when Nick Patrick beat Chad Reese 9-1 at 160 and Gavin Caprio pinned Kaleb Guy in 53 seconds at 170.
The teams swapped decisions at 182 and 195 pounds where P-O’s Dennis Lumadue edged Isaac Porter 2-1 before Loc Long added to Central Mountain’s team total with a 3-2 win over Mason Pryde. Nick Gray regained the momentum for P-O with an offensive outburst against Cameron Porter. Gray controlled the bout from the opening whistle and rolled to a 5-1 win.
“He wrestled very well,” McCamley said. “Nick’s had a great season and he’s worked hard for where he’s at.”
Central Mountain picked up five of the next seven bouts with P-O’s Bryce Bennett beating Geo Barzona 2-1 at 106 and Chris Thompson and Dakota Weitoish picking up forfeit wins at 113 and 138 pounds.
Both Bellefonte and P-O have a handful of duals remaining before individual postseason tournaments begin. Both squads will wrestle duals this week and into next week due to reschedulings.
“You’d like to be able to get the guys some rest,” Maney said. “Probably wrestling the following week is not ideal but you can’t worry about that now. You’ve just got to go out and get it done and continue to fine-tune. That’s one thing it allows us to do is get better in those matches and hopefully we can make the needed improvements for a couple weeks away in Altoona.”