It was an up-and-down day for the Bald Eagle Area wrestling team in the first-ever Tom Bell Memorial wrestling tournament, formerly known as the Top Hat.
Bell was a former Williamsport Millionaire wrestler who was a three-time PIAA runner-up before he won a title in his senior year. He was tragically killed in an auto accident a few months ago.
The Eagles had seven winners in the Round of 16 to open the tournament, but could only advance two into Saturday morning’s championship semifinals.
Eagles still alive for a possible gold medal are Seth Koleno (126 pounds) and the biggest Eagle in Josh Fye at 285.
Koleno opened his tournament with a 12-4 major decision over Josiah McClarren of Clearfield before outpointing Brian Earlston of Line Mountain 9-6 in the quarters. Koleno will face a tough customer in Williamsport’s Roshaun Cooley, a state qualifier last season, in the semis.
Fye, the top seed at 285, had an easy time advancing. He began with a fall in 53 seconds over Scotty Dickmyer of South Western before taking 1:42 to finish off Jason Oakes of Titusville in the quarters. Fye will meet Nick Roberts of Muncy in his semifinal bout.
“I think everything went about as we thought it would in the first round,” BEA head coach Steve Millward said. “Obviously we like to do better than we actually do, but we had some guys bounce back nicely in the consolation round. Some of our kids with less experience picked up some nice wins for us, which is important when you look at it from a team standpoint. Individually we know we have some work to do between now and whenever the next time is, but overall I am impressed with the effort of our kids.”
As for those things that didn’t go their way, Millward isn’t overly concerned because they are things that can be fixed.
“We can fix a lot of things that didn’t go well for us today,” Millward said. “We still have everyone alive either in the semifinals or the wrestlebacks and for all of our kids to get to the Saturday morning rounds is real nice. In Mitchel’s match against Loc Long from Central Mountain, we thought we could wrestle with him, but we made a mistake and it cost us. All in all, I thought we wrestled pretty well today.”
Eagle wrestlers still alive in the consolation bracket are Aleck Nyman (113), Garrett Rigg (120), Cobey Bainey (132), Mike Kachik (138), Clint McCaslin (145), Mitch Struble (152), Colton Comly (160), Jarrett Shreffler (170), Chase Meyers (182), Mitch Taylor (195) and Ben Bytheway (220).
Central Mountain leads the team race with 100.5 points, the Wildcats also having 13 wrestlers still alive in the tourney, seven in the championship bracket and six more in the wrestlebacks. The Eagles are tied with Clearfield in the seventh spot with 58 points.
Wrestling begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with a round of consolations followed by the championship semifinals.