WINGATE — Clint McCaslin experienced a sensation Tuesday his father, Terry, and uncle, Dan, never had an opportunity to receive during their Bald Eagle Area careers.
Terry and Dan represented the Eagles before District 6 implemented its team duals, a riveting addition to already packed high school wrestling schedules.
And riveting might be the best word to describe Clint’s victory against Philipsburg-Osceola’s Scott Yarger.
With Terry and Dan watching from the bleachers, and his team needing a jolt, Clint pinned Yarger win one second remaining in the 132-pound bout.
The pin helped the Eagles post a 40-36 victory in Tuesday’s District 6 Class AAA opening round. The victory arranges a semifinal meeting with five-time defending champion Central Mountain on Saturday at Tyrone.
McCaslin’s gritty, wrestle-until-the-end style flipped a potential loss into a signature victory. McCaslin trailed Yarger 5-3 with less than 30 seconds remaining. A takedown with 22 seconds remaining tied the bout.
Instead of settling for overtime, McCaslin contorted the flexible Yarger and locked a late cradle. The move produced the biggest victory of the sophomore’s career.
“I knew I was down and that I had to come back and win for the team because I knew we needed it,” McCaslin said. “I got him on his side and got the win. Bonus points were a major factor.”
BEA coach Steve Millward praised McCaslin for wrestling until the final whistle.
“If you keep wrestling long enough, stuff like that will happen for you,” Millward said. “He doesn’t shut down.”
It doesn’t take a doctorate in mathematics to determine the ramifications of the bout. A loss at 132 would have crushed the Eagles’ hopes of winning their first district team tournament title since 2006.
One week after handling P-O 39-25, BEA experienced some dicey moments, none bigger than when the Chris Barnhart reversed and pinned Cobey Bainey in the first period at 113 pounds. Barnhart was pinned by BEA’s Mike Kachik in the first meeting.
This time, Millward kept Kachik at 106. Kachik couldn’t last six minutes against P-O junior Chris Thompson, whose pin gave P-O its first victory, trimming the gap 13-6. The meet started at 195, where David Gawryla majored R.J. Kephart 16-6. Aaron Varner’s forfeit victory at 220 and Nate Sharkey’s 1-0 victory over Nick Gray at 285 helped BEA open a 13-0 advantage.
The ending weight also worked into BEA’s favor. Jake Taylor’s presence at 182 eliminated the tension produced by P-O senior Jay Prentice’s pin of Ben Verbitskey at 170. The pin avenged the 8-6 loss Prentice suffered against Verbitskey last week and gave P-O a 36-34 lead entering the final bout. But the undefeated Taylor, ranked fourth nationally by InterMat, calmly pinned Lumadue in 3:53. Taylor also pinned Lumadue, a 19-win junior, last week.
Taylor, like McCaslin, understands BEA wrestling history. His father, Doug, and uncles, Keith and Richard, wrestled for the Eagles.
“I didn’t feel too nervous,” said Taylor, a Cornell recruit who improved to 23-0. “We wrestled them last week. I knew what to look for and what would work for me, so I didn’t feel bad going out there. I was just looking for the win.”
BEA won the only two bouts decided by decision. Travis Giedroc avenged a loss from last week by handling Bryan Descavish 6-2 at 120.
The 145-pound bout represented another swing as Justin Millard defaulted because of a left arm injury suffered in the first period against Joe Powers.
“That was a toss-up battle,” P-O coach Tim McCamley said.
Similar mystery was difficult to find. P-O earned 18 bonus points. BEA had 16. Brian Evans (120) and Andrew Greenawalt (152) and BEA’s Mitchell Taylor (160) also produced falls for their respective teams.
Both sides made numerous lineup alterations, leaving just five bout rematches from last week.
“We expected that,” Millward said. “I’m sure they expected that from us as well. When we knew we were going to wrestle P-O a second time in a week, we wanted to make some adjustments, not to throw them off, but to get some better matchups with how kids wrestled.”