The first big step.
That is what the Bellefonte wrestling team took here Wednesday night with a 41-18 win over Hollidaysburg in the first round of the District 6 Class AAA Duals.
One year ago, the Red Raiders also took that first step with a 62-9 win over Altoona. However, things didn’t go the way of the Raiders in their first semifinal match with Mifflin County in the District 6 Class AAA Duals as they came out on the short end of a 42-29 verdict to the Huskies.
“We talked right before the match that tonight was step No. 1 if you want to get to Hershey,” said Bellefonte coach Mike Maney. “We came out tonight and got the win and now it is time to move on to Saturday.”
As a result of the win over the Golden Tigers, Bellefonte comes in as the third seed and will once again face the second-seeded Huskies in the semifinal round of the 2015 tournament. That match will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Tyrone Area High School gymnasium.
Hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself, Maney is hoping that the result in this year’s tournament is much different than last year’s matchup with the Huskies.
“The last couple of years they (Mifflin County) seem to be our semifinal opponent,” Maney pointed out. “Last year, it came down to bonus points and I think we actually split the bouts. That is something we are going to have to focus on the next couple of days, just being tough in certain situations with hopes we get the bonus points we can and win a lot of the close matches. If we can do that, hopefully we come with a win and try to get a rematch with Central Mountain.”
In the dual meet with the Golden Tigers, the Raiders came out breathing fire as they jumped to a 22-0 lead with bonus-point wins in the first four bouts.
Brock Port started the Raider ball rolling at 132 with a 16-0 technical fall in 4:40 over Dalton Long, and teammate Chase Gardner followed suit to Port with a 16-1 technical fall in 5:29 over Colton Walls.
Trevor Corl wasted no time at all at 145 when he built up a 7-1 lead over Aden Myers before getting the fall in 1:42 of the first period and Nate Rosenberger completed the quartet of bonus-point winners at 152 with a win by forfeit.
“The kid Corl wrestled was a tough kid and a regional qualifier last year,” said Maney. “Brock went out and took it to him and the same thing with Gardner. He had a kid who has been around for a while. After that, Corl and Rosenberger kept it going, Musser was able to come up with a nice win and then Kephart got the big fall. It was a good starting point for us and those guys got the ball rolling right away for us.”
Continuing to build the lead, the Raiders won the next three bouts to complete the run of seven.
Zach Musser made a third-period escape stand up for a 1-0 win over Nathan Hagg at 160 before Dillon Kephart didn’t even work up a sweat in decking Frank Montecalvo in 40 seconds.
Brien McChesney was pushed to the limit by Braden Curry before he registered a 3-1 overtime win to give the Raiders their 34-0 lead.
With only the final score to be determined, the Golden Tigers made all their noise in the next four bouts to close the gap to 34-18, but that was as close as they would get when Aaron Witherite tossed an 8-0 major at Nathan Swartz before Luke Leathers closed out the win with a 5-2 victory over Darren Bowser.