On the heels of a clipper storm that dumped several inches of snow on the central part of the state, Central Mountain powered through the State College High School gymnasium on Saturday much like the storm that came through the night before.
Blowing through the first four weight classes with falls to give themselves a 24-point lead, the Wildcats kept things moving in high gear for the rest of the afternoon en route to a 62-9 win over the Little Lions.
“They (Central Mountain) have a great team this year. They usually do,” State College coach Ryan Cummins said. “They are tough, but I thought our guys battled, even though it was uphill all the way. We learned some things and overall, I think our guys did the best they could.”
After the Wildcats clawed their way to the quick lead, the stage was set for arguably the feature bout of the afternoon when Little Lion heavyweight Jack Vandervort squared off against state-ranked Bryce Hanley at 285.
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After a scoreless first period, Hanley took bottom and a 1-0 lead with an escape after four minutes of action. To begin the third period, Vandervort chose the defensive position, and after Hanley controlled him with a tough ride for most of the two minutes, the Lion junior was able to work his way loose for a reversal and the 2-1 win.
“I was kind of tired, I had my head down and he was riding me hard,” Vandervort said. “I looked up at the clock and told myself, all right I need to do something here so right at the end I tried a switch because I couldn’t stand up. It worked and I was able to come out on top. Looking back, I think I could have set up a few singles because all we did was push each other around for most of the match. I think if I would have tried to set something up I could have gotten it (a takedown).”
Cummins liked what he saw from his biggest Lion.
“He played it smart,” said Cummins about his heavyweight’s approach to getting the win. “He couldn’t get a whole lot of offense going on his feet so he kept working hard, saw his opening, and took it. He has been good about that this year. He has been wrestling smarter with a little more intensity and it is paying off for him.”
After Vandervort’s win, the Wildcats again went on the prowl that saw them pick up three more bonus point wins before State College junior Anthony Myers once again temporarily stopped the Little Lions’ bleeding with a fall in 1:02 of the first period at 126.
“We knew going in that he (Central Mountain’s Chris Confer) was dangerous from all positions, but Anthony is a smart wrestler who has been wrestling for a long time,” Cummins said. “He got a little fire under him and I think that was the difference in him today. I think he got a little irritated and went after him. He needs to do that some of the time.”
With the Myers win, the Central Mountain lead stood at 37-9, and as they had done earlier in the meet, the Wildcats again went on a win streak that spanned the final five bouts to set the final.
Despite the lopsided final score, Cummins feels that it was a learning experience for his young wrestlers in their efforts to improve for matches down the road.
“We are still making some mistakes that we made before and have addressed in the past,” Cummins said. “We (as coaches) just have to stay on the kids to make sure they improve from their mistakes. It is a process, but we work on it every day. Hopefully down the road things willl turn around for us.”
The next action for State College will be Wednesday when they tangle with Altoona in the quarterfinals of the District 6 Class AAA team duals tournament.