Bellefonte’s bus got stuck on the way to Tuesday night’s wrestling dual meet with Philipsburg-Osceola, but the Raiders had no problem gaining traction against the Mounties as they bolted to an 18-point lead after seven bouts and won a 39-26 decision in the first dual meet of the season for both teams.
Despite using a lineup that featured seven first-time starters, Raider coach Mike Maney wasn’t overly thrilled with the outcome.
“This almost feels like a loss,” he said. “We were sloppy. Things we work on in practice I didn’t see tonight. We were not really aggressive.”
One of those rookies, Keegan Rothrock, opened the meet at 138 and dropped a 5-3 decision to P-O’s Landon Mcdonald, the difference being a pair of takedowns for McDonald.
Bellefonte matched that when Cameron Coppolo nipped Matt Shimmel, 3-1 with a first-period takedown to even the score.
After that the Raiders began rolling as Brock Port pinned Tristan Beauseigneur in 1:26 before P-O’s Levi Hughes dropped Chase Gardner 4-3 in a feature bout at 160. Gardner struck first with a takedown in the first period but Hughes escaped and notched a takedown early in the second period for the lead. Gardner knotted the score with an escape to start the third period but Hughes got the winning takedown with :25 to go.
Then the Raiders went on a three-bout run to make it 24-6 as Lukas McClure decisioned Ian Klinger 6-2, Mason Cooper pinned Josh Hubler in 1:32, and Brian McChesney won by injury default over Brandon Anderson in 5:14 at 195 to make it 24-6.
P-O’s Micah Sidorick pinned James Boland in 4:11 at 220 and the Mounties’ Brad Dunkel beat Sean Irvin 2-1 on a penalty point in overtime at 285.
The Raiders stopped the P-O momentum with a fall from Alex Coppolo at 106 over Jason Franchock in 1:06and Cole Stewart rode a two-point near fall in the third period to a 4-1 win over Chase Chapman at 113.
Ryan Smith gave the Raiders their final points when he pinned Noah Clark in 1:43 at 120 before P-O’s Noah Twoey decked Zach Taylor in 2:29 at 126 and Matt Johnson rolled over Zach McMasters with a 19-2 tech fall in 2:30. Johnson had 14 back points in the win.
“We’re young so we weren’t sure what to expect,” Maney said. “Some of these kids haven’t wrestled in six years so this was a whole new level for them.”
For P-O first-year coach Brad Pataky, he had a pretty good idea of what awaited the Mounties.
“That’s one of the best teams in the state,” he said. “We knew it would be a test for us. But this is a process and we got great effort from the kids. That’s what we expect.
“We lost some close matches and at the end of the year those are the matches that separate you. But tonight that team was better than us.”