Although it wasn’t exactly a great day in terms of wins and losses, it was a good experience day for both the Bellefonte and Penns Valley wrestling teams as the King of the Mountain Tournament concluded Saturday evening in Central Mountain’s Wildcat Gymnasium.
Entering the second day of the tournament, Bellefonte and Penns Valley combined for five quarterfinalists and had five more wrestlers in the wrestlebacks.
In the quarterfinals, the Red Raiders ran into a couple of roadblocks as they went 1-for-3.
Both of the losses for the Raiders were of the close variety as Aaron Witherite dropped a 3-1 verdict to Derek Gulotta of Owen J. Roberts, while Brock Port was nipped 11-9 by Korbin Myers of Boiling Springs.
As for the winner for the Raiders, it came by way of Trevor Corl as he continued his tough wrestling by tossing a 3-0 shutout at Burrell’s Damon Greenwald. On the heels of that win, Corl took the measure of Mifflin County’s Isaac Underhill before downing Bethlehem Catholic’s Mikey Labriola 3-1 for his gold medal.
In the final, Corl found himself locked in a 1-all tie with Labriola until he made a good shot pay off for a takedown and the 3-1 win.
“He was just pushing in the whole match,” said Corl about Labriola. “I just felt that if I waited for the right time I could get a slide by for the takedown and it worked for me. I just waited it out, waited until it was there and took it.”
Once Corl secured the takedown, he was dominant in control over the final minute to wrap up the win.
“Once I got him down I knew all I had to do was finish out the last minute, stay on top and get the win,” Corl said. “There were a lot of good kids in my bracket and I didn’t really know what to expect coming in so I just went out there, wrestled each match hard and now I am the champ.”
Bellefonte coach Mike Maney likes what he sees from his veteran.
“At this point in his career I think he is wrestling the best he has throughout the three-plus years I have been coaching him,” Maney said. “Last year he finished sixth and now he moved all the way up to first. It was a real tough weight class with a tough opponent in the finals who was a state placewinner last year.”
While the Raiders found the road rough in the quarterfinals, they fared much better in the fourth round of consolations, going 3-for-4.
Luke Leathers (126) wasted no time disposing of DuBois’s Brock Adams with a fall in 59 seconds, Chase Gardner (138) downed Creighton Edsell of Wyalusing by a 3-1 count and Dillon Kephart (170) won a solid 4-1 decision over Tyler Herber of Hamburg.
The only casualty in the first consolation round of the day came at 145 where Zach Musser dropped a 3-1 decision to Sean Kalmeyer of North Allegheny.
When the final results were in, the Raiders went home with two additional placewinners in addition to Corl in Witherite (120) and Port (132).
Witherite finished eighth with a 5-2 loss to Sean Stanish of Hamburg in the place battle, while Port battled back through the consolation bracket to finish third with a 4-2 nod over Josh Giorgio of Schuylkill Valley.
“This is the first time Witherite placed here,” said Maney. “I think when he won his consolation match in overtime is where he turned the corner. Those are matches in the past that he might have lost. For him to dig down deep and pick up wins like that is a credit to him.”
Port has been involved in a number of close matches in the early season and his consolation final bout with Giorgio was one of those.
“Port also had a very tough weight class,” said Maney. “He lost a controversial match (11-9 to Korbin Myers of Boiling Springs) in the semis so he is right there with some of the best guys. He just needs to continue to work hard on his feet to improve because he certainly has all of the tools. Hopefully this effort will give him more confidence.”
Penns Valley went 1-for-2 in the championship quarterfinals, but dropped their only consolation bout of the fourth round when Darren Yearick (106) was the victim of a 15-0 technical fall to Ben Doll of South Western.
Curtis Decker became the only championship round casualty when he was dominated in a 14-0 major decision by Giorgio, but the Ram’s stalwart, Corey Hazel, pounded Council Rock South’s Ben Kenis for an 18-2 technical fall in 4:00 to advance to the semifinals.
Decker came back to defeat Joey Stoak of Lower Dauphin 7-1 and eventually placed eighth in the tournament with a 2-0 loss to Josh Stillings of Pennridge.
“Curtis just had a great tournament,” said Penns Valley head coach Joel Brinker. “I know he is not happy right now with where he finished, but he wrestled hard. It (132) might be the toughest weight class of the tournament and he is walking out of here with a medal. He can be proud of winning the medal and proud of himself.”
As for Hazel, he ran into some tough luck in his semifinal bout and dropped a 5-2 decision to Kyle Gentile of Pennridge, but he bounced back to down Greg Harvey of Boyertown 8-6 to finish third.
“He was a little flat in the semis and I think he knows that,” said Brinker of Hazel. “He is walking out of here knowing what he needs to work on so he can go back to the room and work on conditioning and everything else. He had a slow week so I don’t think it was a bad thing that happened tonight. Obviously, he would like to have won it, but he knows what he needs to work on and this will motivate him to work on those things.”
The outstanding wrestler award in the tournament went to 138-pound champion Sam Krivas of Hempfield who downed Cam Coy of Penn Trafford 5-1 in the final. Both Krivas and Coy are returning PIAA state champions.
In another award, that of the most falls in the least aggregate time, went to 113-pound, third-place finisher Hunter Zondory of Jersey Shore. The Bulldog lightweight decked five opponents in a cumulative time of 10:01 for his award.
Bethlehem Catholic outdistanced Greater Latrobe 198-189 to win the team title, while Bellefonte finished 15th with 83 points and Penns Valley wound up 30th with 40.5 points.