Penn State

Tuesday Takedowns

1. The streak increases

Central Mountain continues widening the District 6 Class AAA dual meet gap. 

The Wildcats captured their fifth straight district team tournament title by walloping Mifflin County 46-18 in the finals and Philipsburg-Osceola 60-13 in the semifinals.

Central Mountain lost just five contested bouts last Saturday. The Wildcats were pinned just once in 25 contested bouts and experienced little resistance in many individual victories. 

2. No Centre County team in the finals

Notice who Central Mountain defeated in last Saturday’s finals?

This marked the second straight year a Centre County team didn’t produce a finalist. Westmont Hilltop, a Cambria County team, fell to Central Mountain in the 2011 final.

Centre County’s run of team tournament titles from 1995 to 2007 is becoming a faded memory. Central Mountain isn’t slowing, and Mifflin County is beginning to roll, especially at the junior high level, so Centre County’s four Class AAA teams face major challenges. 

3. No depth 

What’s wrong with Centre County dual meet wrestling?

In a word: depth. 

Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte and State College are struggling to create full lineups. When the Eagles and Little Lions dominated District 6, they staged ultra-competitive wrestle-offs. Now almost every wrestler on both rosters is guaranteed a starting spot. 

Multiple forfeits doomed BEA and Bellefonte in first-round District 6 matches last week. The lack of internal competition puzzles those who remember the days of filled practice rooms.

Dual meets will be struggles until county programs develop innovative ways to recruit and keep athletes. 

4. Not done

The district team tournament doesn’t end local dual meet wrestling. All five county teams still have regular-season matches remaining. 

Tonight’s Jersey Shore at BEA match represents a good test for both teams. The Bulldogs won the District 4 Class AAA team title last weekend and they are headed to Hershey later this week.

P-O visits Penns Valley on Thursday. The Rams are using the meet as a primer for next weekend’s District 6 Class AA individual tournament. 

5. State duals this weekend 

District 7 Canon-McMillan and District 11 Bethlehem Catholic are favorites to win PIAA team titles this weekend.

Defending champion Central Dauphin should test Canon-McMillan in the Class AAA semifinals. District 10 Fort LeBoeuf and Reynolds and District 11 runner-up Pen Argyl could challenge Class AA Bethlehem Catholic.

Central Mountain wrestles District 3 runner-up Mechanicsburg in the first round. The match could be a dandy. The winner faces Owen J. Roberts or Greensburg Salem in the quarterfinals. 

District 6 Class AA champion Mount Union wrestles District 4 runner-up Central Columbia. District 6 Class AA runner-up West Branch faces District 4 champion. Wyalusing.

The three-day tournament begins Thursday and ends Saturday at Giant Center.