For most teams, Senior Night is supposed to be about memories. And, for the State College wrestling team, what could be more memorable than a win over a rival?
That’s what the Little Lions got Thursday at the State College North Building Gym.
State College and Bald Eagle Area split the 14 matches, but the Little Lions produced more bonus points in a 33-26 win.
“The guys really came out to wrestle. When they got in a good position, they took full advantage of it. They got a guy on their back and they either did a really good job and got a lot of points, or got the fall,” State College coach Ryan Cummins said.
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The Little Lions counted three falls, a forfeit and a major decision among their seven wins. The Eagles, on the other hand, score a fall and two majors. Bonus points, especially the six for the forfeit State College received, were the difference.
“The six points hurt us definitely, but we left that one get away from us. We had a couple opportunities with some of our matchups I thought we could win and they kind of turned the tide on us. We were a few bouts short,” Bald Eagle coach Steve Millward said.
“We still have some areas we have to tweak. We need to be more focused in some places. They did a good job. They went out and gave us what they could tonight. I don’t know if we can ask for more, but we’d like to see more points on the board.”
The match started at 145 and State College was able to win four of the first six, and scored six points in three of them, to bolt to a 21-6 lead.
Ryan Guenot (145) and Colton Comly (160) earned decisions for the Eagles in that stretch. Will Roeshot (152) and Ben Roeshot (195) scored falls, Alex Stover (170) received a forfeit and Cory Dreibelbis used a five-point move in the second period to earn a 7-5 decision at 182.
“Ben Roeshot went out and won that. That was huge,” Cummins said. “Cory Dreibelbis winning that match (was big). We had so many guys who really stepped up and did what they had to. They stepped up and made it happen.”
Bald Eagle, though, reeled off three straight wins to cut the lead to 21-17. David Gawryla used five takedowns and a reversal for a 12-4 major decision at 220 and Josh Fye earned a 7-2 decision at 285. At 106, Alec Nyman put together a reversal, three nearfall points and a takedown at the buzzer for an 11-3 major decision.
With five matches to go, the win was there for the taking.
The teams swapped wins at 113 and 120. Kyle Catral got a 6-4 win for the Little Lions. Cobey Bainey eked out a 2-1 win at 120 for the Eagles.
State College led, 24-20, with three bouts remaining. With the match still hanging in the balance, the Little Lions took two of the last three.
Anthony Myers scored a second-period fall at 126 for State College, but Garrett Proctor answered with a fall in the third period at 132.
The Little Lions’ lead was still just four points heading into the final bout of the night, at 138.
It was only fitting that senior Mike Kauffman wrote a happy ending to Senior Night. He opened a 6-2 lead after a period, expanded it to 9-3 after two and finished with an 11-4 decision.
State College earned its win with big wins and points scored at the ends of periods, which Cummins said was a point of emphasis.
“That’s something we have talked about. All of the coaches have been on the guys about mat awareness and how many seconds are left so they don’t give up points and they get them at the end. It seemed like they really did a great job of that tonight. They got those points when it counted, right at the last second,” he said.
“The kids wrestled their hearts out tonight. They deserved it. They did a great job.”
Prior to the match, State College’s senior managers and wrestlers were honored on Senior Night. Wrestlers Dan Sills, Mike Kauffman, Derek Horner, Ben Roeshot, Alex Stover were recognized.
And, in a special ceremony, State Rep. Scott Conklin, along with his legislative assistant, Todd Brown, and State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff made a special presentation to Frank Garis, who has been a scorekeeper for State College wrestling for 50 years.