BROOKVILLE — Waiting until the highly anticipated heavyweight matchup at the end of the night, the Brookville Raiders finally earned the split decision on the mat against visiting Curwensville Tuesday night.
Sure, the end-result was not in question as the Golden Tide forfeited five weights to the Raiders’ one in another express special won 51-20 by the Raiders, but on the mat it was an even 4-4 split.
Recently ranked No. 3 in the first www.papowerwrestling Class AA dual meet state rankings, the now 10-1 Raiders will try to shake off a lackluster performance as they head to Brockway Thursday night.
“We have a tough Brockway team in two nights and if we bring that performance, things won’t be so good to us,” Brookville head coach Dave Klepfer warned. “You split matches, luckily we gathered some forfeits. It was that type of night.”
At heavyweight, it was the Raiders’ No. 9 Colby Whitehill taking on No. 10 Steve McClure of Curwensville. And as it turned out, those rankings had it right as Whitehill rode out McClure the whole second period, escaped early in the third and took down McClure on a late shot counter to win 3-0.
Whitehill avenged a 3-2 loss to McClure in last year’s district quarterfinals and dealt the Tide senior his first loss of the year.
“We watched some film and knew he’d be attacking at the ankles and low, so we tried to control the ties for the most part and obviously the rideout was big,” Klepfer said. “Colby is improving quite a bit on top and that’s probably where he needed it the most. You ride a guy out, that’s big and like putting a point on the board. That was the turning point of the match, the second-period rideout, because I knew we were getting out in the third. Then it was a matter of keeping the heat on him and protecting our legs and I think we did a pretty good job with that.”
Off the Mat Wrestling Rankings had McClure at No. 4 and Whitehill at No. 9 going into the bout with no other D9 heavyweights in sight, so it’ll likely be a finals rematch at districts.
“He’s def not going to sneak up on anyone, but that’s OK, I’d put his training regimen up against just about any heavyweight in the state and I know we put the work in,” Klepfer said of the now 16-2 Whitehill. “I’m anxious to see how the rest of the season unfolds for him.”
The only other mat winners for the Raiders came in first-period pins from Dontae Constable at 138 pounds, Braden MacBeth at 170 and Elliot Park at 182.
“Elliot got into the lineup tonight and made the most of his opportunity and Braden continues to have a nice season for us and Dontae you know what you’re going to get. He comes every night ready to go and it was nice to see him get a win,” Klepfer said of his mat winners.
From there, it was forfeit wins at 106, 113, 160, 195 and 220 for the Raiders, who gave up six points at 120 pounds. But the Tide (3-5) won three decisions and a technical fall at 120, 126, 132 and 152.
“You have to credit Curwensville,” Klepfer said. “They came out to wrestle tonight. I felt we let a couple get away from us and as I just told the team, it’s disappointing because I watched the work that we put into it. I know they work hard at it and want to win, but I told them you just have to take a win when it’s there staring right at you and we didn’t do that in a couple matches. We lost to kids I felt we had a good chance to beat.”
At 126, the Tide’s state-ranked 120-pounder Blake Passarelli bumped up a weight and beat the Raiders’ Kai Sorbin, 10-5. Passarelli was No. 14 at 120 while Sorbin was No 22 as per papowerwrestling.com.
Passarelli tied the bout at 5-5 with an escape early in the third period, then took Sorbin down. Trying to roll out of trouble, Sorbin wound up giving up three backpoints and Passarelli had his five-point win.
“(Passarelli) is a tough kid and two-time state qualifier but it was one of those matches where I felt we didn’t want it,” Klepfer said. “It was 5-5 with a 1:10 or so to go and our feet weren’t moving and he took us down. That’s a sign of being tired or something else. I don’t know. I can’t pinpoint it.”
Zach Holland followed with a 5-0 decision over the Raiders’ Wyatt Kulick at 132 to actually tie the match at 12-12. Then two straight wins at 145 and 152 — Jake McCracken’s 6-2 win over Jacob Cable at 145 and Cole Bressler’s 16-0 technical fall over Wyatt Griffin at 152 — gave the Tide another short-lived lead at 20-18.
The Raiders finished it off with six straight wins with three forfeits, two pins and Whitehill’s highlight win over McClure to set the final.
NOTES: The Raiders host St. Marys next Tuesday after visiting Brockway Thursday. … Curwensville also wrestles Thursday at Glendale … Xavier Molnar picked up win No. 93 with his forfeit win at 220. … Other ranked wrestlers in the latest www.papowerwrestling rankings from the Raiders: Constable No. 16 at 138, Caleb Hetrick No. 4 at 152, Molnar No. 5 at 195 and Tyler Cook No. 7 at 220.