1. Crisper KOM
Limiting the field to 32 teams and moving the quarterfinals to Saturday morning enhanced the King of the Mountain Tournament.
Friday’s wrestling was completed by 9 p.m., a stark contrast to last year when bouts extended past 11:30 p.m. Saturday was a longer day, but the finals ended at 8:15 p.m.
Last year’s inefficiencies cost the tournament some quality teams and respected referees. This year’s operation should lure plenty of teams back to Mill Hall.
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2. Magnificent McDowell
District 10 McDowell appears poised to end District 6’s grip on the Northwest Regional team title.
The Trojans left Mill Hall with nine medalists, including champions Nick Gibson (126) and Khlique Harris (182). McDowell’s lineup also includes a trio of Spearmans -- Shawn (fourth, 132), Steve (third, 138) and Tyree (fourth, 152) -- and veterans Paul Deitz (third, 113) and Cody Nolan (fourth, 145). The group allowed McDowell to edge Perry (Ohio) 190-187 for the team title.
DuBois (seventh) and Central Mountain (eighth) joined McDowell as Class AAA Northwest Regional teams in the top 10.
3. Calm down
The entertaining 138-pound final between Reynolds’ Austin Matthews and Perry’s Mitch Newhouse featured bold, physical wrestling and a controversial ending.
Matthews won 7-6 because an overtime takedown by Newhouse was waved off and ruled an illegal slam. The call can be debated. There’s nothing debatable about the reaction of two Perry fans. The middle-aged men hurled insults and obscenities toward the officials and refused to leave the gym after being approach by a security guard.
The men embarrassed themselves, Newhouse, their fine program and the sport. Not exactly how adults are expected to act.
4. Worth the price of admission.
He’s only a sophomore, but the more than a dozen college coaches sitting in the bleachers enjoyed watching Kittanning’s Jason Nolf.
Last season’s PIAA Class AA 103-pound champion won the difficult 120-pound bracket by edging Council Rock South’s Billy Rappo 3-2 in the finals. Rappo won last season’s PIAA Class AAA 103-pound title.
In the semifinals, Nolf locked a cradle and pinned Bellefonte’s Tom Traxler. Nolf showed immense skills from all three positions. His ability to control opponents from the top suggest a bright future.
The gym-stopping bout everybody wants to see is Nolf against three-time state champion James Gulibon of Derry Area. Gulibon, though, is currently competing at 126.
5. He’s OK
Bellefonte’s Shaun Glover was treated and released from Altoona Hospital after being inadvertently slammed by Philipsburg-Osceola’s Brad Anstine last Thursday. Glover returned home with a sore back and didn’t compete this past weekend.
6. Wacky Tuesday in Wingate?
Bellefonte and Bald Eagle Area resume their rivalry tonight in Wingate.
We tried handicapping this dual meet last night. The task proved a waste of time.
The meet could feature more lineup moves than a postseason baseball game. Both teams are expected to jiggle their lineups, which are thin in certain spots, to create favorable matchups.
One move we would like to see: BEA bumping up 220-pounder Nate Sharkey to face Bellefonte junior heavyweight Garrett Poorman. Sharkey, the Top Hat Tournament champion, is 5-0. Poorman, the KOM runner-up, is 6-1 with four pins.
7. P-O gets another test
Philipsburg-Osceola, which lost to Bellefonte 45-35 in its dual meet opener, visits Central Mountain on Wednesday.
The meet is another proving ground for the Mounties, who are trying to become serious factors in both District 6 races this year. The Wildcats are banged-up but they are 1-0 thanks to last Tuesday’s 39-30 victory at Bellefonte.