Jake Taylor and the Bald Eagle Area wrestling team are getting stronger as the season progresses.
Taylor captured the 182-pound title and four teammates earned medals Sunday, propelling the Eagles to a seventh-place finish at the 32-team Escape the Rock Tournament at Council Rock South.
The performance marked BEA’s best showing in a tournament this season. The Eagles finished eighth and 10th, respectively, at Manheim and Top Hat.
Taylor improved to 17-0 and claimed his third tournament title of 2012-13 by defeating Norristown’s Brett Harner in the ultimate tiebreaker period. The seniors traded escapes in regulation. They traded escapes again in the first two 30-second tiebreakers.
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Because he scored the bout’s first points, Harner chose bottom to begin the 30-second ultimate tiebreaker. Taylor rode Harner out for the victory.
The final pitted nationally-ranked wrestlers and returning PIAA bronze medalists. Harner entered the tournament ranked fourth nationally by InterMat. Taylor was ranked seventh.
Every BEA wrestler from 170 to 285 pounds joined Taylor on the Escape the Rock podium.
Senior Aaron Varner recovered from a 8-6 semifinal loss to Council Rock South’s P.J. Steinmetz by majoring Central Mountain’s Blaze Buckwalter 8-0 to take third at 195. The victory avenged Varner’s 11-2 loss to Buckwalter in last month’s Top Hat finals.
Ben Verbitskey, Josh Fye and Nate Sharkey also won place bouts Sunday.
Verbitskey placed fifth at 170 by going 5-2 over two days. He won his final bout against Owen J. Roberts’ Tyler Rogers by default.
Competing in his first varsity tournament, Fye went 6-2 and finished fifth at heavyweight. The freshman pinned The Hill School’s Kostya Golobokov in his final bout.
Sharkey went 3-2 to place seventh at 220. He ended the tournament by pinning Northampton’s Imad Azar in 2:12.
Freshman Cobey Bainey (106) and senior Travis Giedroc (113) both fell one victory short of placing. Both wrestlers won their first bouts Sunday.
The Eagles collected 129.5 points. District 11 Parkland won the title with 189.5 points. District 1 Owen J. Roberts finished 17 points behind the Trojans. Central Mountain finished eighth 122.5 points.
Central Mountain’s Caleb Stover fell to Solanco’s Bo Spiller 4-3 in the heavyweight final.