RIDGWAY — After winning four of the first six bouts of their match at Ridgway last Thursday, the Redbank Valley Bulldogs wrestlers had an early 22-9 lead.
However, that was all the Bulldogs could muster as the host Elkers won the final eight bouts, four of them by pins and two via forfeit, and ran away with a 48-22 win.
The Elkers’ decisive run featured forfeit wins by Elkers Bryce Barclay (132) and Ben Briggs (138), pins from Lukas McClain (145), Logen McClain (152) and Damon Kelly (170) and a win by disqualification by Robert Briggs. That victory by Briggs also saw the Bulldogs lose three points due to the flagrant misconduct nature of the DQ.
Ridgway also got a huge pin from freshman heavyweight Jake Kunselman in the second bout of the night. Kunselman (6-11), who was losing 5-0 after one period, took Bulldogs Aiden Gardner (13-6) straight down to his back and pinned him 26 seconds into the second period to breathe some life into the Elkers before their comeback.
Things opened well for the Bulldogs, as they used a couple of big early wins to jump out on top.
Redbank bumped Logan Minich up a weight to start the match, and the senior Bulldog put together a dominant showing against Hunter Kos at 220. Minich racked up five takedowns, a reversal and a set of backpoints on his way to a 16-5 major decision.
Gardner then bumped up to heavyweight to take on Kunselman and hit a quick five-point move to open the match. However, Kunselman fought off his back, then hit a throw early in the second to pin Gardner.
The Bulldogs promptly grabbed the momentum back with a pair of six-point wins. Trenten Rupp won by forfeit at 106, while teammate Mason Songer pinned Gary Emerick with five seconds left in their bout at 113. Songer had built a commanding 16-4 lead before securing the extra team point in the final seconds.
The best match of the night followed at 120, as Ridgway’s Kyle Bush and Redbank’s Brayden Altobelli squared off.
Bush opened the scoring with a first-period takedown, but Altobelli promptly reversed the Elker to his back for a five-point move. The Bulldog appeared close to recording a huge fall for his team, but Bush managed to avoid the pin and trailed 5-2 after one period.
Bush battled back into the bout in the second period. pulling even with an escape from the bottom and a takedown on the edge of the mat. He regained the lead with three backpoints on a tilt with 40 seconds left in the period.
The Elker made that 8-5 hold up as the pair battled on their feet for the entire third period.
Hunter Martz capped the strong start for the Bulldogs by pinning Luke Tomaski in 3:43 at 126 to put Redbank up 22-9.
That’s when things unraveled for the Bulldogs. The forfeit wins by Barclay and Ben Briggs quickly made it a one-point match (22-21), while the pins by the McClain twins put Ridgway up for good at 33-22.
Lukas McClain pinned Caleb Snyder in 3:48 at 145, while Logen McClain decked Coltin Bartley in 1:37 at 152. Teammate Jake Wickett followed with an 8-1 win over Noah Anderson, while Kelly flattened Bryan Layton in 4:25 at 170 to seal the Ridgway victory. Kelly was up 14-4 at the time of the fall.
The match between Robert Briggs and Bulldogs freshman Hudson Martz followed at 182. Briggs built a 6-1 lead — scoring a takedown in each of the first two periods and a reversal in the third — before Hudson was hit with three penalty point calls in the final 40 seconds. The third called resulted in the flagrant misconduct disqualification, which by rule means Martz must miss Redbank’s next match.
Redbank’s Kobe Bonanno then ended the night with a 2-0 win over Max Ehrensberger, scoring the winning points on a takedown with 1:26 left in the third period.