Sparked by Ben Bytheway’s pivotal fall at 220 pounds, Bald Eagle Area went on a roll and won nine of 10 contested bouts to put away State College 38-27 in a battle between intra-county rivals Thursday night.
State opened the dual meet at 170 pounds with a win as Will Roeshot pinned Jarrett Shreffler in 1:19.
Then the Eagles went on a tear as Chase Meyers beat Bobby Bendik 6-0, thanks to a pair of takedowns, and Mitchell Taylor put BEA ahead for good with a 9-1 major decision over Cory Dreibelbis — scoring on three takedowns, two back points and an escape that made the dual meet score 7-6.
Bytheway followed that with the fall over Pete Haffner in 1:22. Haffner scored the initial takedown, but Bytheway escaped, took Haffner down to his back and got the fall, giving BEA a 13-6 cushion.
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“That catapulted us ahead and allowed the guys behind him to go out and wrestle relaxed and not have to worry about going out there and scoring points,” BEA coach Steve Millward said of Bytheway’s fall. “That keeps guys from having to put themselves in bad positions trying to score points. That was definitely a big win for us.”
“They took advantage of the situation at 220,” said State College coach Ryan Cummings, whose team was coming off an upset of Bellefonte in another rivalry battle Wednesday night. “It definitely worked in their favor, that’s for sure.
“I was hoping we’d have some momentum coming into tonight, but BEA wrestled well, they fought hard. I like these close rivalries because guys usually wrestle harder in them. Coming into the meet, we knew they couldn’t move around a whole lot so it was a case of they had what they had, we had what we had so you just line up and go for it. And they just wrestled better than we did.”
State got a forfeit win at 106, but then BEA ran off five wins in a row to seal the outcome.
At 113, Clayton Giedroc topped Adam Stover 5-1 behind a takedown and three back points in the second period. Garrett Rigg blew open a tight bout with Trey Millward when he hooked up a Peterson roll for five points in the third period to go on to an 11-4 victory.
Seth Koleno put the Eagles in front 28-12 with a fall in 1:41 over Griffin Barger at 126, and at 132, Coby Bainey downed Lucas Jennerman 11-2 — getting the major with a takedown at the final buzzer.
Clint McCaslin got BEA’s final win of the night as he pinned Ian Barr in 5:59 at 138.
State swept the final three bouts as Dalton Barger pinned Mike Kachik in 2:31 at 145, Jared Price pinned Andrew Cohen in 3:48 and Jonathon Sponsler scored a takedown late in the third period for a 4-2 win over Colton Comly.
“It was good to get this one out of the way,” Millward said. “With cancellations and delays it’s been spotty when we can work out. But the kids are wrestling the way we want them to be at this stage of the season. I think they’re ready for the postseason to see what they can do.”
BEA has makeup meets with Jersey Shore and Shikellamy on the road next week while State travels to Shikellamy before getting ready for the District 6 AAA tournament on Feb. 21 at Altoona. The district tournament will be a one-day affair this year.