High School Sports

St. Joe’s looks to make a lot out of a little on wrestling mat

They can only dream of what it would be like to line up for pre-meet introductions at a dual meet. They hold some of their practices at a fitness facility on half a mat. And the whole team could travel to its competitions in a VW Beetle.

But the three wrestlers who comprise the St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy team do what they have to do to participate in a sport for which they obviously have a passion.

“They work hard,” said coach Pat Flynn. “Mondays and Wednesdays we lift and drill and then we work with some of the clubs in the area. It’s not your typical practice room, that’s for sure. Rule number one for them is to not get hurt. We only had three guys come out. We were hoping for a few more.”

The trio of Jacob Powers at 106 pounds, Max Wortman at 126 and Leo Bomboy at 170 did well at the St. Marys tournament over the weekend. Powers won it with a 3-0 record, Wortman posted a 2-1 record and Bomboy finished 3-1.

“We do the best we can,” said Flynn, whose wrestlers can only compete in tournaments. “Max and Jacob work out together and I work out with Leo. Sometimes we have them drill. Leo is a big strong kid and he will work with the other two. As a result he’s learning to wrestle like a lightweight. And they will never wrestle anyone as strong as he is.”

The Wolves’ next competition will be at the Sheetz Holiday Tournament on Dec. 18-19.

At Bald Eagle Area, there is quality but not quantity as the Eagles list only 17 wrestlers in the room. But two of them, sophomore Seth Koleno and senior Josh Fye, are returning district and regional champions. And they’ve picked up where they left off as Fye won his second Top Hat heavyweight title over the weekend while Koleno placed second along with Garrett Rigg in the 20-man bracket. However, due to injury and illness, the Eagles only entered nine wrestler at the meet in Lock Haven.

Other veterans returning are Coby Baney, Clayton Giedroc, Chase Myers and Andrew Cohen. Giedroc and Baney were fifth in the district tournament while Rigg placed fourth a year ago.

“It will be an interesting mix of talent,” said coach Steve Millward. “Certainly our veterans have lofty goals and our younger kids have the potential to gain attention as the season progresses. This group has yet to make its mark. They need to work their way toward having successful careers while trying to help each other improve for our team’s success. A few have been around for some time and understand the commitment required to endure an entire season.’’

BEA opens its season at Clearfield on Tuesday.

Bellefonte has the county’s other returning district champion in Brock Port, who was also a regional runnerup and finished sixth in the PIAA tournament. Trevor Corl was a district runner-up.

The Red Raiders have six veterans returning and are counting on some youngsters to fill in the gaps caused by graduation.

“The team will be very young with the potential to have three freshmen in the lightweights,” said coach Mike Maney. “Three of our first four guys could be freshmen. We also have some new guys come out for the team — Collin Wesley, Lukas McClure and Dakota Parson — who have not been out for a few years but have the potential to do some big things this season. Team success will come down to keeping everyone healthy, spreading the wrestlers out at the right weights and the ability of the young guys to adjust to the varsity level. We’re counting on guys like Brock Port and Dillon Kephart to set the tone.

“Currently we have a lot of depth in the middle weights but the guys in the upper weights have limited experience. If the team stays healthy and the individuals wrestle to their potential the team could be in the mix for a district title. We’ve set up a schedule to expose them to the best competition in the area and in the state, so hopefully that will set them up for the end of the year.”

Chase Gardner and Kephart placed third at the district tournament last year.

The Raiders open their season Tuesday when they entertain Philipsburg-Osceola at 7 pm.

P-O got its season off to a strong start by winning its own eight-team Mountaineer Tournament on Saturday, crowning champions in Bryce Bennett at 132 and Micah Sidorick at 220. The Mounties also had six second-placers in Matt Johnson, Levi Hughes, Dakota Weitoish, Nick Patrick, Ian Klinger and Brandon Anderson.

Weitoish and Patrick were runners-up at the district tournament a year ago.

