High School Sports

Bellefonte wrestling takes early lead, cruises to win over Clearfield

adrey@centredaily.com

Bellefonte wrestling coach Mike Maney was a bit concerned about how his team would perform against Clearfield on Tuesday night.

The Red Raiders placed third in the rugged, two-day Virginia Duals in Hampton, Va., over the weekend and then had to the make the long trek back to central Pennsylvania nursing an assortment of bumps and bruises.

He needn’t have worried.

Bellefonte jumped out to a 12-0 lead on Clearfield and never looked back in a 46-19 win at the Bellefonte Area High School gymnasium.

“I thought we wrestled pretty solid. I was a little concerned about the travel back. We wrestled really hard down at the Virginia Duals against some tough competition. We came back a little banged up,” Maney said. “Our guys had to dig a little deep. Overall, I was pleased with the effort. Our guys dug deep and battled the entire match.”

The Red Raiders won nine of 14 bouts, among them four falls, two forfeits, two decisions and a major decision.

The pre-match draw set the starting weight at 126 pounds and Bellefonte took advantage, reeling off wins in the first three weights.

Nate Wert blew open a close match with a reversal and two nearfall points in the third period to earn an 8-2 win at 126. Keegan Rothrock locked up a near cradle and planted his opponent at the 3:10 mark of the second period. Cam Coppolo followed with a dominating 6-0 win at 138 and the Raiders were off and running with a 12-0 lead.

“I think our first couple weight classes got us going,” Maney said. “Nate got us going there and wrestled a solid match. Keegan wrestled a solid match, followed by Cam Coppolo.”

Clearfield cut into the lead with a major decision at 145, but Bellefonte countered with pair of six-point wins at 152 and 160 to stretch the lead to 24-4.

Brock Port received a forfeit and then Chase Gardner built a 10-3 lead before scoring a fall in 4:41.

A Clearfield decision at 170 drew the Bison within 24-7, but the Raiders’ Mason Cooper answered with a fall in 1:02 at 182.

Clearfield claimed wins at 195 (a fall) and 285 (a decision), sandwiched around Max Mondy’s forfeit win at 220.

Bellefonte won two of the final three bouts as Alex Coppolo used an escape and three takedowns in the final period to earn an 11-2 major decision at 106 and, at 113, Cole Stewart rolled up a 9-0 lead before locking up a crossface cradle and scoring a fall in 1:36 at 113.

Clearfield closed out the night with a decision at 120.

The Raiders improved their record to 15-1 and their coach was happy for them.

“I’m happy for those guys to continue what they’ve been doing,” Maney said.

The Raiders return to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they wrestle at Central.

Note: Mitchell Port, the winningest wrestler in Bellefonte history with a 156-18 record, was inducted into the Bellefonte Wrestling Hall of Fame in ceremonies prior to the match.

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