CLARION — The Clarion Golden Eagles wrestling team enjoyed a successful day at the its annual Clarion Open, kicking off the season Sunday with success as two Golden Eagles were crowned champions and two others reached their respective championship bouts.
Greg Bulsak and Brookville’s Brock Zacherl added championship trophies to their mantles, with each winning hard-fought title bouts against highly-touted opponents.
Zacherl made his regular season return to the Clarion mat after missing most of last season due to injury, and the sixth-year senior made the most of his return with a 149-pound title.
Facing off against former DuBois state champion and North Carolina State recruit Ed Scott — the 43rd-ranked recruit on FloWrestling’s Top 100 — Zacherl took a 2-1 lead in the first period.
Scott reversed Zacherl and got a pair of back points in the second period to take a 5-2 lead, but Zacherl escaped before the end of the period to make it 5-3. With about 1:22 remaining in the third period, Zacherl took Scott down to take a 6-5 lead and rode him long enough to get the riding point. Scott escaped to tie the bout at 6-6 but Zacherl had the riding point in his pocket to take the win.
Bulsak avenged last year’s championship bout loss to Penn State’s Michael Beard by winning the rematch this year, taking an 11-8 decision.
Michael Bartolo and Ty Bagoly also reached the finals of their respective weight classes, earning runner-up spots at 165 and 285 pounds.
Bartolo started the morning with a win by fall over Peyton Hearn, pinning him in the third period, and then shutting out Drake Brenize with a 5-0 decision. He earned his spot in the finals with a 7-2 decision over Lock Haven’s Caleb Clymer, but fell to Penn State’s Joe Lee by major decision in the final.
Bagoly opened with a 7-3 decision over Derek Berberick (Shippensburg) and followed with a tight 2-0 decision over Penn State’s Keagan Carmenatty. He won his semifinal bout with West Virginia’s Michael Wolfgram 4-2 before falling in a close 2-0 decision to Bruce Graeber in the final.
Brookville’s Caleb Hetrick, also on the Golden Eagles’ roster, went 0-2 at 157 pounds.
Next up for the Golden Eagles is their home dual opener on Nov. 17 against George Mason starting at noon.
Last week, the Mid-America Conference announced its preseason rankings and the Golden Eagles were picked to finish seventh in the new 15-team setup behind Missouri, Old Dominion, Lock Haven, Rider, Central Michigan and Northern Illinois. Buffalo, Edinboro and Ohio made up the rest of the top 10 behind Clarion. Kent State, George Mason, Southern Illinois, Cleveland State and Bloomsburg rounded out the bottom five spots.
Individually, four wrestlers were recognized in the MAC rankings. Brookville’s Taylor Ortz shared the No. 5 spot at 141 while Zacherl is No. 2 at 149. Also getting ranked were Jake Gromacki, No. 6 at 125, and Bulsak, No. 2 at 197.