BROOKVILLE — Serving as a tuneup for this week’s PIAA Class AA Dual Meet Championships, the Brookville Raiders wrestling team routed District 10’s Cambridge Springs on Senior Night Tuesday, taking 12 of 14 bouts in a 59-9 win.
Of the six senior wrestlers honored — Brodie Joiner is missing the season with a knee injury — five won their bouts and only hiked some impressive numbers since four of the six joined the program as freshmen four years ago.
506 wins and now a 100-9 dual meet record. Tyler Cook (116 wins), Caleb Hetrick (116) both had pins, Xavier Molnar (102) notched a big 1-0 decision in one of the feature matchups of the night and Dontae Constable (58) hammered out an overtime win over another ranked wrestler as well. And Kai Sorbin (93) edged closer to the century mark with a pin.
“They’ve put just an extra amount of work into the sport and I’m talking a lot about a lot of hours in the season and a lot out of the season, driving all over the countryside finding good competition,” said Raiders head coach Dave Klepfer. “It’s a big reason why our team this year and other years has the success we do because of kids willing to get to the next level by doing the hard stuff in the offseason when nobody’s looking. I’m just real proud of this group and I hope we can put together three or four wins this week and come out with some hardware. That’d be a good way to end their four-year career.”
The Raiders (22-2) open with the same team that knocked them into the losers’ bracket in the opener, District 3 third-place Northern Lebanon which went on to finish second to Reynolds. They square off Thursday at 4 p.m.
“It’s not going to be easy, but it never is down there,” said Klepfer, whose Raiders brought home hardware again after winning the title in 2016 with a fourth-place trophy. “They lost a couple studs (to graduation) and we lost a couple. We’re pretty dead-even. I’ve been looking at results the last couple days and it’s going to be a real tight one.
“We got pinned in a couple bouts last year and didn’t get bonus points where I though we would and that was the difference. And they kind of sneaked up on us this year. We’ll be ready from the first whistle and I’m pretty excited to get down there and get a hold of people.”
The Brookville-Northern Lebanon winner will likely face Southern Columbia, which wrestles Harbor Creek, in the quarterfinals on Friday at noon with the loser facing most likely Harbor Creek Friday in the consolation bracket at 8 a.m.
“If we get past Northern Lebanon, we’re looking at them and who knows after that,” Klepfer said. “There’s so much wrestling to do and it could come down to a simple thing like a coin flip. We’re not looking anywhere past the first match. We have to get busy from the first whistle and be ready to wrestle. The kind of sneaked up on everyone last year, third in district and second in state. We can’t let that happen again, so we’ll be ready.”
The Raiders were ready against the Blue Devils Tuesday night with eight of the 12 wins getting bonus points, including one forfeit, six pins and a technical fall. However, the two best bouts barely had any scoring.
In the opening bout of the night at 195 and just moments after being presented a plaque for his 100th win over the weekend at the District 9 Duals, Molnar locked up with Clay Verbanac. The two were ranked No. 7 and 3 respectively. Verbanac placed fourth at 195 last year with Molnar finishing sixth.
Molnar escaped in the second period 15 second in for the bout’s only point. He rode out Verbanac in the third for the 1-0 win.
“Verbanac placed ahead of him at states last year and that was a big win for him,” Klepfer said. “We’re getting to the point to where you have to ride for 30 seconds, a minute and sometimes two minutes. We’ve been stressing that a lot about being stingy while on top and likewise with Dontae.”
Constable, ranked No. 8 at 138, faced Tye Varndell, who was No. 4 at 126 and it took Constable to ride him out in the second 30-second tiebreaker period for a 2-1 win. Constable escaped in the second and Varndell escaped in the third, and Constable escaped in the first 30-second rideout before riding out Varndell to get the hard-earned win.
“He was a top-10 kid and I thought we were in deep a couple times and didn’t capitalize and against good kids like that, it usually comes back to haunt you,” Klepfer said. “But he stayed tough the whole match, did a good job and beat a real good kid there.”
Cook, Hetrick, Cabe Park and Braden MacBeth all pinned the opponent in less than a minute while Cole LaBenne pinned Jacob Jones halfway through the second period. Cayden Walter roughed up Anthony Stover in a 17-1 technical fall at 106 and Wyatt Kulik won a 6-3 decision over Colton Smith at 132. Elliot Park blanked Timothy Lucas 7-0 to set the final score at 182 pounds.
The Raiders’ lone losses came at 113 where Ayden Miller decisioned Parker Fleming, 9-3, and at 145 where Jacob Cable, up 2-0 early and being the aggressor against Eli Mosconi, pinned himself in 1:39, exposing his back while controlling Mosconi.
“The number one thing was to get through healthy, that’s the biggest thing,” Klepfer added. “To see these seniors end their career in this gym on high note, I thought we did a super job of that tonight.”
After this weekend’s PIAA Duals, the Raiders return to the mat next Tuesday in their dual meet finale at Philipsburg-Osceola.