It was a good day for the three Centre County schools as the fifth edition of the Red Raider Rumble unfolded on Saturday at Bellefonte Area High School.
As for Bellefonte, State College and Bald Eagle Area, the trio went a combined 11-4 on the day in duals.
Bellefonte swept through pool matches for a 3-0 mark and a berth in the championship semifinals.Victims of the Red Raiders in the preliminary matches were Downingtown West (48-21), Midd-West (42-27) and James Wood (Va.) (49-6).
“I thought we got off to a little slow start in our first match due to being sloppy in some positions,” said Bellefonte head coach Mike Maney. “But we were able to refocus and get through to the guys that is not what we are all about so in our second two matches we saw a more aggressive style of wrestling from the first period all the way through.”
In helping his team to the 3-0 pool mark, Raider senior veteran Trevor Corl reached a milestone as he picked up the 100th win of his outstanding career.
“Right now it feels awesome,” said Corl. “It was even more special because it happened right here in front of my home fans. Getting 100 wins for them is the best thing that can happen. Last year in some of my matches I kind of got ahead and then relaxed, so right now I am just concentrating on dominating the whole match. My approach now is to wrestle the whole six minutes as hard as I can and not leave my opponent have any chance to win the match.”
As for Corl, Maney sees his veteran as a consistent performer who works hard.
“He has been a consistent performer from his freshman season on and he has progressively gotten better,” said Maney. “We don’t wrestle an easy schedule so that 100-win plateau he reached is certainly something he should be very proud of.”
In the first championship semifinal match, the Raiders faced District 3 foe Warwick and thumped the Warriors 49-19. In the title match, the Raiders gave up too many bonus points and fell shortwith a 40-33 loss to Quakertown to finish 4-1.
“We gave up too many bonus points and that boils down to us needing to wrestle smarter,” said Maney. “Quakertown is a very solid team with 15 wins and if you are going to beat a team like that, not only are you going to have to win the close ones which we lost all of those as well as gave up too many bonus points.”
Disappointed by coming so close, but yet so far from winning the team title, Maney still feels that by finishing 4-1 and wrestling a lot of different faces will certainly help his squad.
“We got a chance to see some quality individuals,” he said. “Individually, we saw some guys make some gains and some little improvements here and there. This tournament is a grind, much like it will be in the post-season where you have to wrestle a match, warm up again and wrestle another match. It is our last multiple match day until the post-season so the kids were able to get a taste of what that is like.”
State College also went 3-0 in pool competition, as it downed Crestwood (62-9), Pittston Area 58-16) and Pius X (69-9).
“I thought they were pretty aggressive today and that is something we worked on this past week,” said Little Lion head coach Ryan Cummins. “We are working to get the guys to take charge of the first period in a match and go after guys with good setups. You know, just be aggressive and offensive. It was nice to see our 182-pounder Bobby Bendick get a win. That is something that he has been looking for. Overall I thought we won the matches we were supposed to win and for the most part, we lost those that I assumed we were going to. Overall, we wrestled pretty well.”
In their championship semifinal, the Little Lions faced District 1 power Quakertown and came out on the short end of a 44-24 final, before dropping their third-place match to Warwick (37-31) to finish at 3-2.
“We did it to ourselves,” said Cummins about the two losses in the place matches. “Our guys probably didn’t wrestle up to their potential and we didn’t win the tight matches. We are going to have to work on that. We were able to get a lot of good competition here and some of the guys just have to learn to dig down deep. Maybe it is due to them not having been pushed that hard so I think what happened here today will make them better wrestlers in the long run.”
Bald Eagle Area started strong by winning their first two duals over DuBois (51-27) and Pittston Area (54-18), before also falling to eventual champion Quakertown 50-22 to finish pool matches at 2-1.
“It was definitely a good start for us,” said Eagle head coach Steve Millward. “It was a matter of getting warmed up and getting a couple of good bouts in was beneficial to our guys. I think we wrestled well in those first two matches by going out and getting after it. As for the loss to Quakertown, I don’t think our guys went out there and did the things we are good at. We let them take command of the positions they wanted to wrestle us in and as a result, they caught us in a couple of bad situations. When we went to our backs, they kept us there and that is something that we aren’t going to accept lightly.”
Out of contention for a place in the top four, the Eagles finished out their day by defeating Hazleton (39-37) and Crestwood (34-27) to finish with a 4-1 mark during the day.
“We would like to get a little more consistent throughout our lineup,” said Millward. “I think that is what hurt us because we have some areas that we (the coaches) are well aware of where we are trying to get the best matchups for our team. Unfortunately for us it just didn’t work that way for us today. Those last two matches for us were fairly tight and it wasn’t for their lack of heart. I know their heart is in the right place so now we just have to get their confidence up.”