If there’s one thing that fires up a wrestling crowd it’s a pin by one of its own.
And the Bald Eagle Area fans had plenty of reason to be fired up Friday night as the Eagles recorded five falls on their way to a 46-21 win over Clearfield.
Of those five falls, none revved up the Eagle fans like Ben Bytheway’s when the senior planted Brian Thorpe in 1:15 of their 220-pound bout.
Actually, no one was more fired up than Bytheway, who came back from a 2-0 deficit with an escape and then, when the two went upper body, he hit the mat, rolled through and came out on top of Thorpe and clamped him for the fall. It was his first varsity victory and let’s just say he celebrated it with exuberance.
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“I just fought to come out on top and I came out where I wanted to be,” he said.
Bytheway, who played football for the Eagles, was talked into going out for wrestling by some of his friends and has benefited from working out in practice with Josh Fye, BEA’s massive heavyweight.
“We tussle around a lot in practice,” Bytheway said. “Rolling around with him makes it easier to roll around with someone my size.”
Eagle coach Steve Millward saw something more than a fall from Bytheway.
“Him celebrating like that might be a spark for the whole team,” Millward said. “It’s nice to see his enthusiasm for the sport even if he is new to it. We keep it pretty basic for him and try to work to his strength. He’s a pretty strong kid and we need to work on technique with him. He’s listening.”
Joining Bytheway in the pin fest were Garrett Rigg, who pinned Thayne Morgan in 1:13 at 120; Coby Bainey, who flattened Logan Gilbert in 1:47 at 132; Clint McCaslin, who pinned Logan Puit in 2:47 at 145 and Fye, who needed only 1:38 to pin Nate Lash to end the meet.
“The momentum swung at 132,” Clearfield coach Jeff Aveni said. “Those two have met before and it’s been back and forth and usually close but we wound up on our back there and that changed some things for us.”
The teams traded forfeits at 106 and 113 to start the meet before BEA ran off three straight wins with the falls from Rigg and Bainey sandwiched around Seth Koleno’s 12-1 major decision over Josiah McClarren that was built on eight back points and two takedowns.
After Clearfield’s Noah Cline nipped Mike Kachik, 1-0 thanks to a second-period escape, McCaslin got his fall before Clearfield’s Tallin Norris pinned Mitchel Struble in 1:38 to make the dual meet score 28-15.
Then BEA salted away the win with two straight wins as Colton Comly took down Grant Climie three times on his way to a 7-3 win at 160 and Leo Bomboy made a third-period escape stand up for a 1-0 win over Levi Wisor that made it 34-15.
The Bison got their final wins as Micheal Hadden topped Jarretty Shreffler, 7-4 with a set of three back points being the difference and Travis Ogden shut out Chase Myers, 5-0 on two takedowns and an escape before Bytheway and Fye closed it out.
“We’re young in a number of places,” Aveni said. “That was only the second match for our 220-pounder. Some of our kids don’t have a lot of experience and we weren’t able to force some matchups we wanted. They won the toss-up bouts and got the bonus points.”
Millward said he was pleased with the improvement he saw in his team since last weekend’s Top Hat tournament.
“This was a good team effort,” he said. “I was pleased with the way the kids wrestled. Even the ones who lost wrestled good matches. The kids responded well to the instruction in practice the whole week. I saw a good effort tonight.”