“We should have more balance with this team than we’ve had in the past,” said coach Tim McCamley. ‘We also have good depth in the upper weights. A lot will depend on how quickly the freshmen and sophomores adapt to a varsity schedule.

“We have tremendous leadership in the room with a large number of seniors. But staying away from the injury bug is going to be key for us.”

At Penns Valley, the Rams only lost three seniors from last year’s team but one of them is PIAA runner-up Cory Hazel, now wrestling at Lock Haven.

“You always wish you could have had them one more year,” coach Joel Brinker said during a break at the Penn State Open Sunday.

However, Brinker is hoping a sizeable group of returnees will be able to keep the Rams rolling.

“We return a good core group that saw a lot of varsity action last year, including two-time PIAA qualifier Curtis Decker,” Brinker said. “And Darren Yearick and Jared Hurd were regional qualifiers. But we have to stay healthy and fill the weight classes. We have some guys like Isaac Bierly, Logan Johnson and Cain who are going to open some eyes this year. We have a several guys who do a lot in the off-season.

“Last year we came up just short against many of the teams we faced and we placed fourth as a team out of 27 teams in the district tournament. This year our goal is to turn those close matches into wins. The guys we put on the mat will compete. And we’re hoping to return home from Hershey with some hardware like we did last year. We want to get them where they need to be so they’re peaking at the end of the year. We should be pretty solid come districts.”

The Rams open their season Thursday against Hollidaysburg, then compete in the 35-team Penn Cambria Tournament on Saturday.

State College finished last season with a strong showing in the district tournament, where it placed fifth in the field and returns a number of wrestlers from that team.

Key to State College’s strong showing were third-place finishes by Adam Stover, Anthony Myers, Dalton Barger, Will Roeshot, Cory Dreibelbis, Pete Haffner and Jack Vandevort.

Stover, Vandervort and Haffner return this year, giving coach Ryan Cummins a reason to be optimistic.

“We have a nice core group returning from last year with match experience,” he said. “And our junior high program does a great job preparing the younger guys to make the transition to high school competition. We are anticipating a great season.”

Bald Eagle Area

Head coach: Steve Millward (eighth season)

Assistants: Ron Millward, Jade Thompson, Richard Taylor, Rodney Proctor.

Last year: 14-4

Key losses: Clint McCaslin, Mitchell Taylor, Colton Comly, Jarrett Shreffler, Ben Bytheway.

Key returnees: Coby Baney, Josh Fye, Clayton Giedroc, Chase Myers, Andrew Cohen, Garrett Rigg, Seth Koleno.

Key newcomers: Brock Hockenberry, Corey Thompson, Jake Crestani, Hunter Etters, Lucas Holderman, Dylan Kibe, Babe Basalla, Garrett Giedroc, Dylan Bisen, Bailey Irvin.


Head coach, years: Mike Maney (seventh season)

Assistant coaches: Matt Maris, Josh Fishburn, Evan Benner, Brandon Reish, Mike Lorenzo, Mark Maney

Last year: 13-5

Key losses: Luke Leathers, Trevor Corl, Zach Musser, Nate Rosenberger, Ben Putnam

Key returnees: Shafiq Blake, Aaron Witherite, Brock Port, Chase Gardner, Dillon Kephart, Brian McChesney, Sean Irvin, Tim Benford.

Key newcomers: Cole Stewart, Ryan Smith, Sam Horner, Lukas McClure. 

Penns Valley

Head coach: Joel Brinker (10th season)

Assistant coaches: Jeff Stover, John Myers, Mike Wise

Key losses: Corey Hazel, Jacob Confer, Andrew Hurd

Key returnees: Darren Yearick, Jason Ticknor, Jeremiah Manning, Curtis Decker, Isaac Bierly, Jared Hurd, Hunter Homan, Cory Rimmey, Allen Cain, Jared Bressler, Logan Johnson.

Key newcomers: Baylor Shunk, Carter Felker