Note: The Raiders beat Blairsville, 43-30, Wednesday night.
GREENVILLE — Going 4-1 at the Sheetz Kickoff Classic at Greenville High School last Saturday, the Brookville Raiders wrestling team got its season off to a good start.
The Raiders notched four blowout wins over Cochranton (55-21), Cambridge Springs (52-19), Shaker Heights, Ohio (53-27) and Waynesburg (48-27) while losing to defending PIAA Class AAA Dual Meet champion Canon McMillan, 39-17.
“I thought it was a good opening weekend for us,” said Raiders head coach Dave Klepfer, who won his 100th career match in the Raiders’ win over Shaker Heights. “You never feel quite ready, but I thought we performed well and the young kids worked hard on technique we worked on. We saw some promising things. I’m happy with the group overall. We made some mistakes and did some good things.”
The Raiders were back in action Wednesday with their home opener against Blairsville. Friday, they host Punxsutawney and next week, it’s a three-match week with at trip to Ridgway Tuesday, and home matches with Smethport next Thursday and Saturday.
At Greenville, Brookville got four 5-0 performances from freshman Gavin Park, sophomores Tate Ortz and Bryce Town, and senior Brodie Zacherl. Cole Clever and Brock Zacherl were 4-1.
It was a solid varsity debut for both Park and Town. Park notched two pins and two decisions along with a forfeit win at 106 pounds. Town won two decisions, one major decision and two pins.
“I liked what I saw from our young kids and what they brought to the mat,” Klepfer said. “Even when some of them were outclassed, they competed and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Brock Zacherl’s lone loss came to reigning Class AAA 145-pound champion and Virginia Tech recruit Solomon Chisko of Canon McMillan in a 3-2 decision at 145. Zacherl escaped to start the second period before being taken down by Chisko. Zacherl escaped again to tie things at 2-2 before Chisko, starting from the down position, escaped in the third period for the deciding point.
“It’s 1 or 2 points in difference every time Brock wrestles him and he just didn’t finish some shots,” Klepfer said. “That was the difference. He’s a hard kid to score on. Getting one leg isn’t easy and scoring on Chisko is even harder.”
Klepfer said that the last four meeting that Chisko and Zacherl have wrestled — all in off-season tournaments — have been 3-2 in favor of Chisko.
Canon McMillan won 9 of the 14 bouts, including two by forfeit, against the Raiders.
“I thought team-wide, it was our best wrestling of the day,” Klepfer said of the Raiders’ lone loss. “That’s good because you want to compete against the good teams. We didn’t win, but I thought we finished on a high note.”
Overall, the Raiders were 36-20 on bouts wrestled on the mat and they forfeited every bout at 195. The Raiders also lost returning state medalist Dalton Zimmerman to a knee injury in the third match of the day against Waynesburg. Klepfer said that Zimmerman will likely be back before Christmas as well as returning state medalist Zach Vroman, who recovering from an injury sustained prior to wrestling season.
Other Raiders records from the weekend: Cole Aaron (3-2), Zimmerman (2-1), Dane Clever (2-2), Dom Palmer (1-0), Jimmy Miller (2-3), Nate Nosker (2-3), Devin Joiner (2-1), Jacob St. Laurent (1-2) and Noah Cieleski (1-3).
Palmer, St. Laurent and Cieleski appeared in their first varisty matches.