Ever since he emerged on the high school wrestling season as a precocious freshman, Bellefonte’s Brock Port has always lived in the shadow of his accomplished cousin Mitchell Port.
Mitchell was a four-time state qualifier, three-time PIAA placer and one-time PIAA champion for the Red Raiders before going to Edinboro where he was a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA finalist.
Brock finally earned a distinction all his own, one even Mitchell couldn’t claim, Saturday night in the Altoona Field House at the District 6 Class AAA Wrestling Championships.
Port scored eight points in overtime to earn a 12-4 tiebreaker win to claim the 145-pound championship, his fourth district title. He joins Mike Reish (1999-2002) and Dave Adams (1950-53) as the only Raiders to win four titles. Port was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
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“Years ago, when he first got to varsity, we talked about that. It comes with the name, the pressure. He’s always had that over his head,” Bellefonte coach Mike Maney said. “It’s a great honor to have that name, but it also comes with pressure. It’s a great accomplishment. There aren’t too many four-time district champs. It’s a credit to him.”
Brock seemed both pleased and relieved.
“It feels good to finally get it under my belt,” he said with a smile. “I’m just glad I could do something my cousin couldn’t.”
Port was one of 25 Centre County wrestlers who placed in the top four at their respective weights and earned a berth in the PIAA Class AAA Northwest Regional, to be held at the Altoona Field House on Friday and Saturday.
▪ Bellefonte pushed the most wrestlers through with eight: Cole Stewart (2nd at 106), Alex Coppolo (4th at 113), Ryan Smith (3rd at 120), Keegan Rothrock (2nd at 132), Port, Chase Gardner (2nd at 152), Mason Cooper (4th at 170) and Sean Irvin (4th at 285).
▪ State College crowned a champ — Cole Urbas at 182 pounds — among its seven regional qualifiers: Clayton Leidy (3rd at 106), Jacob Pammer (2nd at 120), Adam Stover (4th at 126), Ian Barr (2nd at 160), Urbas, Pete Haffner (2nd at 220) and Drew Linnes (3rd at 285).
▪ Bald Eagle Area also had seven qualifiers: Garrett Giedroc (4th at 106), Alex Nyman (2nd at 113), Garrett Rigg (2nd at 126), Clayton Giedroc (4th at 132), Seth Koleno (2nd at 138), Gage McClenahan (2nd at 145) and Dylan Bisel (3rd at 170).
▪ Philipsburg-Osceola got three regional qualifiers, led by Micah Sidorick, who won the 220-pound championship. He will be joined by Levi Hughes (3rd at 138) and Josh Hubler (4th at 182).
Port led Bald Eagle Area’s McClenahan, 4-1 in the third period when he decided to allow an escape.
“Earlier in the match, he was close to reversing me, so I just decided that I just took him down and I thought I would get another one,” Port said. “I cut him loose to see if I could.”
McClenahan, instead, scored a takedown of his own to tie the match at 4-4.
“He had a bar in, so the main priority is not give up backs and lose in regular time,” Port added.
Regulation ended 4-4 and neither wrestler could score in the sudden victory period. McClenahan chose bottom to start the first 30-second tiebreaker period and Port was pleased.
“I’m good on top, usually,” he said. “I can ride almost anybody. Whatever happens, happens.”
What happened was Port tilted McClenahan for three points. Port took bottom to start the second tiebreaker period and quickly escaped. Then, when McClenahan tried a desperation takedown, Port pounced.
“I was just looking to score points and an opportunity presented itself,” he said.
Port scored a takedown and two near-fall points to earn the 12-4 win.
Even with eight regional qualifiers and a champ, Bellefonte couldn’t maintain the lead it started the final session with, slipping to third.
Central Mountain took the title, crowning just one champ but amassing 182 points. Altoona, with four champs, placed second with 179 points. Bellefonte was third with 166.
Centre County’s second champ came at 182, where Little Lion Cole Urbas cruised to an 11-2 finals win over Central Mountain’s Caleb Turner. The State College sophomore recorded two first-period falls to get to the finals.
“He works really hard all year to get ready for this,” State College coach Ryan Cummins said. “He’s reaping the benefits now. I expect a lot from him. He’s got a couple weeks to go. It’s going to be a fun ride.
“The guys wrestled tough. You can always do a little better, but that’s what next week’s for.”
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Micah Sidorick was Centre County’s third champ. He escaped in the third period and scored a takedown to earn a 5-4 win over State College’s Pete Haffner in the 220-pound finals.
“I’m happy for him. He deserved that. He works hard. He does everything right,” Mounties coach Brad Pataky said. “He’s a good kid. He listens. He’s not just good on the mat. He’s good in the classroom, he’s good in his community, he’s good in every aspect of his life. It’s just awesome to see a kid achieve a goal that he sets for himself.”
Despite getting just three wrestlers through, the first-year coach said he liked the way his team responded to his leadership.
“These kids know what they’re capable of and they know they can go above and beyond what they’re capable of. We saw a lot of that today,” Pataky said.
Four Bald Eagle Area wrestlers made the finals, only to be turned away from a championship one win short. Still, first-year coach Ron Guenot said his team met its goal.
“Overall, I’m pleased,” he said. “We had a target number of seven and we would have been OK. Anything over that would have been sweet. Anything less than that we would have been disappointed. I thought we wrestled well in certain areas, but I’m disappointed we didn’t get a champ. We’re moving on and we’ll get back to work this week in the room and get ready for regionals.
“When you get to this level in the finals, there are no gimmes. Everybody in those finals is a quality wrestler. The three matches that we lost that were contested we knew we were going to be in some tough matches.”