While most people associate tip-off basketball tournaments with the opening weekend of the high school winter sports season, a vast majority of the wrestling teams in the Tri-County Area were also in action over the weekend and put together a strong showing at various tournaments around the state.
DuBois crowned two individual champs at the Eastern Area Invitational at Gateway High School, while Brookville went 5-0 at the Sheetz Kickoff Classic dual-meet tournament in Greenville.
Closer to home, St. Marys crowned seven champs while winning the team crown at its annual kickoff-tournament, while Clearfield had one champ and five placewinners at the Top Hat Tournament in Williamsport.
Up in Hickory, Redbank Valley and Ridgway placed second and fourth, respectively, in the team standings. Redbank placed 10 wrestlers in the Top 8, while Ridgway crowned one champ and had eight placewinners.
DuBois’ weekend in Pittsburgh was highlighted by freshman Ed Scott and junior Kolby Ho capturing individual titles at 120 and 132, respectively.
Scott notched a 13-4 major decision over Jefferson-Morgan’s Kellen Lynch in the finals, while Ho upended North Allegheny’s Luke Landefeld, 11-5, in their championship bout. Landefeld is a two-time state qualifier.
Joining Scott and Ho as placewinners on the weekend were teammates Brock Adams, Trenton Donahue, Carson Hanna and Dave Henninger. Donahue (106), Adams (145) and Hanna (160) each placed third in their respective weight classes, while Henninger was fifth at 195.
DuBois (160.5 points) placed fourth in the team standings behind Kiski Area (298), North Allegheny (216.5) and Altoona (172).
“I was extremely pleased with our intensity and effort,” said DuBois coach Luke Bundy. “All of our guys were well conditioned and were attacking and looking to score points. I think was a great start to our season and look forward to see our guys only get better.”
As for Brookville, it was another 5-0 finish for the Raiders in Greenville on Saturday.
The Raiders, ranked No. 2 in the state by papowerwrestling.com, ran the table for the third straight time at Greenville High School and improved to 28-2 in six appearances. Three wins were noteworthy as the Raiders beat Class AAA Waynesburg (44-23) and Seneca Valley (43-21) of the WPIAL along with a 41-22 win over District 10 Class AA Harbor Creek.
Unranked Harbor Creek knocked off Greenville, ranked No. 10, Saturday as well, making the Raiders’ win more meaningful. In their other matchups, the Raiders blanked Seneca (82-0) and routed Meadville (81-15).
Four of the Raiders’ returning state qualifiers went 5-0 — Gavin Park, Caleb Hetrick, Noah Cieleski and Tyler Cook. Lightweights Parker Fleming, Cabe Park and Keelan Kunselman were 4-1, as was Dontae Constable. Clayton Peace, Xavier Molnar and Tanner LaBenne were 3-2.
The Raiders, 29-0 last year, ran their dual meet winning streak to 34 going into Tuesday’s match at Clarion.
St. Marys has ruled its own tournament since establishing it a couple years back, and this year was no different as the Dutchmen bested Chartiers Valley, 106-86, in the team race.
The Dutch got individual titles from Tylor Herzing (106), Tyler Dilley (120), Hayden Tettis (126), Alec Bittler (138), Cameron Resch (145), Garret Cook (152) and Mitchell Cashmer (195).
Dutchmen Zac Becker (170) and Christian Steffan (220) each made their respective finals before falling, while newcomer Joe Kucenski placed third at heavyweight. Gregory Tettis added a fifth-place finish at 113.
At the Top Hat Tournament, Luke McGonigal claimed the 182-pound title Saturday, scoring a 3-2 win over Fort LeBoeuf’s Julian Gorring in the finals.
Teammates Matt Ryan (126) and Hunter Bumbarger (220) landed in the third-place bout at their respective weights, with Bumbarger ending his weekend with a victory to take third. Hunter Wright was sixth at 160, and Avery Gisewhite placed seventh at 285.
Clearfield was 14th in the 22-team tournament with 82 points. Central Mountain won the team title with 174 to easily outdistance runner-up Line Mountain (145).
Over in Hickory, the area’s lone individual championship came courtesy of Ridgway heavyweight Colton McClain, who went 4-0 with three pins.
The Elker’s closest match was a 4-2 semifinal decision over Redbank’s Pat Crawford, who went to finish third. McClain then pinned North East’s Jeffrey Kraemer in the finals in 3:54.
McClain was joined in the finals by teammate Bryce Barclay, who went 3-1 at 126. Barclay dropped a tight 1-0 decision to Mars’ Alex Hornfeck in the finals.
Elker Kyle Bush finished third at 113, while Lukas McClain (138) and Logen McClain (145) each placed fourth. Jonathan Francis (160) and Hunter Kos (220) were each sixth, with Gary Emerick (7th, 106) rounding out Ridgway’s placewinners.
Barclay and Billy Urmann were named to the tournament’s All-Academic Team for having the highest GPA in their respective weight classes.
“This was a good first tournament for us,” said Ridgway coach David Fordoski. “The kids showed a lot of heart and determination throughout the entire tournament. We certainly were not wrestling at our best this weekend, but that is expected with being our first competition of the season.
“Colton McClain really looked good every match that he wrestled on his way to his first varsity tournament title. Bryce Barclay also had a great tournament with his runner up finish.
“It is a long season so there is a lot of room for improvement, and I know our kids will be up for the challenge.”
As for Redbank, the Bulldogs had one finalist in Logan Minich — who made a strong run to the title match at 182. Minich went 3-1 and reached the finals by pinning returning state qualifier Nick McClimans of Sharon in 4:00 in the semifinals. Minich then lost by fall in the finals to Jamestown’s Khalil Messai in 4:09.
Redbank had a pair of third-place finishers in Ethan Wiant (10-6) and Crawford (285), while Brayden Altobelli (113), Curtis Mohney (170) and Scott Toth (220) each place fourth. Hunter Martz (120) and Dawson Wilson (138) collected fifth-place finishes, with John Tibbs coming in seventh at 160 and Travis Crawford eighth at 152.
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Sports writers Rich Rhoades contributed to this story.