ALTOONA — Six Centre County wrestlers will wake up this morning having dreamed about the sweet smell of chocolate. Well, of Chocolate Town USA.
Bellefonte’s Brock Port (120) and Trevor Corl (132), Philipsburg-Osceola’s Chris Thompson (113) and Bub Lumadue (182), Bald Eagle Area’s Josh Fye (285) and State College’s Mike Kauffman (138) all punched their tickets to the PIAA Class AAA Championships after placing Saturday at the PIAA Class AAA Northwest Regional Tournament at the Altoona Field House.
Corl goes to Hershey as a champion, Lumadue and Fye as regional runners-up and Port, Thompson and Kauffman as third-place finishers.
General McLane took home the regional team championship and it wasn’t close. It scored 133.5 points, far ahead of second-place McDowell’s 110. Central Mountain (91) was third, Mifflin County (90) fourth and P-O (68) fifth. Bellefonte was seventh with 55.5, State College 13th with 44 and BEA 20thwith 33.
Corl, like he tries to every match, went out and got the first takedown against Punxsutawney’s Joel Bowers. Trailing 2-0, Bowers took bottom to start the second and escaped to send the match into the third. Corl escaped and held off Bowers for the win. Corl had lost in the regional finals last year, 6-4.
“It feels awesome. After coming so close last year, I just wanted to come out, improve on that and get first this year,” Corl said. “He was ranked way above me in the rankings right now. It doesn’t really mean anything, but it’s good to know going into states.”
Corl earned his finals berth with a 16-0 technical fall in 1:48 over Cody Kirk of Carrick.
Maney said the win was a continuation of Corl’s excellent season.
“He’s been wrestling really well the whole year until now,” he said. “We want him, next week, to believe he can do down (to Hershey) and compete with the best guys in the state because he certainly can.”
Lumadue closed the gap on Mifflin County’s Trey Hartsock after falling in the District 6 finals 9-2. This time a first-period takedown was the difference in a 3-1 loss for the Mountie senior.
“He wrestled well tonight. He just can’t seem to beat his hands. He was a lot more aggressive. He can beat him, but he’s got to change his style up a little bit. If he would use his underhooks and dig, he could still throw him,” McCamley said.
Fye was locked in a 1-1 tie with McDowell’s Scot Augustine late into the third period, when he took a shot at a takedown. Augustine snapped him down and spun around behind for a takedown and 3-1 win.
“I guess he just tried it. It could have gone overtime, but I don’t know what he was thinking. I guess not to go overtime. It wasn’t a good shot. He got himself out of position on that shot. Bad things happen when you put yourself there. He found that out. He definitely was wrestling another man,” Bald Eagle Area coach Steve Millward said. “The goal was to move on. That’s what he did. He wrestled better in this tournament that I’ve seen him wrestle all year. He avenged a few losses. He needed that. Hopefully that gave him a shot of confidence. I think Josh really did a nice job.”
Thompson was bounced into the consolation bracket by General McLane’s Joe Wheeling 9-0 in the semifinals. In the fourth round of consolations, he had to go to overtime to pull out a 3-1 win. Then, in the consolation finals, he dominated Meadville’s Aaron Ehrgott 11-4.
“He wrestled a tremendous third-place match. The consolation finals is the round, to go to Hershey,” McCamley said. “He’s had a lot of disappointments. I’m really happy for him. Nobody works harder. He’s been intense the last couple weeks. I don’t think he’s going to be satisfied just going to states. He’s got a goal.”
Port just missed a berth in the finals, dropping a 3-2 decision to Williamsport’s Roshaun Cooley. In the consolations, he caught fire, posting a 6-0 decision and then a 12-4 major decision over Keanan Bottorf of Central Mountain in the consolation final.
“He lost a tough one. That semifinal loss and coming back and wrestling the next one is always tough, coming right back from a loss. It was a very important match. It was good for him mentally to string two good matches together and get two wins against good opponents,” Maney said of his freshman 120-pounder. “It’s hard to beat a good guy three times. This is the third time he beat him this year. That’s a credit to his focus and preparation. A freshman coming in and advancing to the state tournament is an accomplishment.”
Gray dropped his first match Friday night and then clawed all the way back to the consolation finals. He started with a 3-1 win and followed with a 3-1 win in overtime. A 3-0 decision got him one win away from a PIAA berth. However, in the consolation final against Selinsgrove’s Andrew Boob, a late takedown dealt Gray a 3-1 defeat.
“The consolation finals is a heart-breaking round. Nick wrestled his heart out. He’s a tremendous kid,” McCamley said.
Kauffman shook off a 7-0 loss to Punxsutawney’s Kaleb Young in the semifinals and roared back to take third. He eked out a 2-1 win over Tristan Paul of Shikellamy in the fourth round of consolations and then dominated in an 11-6 win over Keller Watkins of General McLane in the consolation finals.
He tied a bow on his win with a big move late in the match. Leading comfortably, he hit a cement mixer for a five-point move to settle the score.
“It was awesome. There’s not much more to say. He wrestled like he was possessed. He went out there and did everything he needed to do and then some. He didn’t need that mixer at the end, but he hit it anyway. It was like an exclamation point. He looked awesome out there,” State College Ryan Cummins said.
The fourth round of consolations was especially rough on the county contingent. Six locals were eliminated in the round, including: Bryce Bennett (106), Dakota Weitosh (132) and Caleb Shively (145) of P-O, Luke Leathers (113) of Bellefonte, Coby Bainey (120) and David Gawryla (195) of BEA, Anthony Myers (126) and Alex Stover (170) of State College/
Four locals were bounced in the third round of consolations: Dan Sills (120) and Derek Horner (145) of State College, Nate Rosenberger (139) of Bellefonte and Mitchell Taylor (170) of Bald Eagle Area.
Seven county wrestlers lost their second-round consolation bouts and were eliminated from further competition. Bellefonte’s Aaron Witherite (106), Chase Gardner (126), Tanner Day (145), State College’s Will Roeshot (152) and Cory Dreibelbis (182) and Philipsburg-Osceola’s Nick Patrick (160) and Logan Day (285) all lost in the day’s first round.
Despite taking just one wrestler to states, Millward said he was proud of how his other three performed.
“Coby, Mitchell and David, all three of those guys, I think, were wrestling their best this weekend. I can’t be angry at them for that. They really did wrestle well,” he said. “They ran into some good kids, got outwrestled, got outscored, don’t get get to move on but I’m really proud of their ability that they brought here this weekend and they showed they are capable of.”
Cummins, too, was pleased, especially with the progress his team displayed all season.
“The guys bought in right away. We worked and we seemed to get better every dual meet we had, every tournament we had, they got a little bit better,” he said. “Getting eight guys to regionals was great. Having a district tournament like that was really nice. The guys wrestled hard. They improved so much. I don’t know how much more we could ask of them.”
Maney, as usual, was left wanting more. However, he found a silver lining in his team’s weekend.
“We lost some tough ones. You expect that at this level. We thought we could a few more through but, all the matches here are tough. The nice thing is, with the exception of one, all the guys are back next year,” he said.
McCamley said he was encouraged by fight his Mounties displayed.
“We wanted to take more. We’re never satisfied. I’m really proud of the guys. Our team wrestled their hearts out,” he said. “It was the gutsiest performance I’ve seen from a P-O team in a long, long time. They really wrestled well.”