HYDE — While the five title-winners were grabbing most of the headlines in leading the Brookville Raiders wrestling team to a fifth straight point title at last weekend’s District 9 Class 2A Tournament at Clearfield High School, five others advanced with top-four finishes.
The 10 regional qualifiers for the Raiders headed to Sharon High School makes it five straight years and six out of seven tournaments where the Raiders qualified at least 10 for Sharon.
Last year, it was 11 and 2016 it was 12 making the trip to regionals.
In his first postseason, No. 3-seeded junior Cabe Park reached the 120-pound finals with a big semifinal upset of Ridgway’s No. 2 seed Kyle Bush, a returning state qualifier ranked 13th in the state. Park led 5-0 in that one before holding off Bush for a 5-4 win.
In the final against another state-ranked wrestler and top-seeded Anthony Glasl, Park battled the No. 5-ranked Rover to a 2-2 tie through two periods. Park let Glasl up to start the third, but it was Glasl that tacked on the deciding takedown for a 5-3 win.
“Glasl is a tough kid and I thought he was more aggressive than us in that match. He got to our legs quite a bit. We can’t give up points inside 10 seconds against state-ranked kids and that was the difference in the match,” Raiders head coach Dave Klepfer said. “But Cabe put together a nice tournament, beating (Redbank Valley’s Brayden) Altobelli in the quarters and then to knock off Bush who he lost to earlier in the year, it was a nice tournament to get to the finals. We were close but it didn’t work this time.”
A returning state qualifier, the No. 9-ranked Dontae Constable took a similar path as the No. 3 seed at 138, knocking off No. 2 seed David Kudrick of Coudersport, 5-4, to get top-seeded and No. 4 Lukas McClain of Ridgway in the finals.
There, it was McClain who notched a 5-2 win for the title.
“He works so hard and I really wanted him to get that title,” Klepfer said. “He’s right there with Kai (Sorbin) getting after it, but he didn’t get his offense going in the finals and that was the difference. They were more aggressive and got to our legs a couple times and it didn’t work out for us.”
All three Raiders who made the consolation finals — Elliot Park (see story with Caleb Hetrick), Cole LaBenne and Braden MacBeth — secured regional berths. Park was the only one to win to claim third place.
Seeded seventh at 160, LaBenne took a 3-11 record into the tournament and went 2-2 with both losses coming to No. 2 seed Aiden Hulings of Kane. In between, LaBenne earned his regional berth with third-period pins of No. 6 seed Cole Bressler of Curwensville and No. 4 seed Isaac Zimmerman of Johnsonburg.
The only Raider wrestler who’s qualified for regionals with less losses than LaBenne — Trey Constable who took a 1-3 record into the postseason at 103 in 2010 and finished third at districts to qualify for regionals.
“Cole comes in at 3-11 and there was nobody other than us who gave him a chance to get out,” Klepfer said. “Again, you start talking about the schedule we put up, it’s easy to get losses with that. It took him half the year anyway with his weight loss plan and injuries, so he’s kind of starting to hit his stride. It took him awhile to get going and he can wrestle when he wants to wrestle.”
MacBeth was the No. 2 seed at 170, but was knocked into the consolation bracket with a 6-1 semifinal loss to eventual champion and No. 3 seed Eric Johnson of Brockway. MacBeth, who dropped to 1-2 vs. Johnson this year, split his consolation bracket bouts to finish 3-2, losing to Ridgway’s Damon Kelley 8-1 in the third-place bout.
“I thought the difference there was that (Johnson) came to wrestle,” Klepfer said of the eventual 170-pound champion. “From very first whistle he was in our face and getting to our legs … Credit to Johnson, he was ready and a lot of the Brockway guys were ready. He got us in the third one this year.”
The four other Raiders wrestlers were Cayden Walter (1-2 at 106, two one-point losses), Parker Fleming (1-2 at 113), Wyatt Kulik (1-2 at 132) and Jacob Cable (2-2 at 152). Walter and Cable were one win shy of a top-four regional finish.