High School Sports

High school wrestling: Bald Eagle Area duo reach Escape the Rock Tournament semifinals

Jake Taylor and Aaron Varner led the Bald Eagle Area wrestling team to a solid start at the 32-team Escape the Rock Tournament.

Taylor and Varner both went 2-0 on Saturday to reach Sunday’s semifinals. Taylor went 2-0 at 182 pounds, pinning Manheim Township’s John Shorter in 3:32 in the quarterfinals. Varner went 2-0 at 195, majoring Big Spring’s Tommy Rayhart 17-4 in the quarterfinals.

The top-seeded Taylor faces Daulton Gregory of Salesianum (Del.) in the semifinals. The fourth-seeded Varner wrestles top-seeded P.J. Steinmetz of Council Rock South. Steinmetz, a Penn State recruit, finished third at 195 at last year’s PIAA Class AAA tournament. Varner placed sixth.

Cobey Bainey (106), Travis Giedroc (113), Clint McCaslin (132), Ben Verbitskey (170), Nate Sharkey (220) and Josh Fye (285) remain alive in consolation brackets for the Eagles.

Verbitskey and Sharkey both lost in the semifinals. Forest Park’s Brett Stein pinned Verbitskey in 3:36. Saucon Valley’s Ray O’Donnell pinned Sharkey in 4:28.

The Eagles ended the first day 11th in the team standings with 69.5 points. District 11 Parkland leads the field with 123.5 points. Owen J. Roberts trails the Trojans by 15 points. Central Mountain is in eighth place with 76.5 points.