State College sophomore 182-pounder Cole Urbas looked as if he had someplace else to be Friday night other than the Altoona Fieldhouse.
After receiving a first-round bye at the PIAA Class 3A Northwest Regional Tournament, Urbas needed just 28 seconds to score a takedown, run a half-Nelson and pin his quarterfinal opponent.
As State College coach Ryan Cummins came walking from the corner after Urbas’ match, he looked at press row, shrugged and said, “I guess he didn’t want to work up a sweat.”
Urbas and eight other Centre County wrestlers earned semifinal berths after the first night of competition. All nine need one more win to earn a coveted berth to the PIAA Class 3A Championships on March 9-11 in Hershey.
Among those wrestling Saturday afternoon with a trip to states on the line include Bald Eagle Area’s Garrett Rigg (126), Seth Koleno (138) and Gage McClenahan (145), Bellefonte’s Cole Stewart (106), Brock Port (145) and Chase Gardner (152), Philipsburg-Osceola’s Levi Hughes (138) and State College’s Urbas and Pete Haffner (220).
The other 16 Centre County wrestlers lost Friday night but are still alive and face win-or-go-home matches Saturday morning in the consolation bracket.
Cathedral Prep, with eight semifinalists, leads the team race with 52 points. DuBois is second with six semifinalists and 35 points. General McLane and Altoona are tied for third with four and five semifinalists, respectively, and 34.5 points. Central Mountain rounds out the top five with three semifinalists and 33 points.
Rigg put together two falls, Koleno a fall and 7-0 decision and McClenahan, perhaps the surprise of the BEA trio, a fall and 9-1 major decision.
“Gage is a special freshman,” Eagles coach Ron Guenot said. “He works hard, has unbelievable hips and is wise beyond his years. It’s obvious. A solid match, a dominating match. He’s a smart wrestler who always stays in good position.”
It was also no surprise that Port and Gardner each advanced — Port with a bye and a fall, Gardner with two falls — but Stewart’s two falls opened some eyes.
“On paper, it went pretty much as we expected,” Bellefonte coach Mike Maney said. “The three guys we thought would be in the semifinals are there. Two of the guys have been here before and have advanced to the state tournament. We expect them to be there. Cole Stewart put two solid matches together.”
State College stood in third place after the first round as all seven Little Lions won. However, just two could earn semifinal berths with Urbas scoring his fall after the bye and Haffner earning a pair of decisions.
Of Philipsburg-Osceola’s three qualifiers, Hughes was the only one to get through to the semifinals. Senior 220-pounder Micah Sidorick dropped a tough 2-1 decision in the quarterfinals. Hughes, though, posted 9-7 and 10-6 decisions.
“Micah’s just as good as any of those kids in the bracket,” Mounties coach Brad Pataky said. “It just comes down to a mindset and wanting to win and persevering through certain situations.
“Levi wrestled great. He’s looking really good. He’s one of those kids who continually buys into the program. You can see it paying off.”
Wrestling resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday with the first round of consolations, followed by the second round of consolations at11:30 a.m. and then the semifinals and third round of consolations at 12:30. The championship finals start at 6:15 p.m.