DuBOIS — Looking to reverse their regular-season matchup at home with Ridgway back on Jan. 18, the Redbank Valley Bulldogs wrestlers sliced into the margin but it wasn’t enough to get out of the quarterfinals at last Saturday’s D9 Class AA Duals.
The rematch wound up going 37-26 for the Elkers, who beat the Bulldogs the first time around, 48-22.
It wasn’t clinched until the final bout, actually, as the Bulldogs needed Caleb Snyder to pin state-ranked Lukas McClain at 145 pounds to win the match.
Ridgway could’ve sent out McClain to get a forfeit at 138, but elected to go with a “no match” and give the Bulldogs a small chance. McClain wound up pinning Snyder in 2:59.
Now at 8-6, the Bulldogs are now off until visiting Clarion Feb. 13. They host Cranberry Feb. 15 to close the regular season.
Ridgway went on and lost 40-30 to No. 2 seed Brockway in the semifinals and then the Rovers were routed by top-seeded Brookville, which won its fifth straight D9 Class 2A title with a 51-18 rout of the Rovers in the final.
Brockway wrestled at District 4 runner-up Muncy Monday with a chance to get to Hershey for Thursday’s first round, but were dealt another 51-18 lopsided loss.
Brookville opens with the same foe as last year in the first round, eventual runner-up Northern Lebanon, Thursday in Hershey at the Giant Center starting at 4 p.m.
Bulldogs head coach Mike Kundick knew his team was the underdog, but it wasn’t enough to not go to DuBois Area High School and try to get some valuable postseason inexperience.
“Some of the kids wrestled good enough to win that match,” Kundick said. “We just came up a little bit short. It was a one-match swing. A couple don’t get pinned and we’re still in there. We did better this time, but still not good enough. It was great experience for the freshmen. The team really came together and got into it.
“Right now, the two duals (left on the schedule) are fine and we just have to get the kids ready for districts. That’s all that matters.”
The District 9 Class 2A individual tournament is Feb. 23-24 in Clearfield.
Ridgway’s eight wins sandwiched the Bulldogs’ five wins. The Elkers jumped out to a 21-0 lead after the first five bouts. Logen McClain pinned the Bulldog’s Coltin McClain at 152 while Jacob Wicket beat Bryan Layton, 13-7, at 160. Damon Kelly pinned Hudson Martz early in the third period at 170 before the Bulldogs’ forfeited to Robert Briggs at 182.
The Bulldogs had five wins in a row from 195 through 113. Kobe Bonanno beat Max Ehrensberger for the second time with a 9-5 decision to get the Bulldogs on the board at 195. Logan Minich bumped up as well to 220 and pinned Hunter Kos in the second period.
The Bulldogs got to within 21-15 with another pin from heavyweight Aiden Gardner, reversing his loss by pin to Kunselmen from their earlier meeting.
After Trenten Rupp got a forfeit win at 106, their last win on the mat came at 113 where Mason Songer scored a 21-4 technical fall.
Now with the Bulldogs leading 26-21, Brayden Altobelli lost for the second time to state-ranked Kyle Bush at 120. After losing 8-5 in their first meeting, Bush blanked Altobelli 12-0 in the rematch.
Giving up around 12 pounds to the Elkers’ Luke Tomaski at 126, Ethan Wiant lost a 6-5 decision and Ridgway led for good at 28-26.
“We’re just giving up too much weight at 126 and we were in trouble with Barclay and the McClains,” Kundick said.
Bryce Barclay beat Hunter Martz, 11-4, at 132, setting up the end sequence that saw the Elkers take a small risk by bumping Lukas McClain up a weight and not trade forfeits in the final two bouts.
“It was a major risk, because you never know what could happen with an injury,” Kundick said. “But they wanted to wrestle and that’s their choice. I wouldn’t have done that.”
In last Friday’s match:
Redbank Valley 54,
In a match with nine pins and five forfeits, the host Bulldogs won an express special over the visiting Tigers.
The Bulldogs had seven of the nine pins with Ethan Wiant, Hunter Martz, Hudson Martz, Logan Minich, Aiden Gardner and Mason Songer all decking their foes in the first period.
Sharon was actually leading 24-18 after seven bouts in a match that started at 120, getting two forfeits and both of their pins during the first half of the match.
But Bryan Layton’s pin with 14 seconds left in the second period at 160 started a stretch where the Bulldogs finished off the match with six wins in seven bouts.