BROCKWAY — Coming off a strong showing at the Hickory Invite over the weekend, the Ridgway wrestling team built on that success with a convincing 51-21 win over Brockway Tuesday night in the dual-meet opener for both schools.
While Ridgway was the team that had a tournament under its belt, it was an inexperienced but scrappy Brockway squad that came out the aggressors in a lot of bouts. The Rovers scored the opening points in half the bouts wrestled against the more seasoned Elkers, but Ridgway’s experience won out in a vast majority of those contests.
The end result was the lopsided final, as Ridgway racked up seven falls and a forfeit en route to winning nine of the 13 weights contested.
Elkers Luke Tomaski (126), Lukas McClain (138), Logen McClain (145), Damon Kelly (152), Jonathan Francis (160) and Colton McClain (285) all notched falls. Tomaski (sophomore) and Kelly (freshman) each trailed before securing their pins. Kelly and fellow freshman Robert Briggs (170) each captured their first varsity wins by way of fall on the night.
“We were flat to start every match it seemed like for some reason,” said Ridgway coach David Fordoski. “It seemed like we were giving up a lot of early takedowns, but they battled back. We were coming off the tournament, and this being our first dual — probably a lot of things you can say — but that comes with experience and being up and ready to go.
You wrestle a tournament like we did over the weekend, you have to just kind of go out and keep wrestling. You get to these dual meets, you have to be intense as soon the whistle blows. That’s something easy to work on, but the kids all showed a lot of heart coming back. A couple of matches really close, like Luke Tomaski and Damon Kelly. They found a way to catch a kid and put them on their back for the pin, and things like that are big in a dual meet.
“I’ll take seven pins any day of the week. I love pins and it makes things a lot easier, and it’s fun for fans to watch.”
The night started at 113, where there was no match before Ridgway’s Kyle Bush and Rover Anthony Glasl hit the mat at 120.
Glasl, a freshman, scored the opening takedown agains the Elker junior, only to see Bush escape before the end of the period to make it 2-1.
Glasl then chose bottom in the second period but never got out. Bush turned the Rover for two backpoints before riding him out to take a 3-2 lead into the third period.
Bush went bottom in the third and worked free for an escape before scoring a takedown with 1:23 remaining. Bush then rode out Glasl for the 6-2 victory.
Brockway also scored the opening points at 126 when freshman Evan Grech took down Tomaski in the opening period and led 2-0 after the opening two minutes.
Tomaski chose bottom in the second and battled to reverse the Rover before securing a fall in 3:05 to put the Elkers up 9-0.
The best matchup of the night that happened at 132, as Ridgway junior Bryce Barclay, a returning regional qualifier, took on Rover sophomore Tino Inzana.
Like his two teammates before him, Inzana notched the opening takedown, as he tripped up the Elker after securing a single leg with 11 seconds left on the first-period clock.
Inzana kept the pressure on Barclay in the second period as he escaped, then took down the Elker on the edge of the mat for a 5-0 lead. The Rover appeared to tire some near the end off the period, and Barclay took advantage and earned an escape to trail 5-1.
Barclay started down in the third and finally worked free for an escape 46 seconds in. The Elker tried to keep the pressure on and eventually earned a stalling point late in the third.
Needing a a takedown to tie the score, Barclay went took a wild shot and was caught by Inzana, who pancaked the Elker for a five-point move in the closing seconds to come away with a 10-3 victory.
Ridgway responded to Inzana’s victory in a big way, recording five straight pins from 138-170 to turn a six-point advantage (9-3) into a commanding 39-3 lead.
The McClain twins — Lukas and Logen— got the runs of pin started. Lukas built a 7-0 lead early in the second period before pinning Matt Holt in 2:36, while Logen flattened Linkin Nichols in 1:34.
Kelly followed with his first career pin in a wild win over Rover freshman Andrew Hickman at 152.
Hickman opened the scoring with a takedown early in the first period. Kelly escaped with 45 seconds left in the period, then put Hickman on his back for a five-point move to lead 6-2 after one period.
Kelly chose bottom in the second and escaped, only to see Hickman hit four-point move to get back into the match at 7-6. The Elker fought off his back and earned an escape to lead 8-6 after two periods.
Hickman went bottom in the third and quickly reversed Kelly to his back. The Rover couldn’t finish off the fall but found himself on top, 10-8. However, Kelly then returned to the favor by reversing the Rover to his back and was able to secure the fall in 4:49.
Francis then pinned Rover Eric Johnson just 15 seconds into the second period to put Ridgway up 33-3. Francis 7-0 at the time of his fall.
Briggs capped the Elkers’ run of falls when he flattened Rover senior newcomer Jacob Allenbaugh in 3:50 for his first win. Briggs took a 4-0 lead into the second period and had added an escape and takedown before finishing off Allenbaugh.
Brockway then found its way back onto the scoreboard with a pair of forfeits, with Garrett McClintick receiving one at 182 and Erik Botwright the other at 195. The win was the first for Botwright, another senior newcomer for Brockway.
The Rovers made it three wins in a row at 220 when senior Mark Latuska pinned Hunter Kos in 1:16. Elker Colton McClain, a returning state qualifier, returned the favor at heavyweight as he decked Justin Smith in 54 seconds.
Ridgway freshman Gary Emerick closed out the match by receiving a forfeit at 106.
“Overall, Ridgway came out and did what they needed to do. They wrestled a good, solid dual meet,” said Brockway coach Eric Grecco. “I would have liked to see some of our younger, less experienced guys maybe fight a little harder overall. But, I think it was an ok team effort for our first dual meet. I know there was a lot of nerves and credit to Ridgway for wrestling a good dual meet.
“I was pleased with how we wrestled on our feet from the neutral position, but we need gain some confidence and have some better ability from bottom position and get off bottom and score more points from top and neutral positions.
“That was a really good win for Tino Inzana. He lost a lot of close matches last year to quality kids like that, so it was good to kind of get over that hump here in his sophomore year and be able to beat a regional qualifier in Barclay.
“I also was proud of the way Mark wrestled to get the pin there against a pretty decent kid, and glad we bumped Anthony Glasl up to wrestle Bush. That was a good first match for him being a freshman and Bush being a junior. He competed well and proud of way he wrestled.
Both teams are back in action this weekend. Ridgway hosts its Elker Duals on Saturday, while Brockway heads to the Redbank Valley Tournament the same day.