WARREN — Coming off a trip to last weekend’s Fred Bell Memorial Tournament in Grove City and starting a busy week, the Redbank Valley Bulldogs wrestlers headed north Tuesday night to take on Warren.
There, the Dragons had the Bulldogs down 27-9 with six bouts remaining, but the visitors stormed back and won all six to grab a hard-earned 40-27 come-from behind win.
The clincher came at 113 when Mason Songer pinned Ryan Madigan in 28 seconds at 113 pounds to put the Bulldogs up 10 points with one bout remaining.
The final bout of the match was an encouraging one for the Bulldogs, who got sophomore Ethan Wiant back in the lineup for the first time after returning from a preseason injury. Wiant, who won over 30 bouts as a freshman, won a 6-1 decision over Avery Smith at 120 pounds.
Kobe Bonanno got the Bulldogs’ run started at 195 when he majored Mabrukhe Tagba, 11-2. Logan Minich pinned Thomas Lucks in 2:46 at 220 and Aiden Gardner got the Bulldogs within 27-25 with his first-period pin of Matt Ristau at heavyweight.
The Dragons forfeited to Trenten Rupp at 106 to give the Bulldogs the lead for good at 31-27, setting up the final two bouts of the night.
Earlier, the Bulldogs won the first two bouts of the match as Brayden Altobelli picked up where he left off over the weekend with a 15-2 major decision over Alex Anderson at 126 and Hunter Martz won a 19-4 technical fall over Donovan Fiscus at 132.
But the Dragons reeled off six straight wins from 138 to 182, two of them forfeits, and led 27-9 before the Bulldogs’ big run.
The Bulldogs (7-5) host Sharon Friday night before wrestling in the District 9 Class AA Duals Saturday in DuBois.
In last weekend’s trip to Grove City, the Bulldogs got Altobelli to the 120-pound finals where he wound up placing second. Hunter Martz was fifth at 126.
In the team standings, the Bulldogs were 17th in the 38-team tournament featuring mostly teams from District 10. As it turned out, D9’s Kane won the team title, edging McGuffey of the WPIAL, 134-126.5.
“I think the field was stronger this year than in the past, a lot of state-ranked kids and a lot of them got beat,” Bulldogs head coach Mike Kundick said. “Some of the freshmen really started picking it up and that’s what they need to do. … It’s hard for a freshman to come in and wrestle varsity and the bigger they are, the harder it is. They seem to be picking things up. I was pleased with who won some matches.”
Altobelli had an impressive run at 120. Seeded third, Altobelli started with two first-period before outgunning Franklin’s Gage Shoemaker 12-9 in the quarterfinals.
Then against returning placewinner Blake Passerelli of Curwensville in the semifinals, Altobelli hammered out a 2-1 win in a bout with no takedowns. Altobelli escaped in the second period and received a point when Passerelli was docked for pulling Altobelli off the mat.
Up 2-0 in the third, Altobelli gave up an escape for the final margin.
“Neither guy gave up anything,” Kundick said. “It was a very technical match.”
Then in the finals, General McLane freshman Matt Leehan wound up beating Altobelli 10-7.
“Brayden just wrestled a great, solid tournament,” Kundick said. “It wound up being the No. 3 and 4 seeds meeting in the final with the Leehan kid and he had that big win against Passerelli in the semifinals.”
Martz, who had wrestled mostly at 132 going into the weekend, looked strong at the weight Kundick wants him to wrestle at when the postseason gets here.
He was a busy body at Grove City. After a second-period pin in his opener, he lost a 7-6 decision to Glendale’s Tristan Rutter in the second round.
Then in the consolations, Martz reeled off four straight wins — a pin, two majors and one decision — to get into the consolation semifinals where he lost 7-5 to McGuffey’s Jett Pattison.
Dropping into the fifth-place bout, Martz edged Union City’s Judah Gardner to finish the tournament with a 6-2 record.
“Hunter had a fantastic weekend and I can’t say enough about how well he wrestled,” Kundick said. “All year, he’s sacrificed and wrestled at 132 this year while getting down to 128 and that’s hard to do. He’s done it and never said a word, wrestled some tough kids at 132 and that’s why his record is what it is.”
At 220, Aiden Gardner wound up 3-2, one win shy of a top-six finish. Trenten Rupp was also 3-2 at 106 pounds, but needed two more wins to get into the top six.
Logan Minich was 2-2 at 195, finishing two wins shy of a top-six. Mason Songer, Caleb Snyder and Hudson Martz were all 1-2 at 113, 138 and 170 respectively.
The Bulldogs didn’t enter a wrestler at 132, 160 and heavyweight.
Also for District 9:
— Kane’s Noah Blankenship placed sixth at 132, Alec English won the 152 title, Aiden Hulings was second at 160, Adam Sicher finished sixth at 170, Teddy Race was fourth at 182, Ty Stahli fifth at 195.
The Wolves, McGuffey, General McLane, Union City and Cambridge Springs made up the top five.
— The Tide’s Passerelli wound up third at 120 and Steve McClure was second at heavyweight.
— Port Allegany’s Jake Kallenborn won the 170 title, Isaac Smoker finished fifth at 145 and Justin Young was sixth at 182.
— Keystone’s Tyler VanTassel was second at 195.
— Clarion’s Tom Wurster wound up third at 220.
REDBANK VALLEY 40,
126: Brayden Altobelli (R) maj. dec. Alex Anderson (W), 15-2. (4-0).
132: Hunter Martz (R) tech. fall Donovan Fiscus (W), 19-4. (9-0).
138: John Frankhouser (W) won by forfeit. (9-6).
145: Zack Zinger (W) dec. Coltin Bartley (R), 8-3. (9-9).
152: Owen Balas (W) pinned Noah Anderson (R), 1:38. (9-15).
160: Jameson Douvlos (W) dec. Bryan Layton (R), 9-4. (9-18).
170: Liam Stevenson (W) dec. Hudson Martz (R), 7-0. (9-21).
182: Dominic Caprino (W) won by forfeit. (9-27).
195: Kobe Bonanno (R) maj. dec. Mabrukhe Tagba (W), 11-2. (13-27).
220: Logan Minich (R) pinned Thomas Lucks (W), 2:46. (19-27).
HWT: Aiden Gardner (R) pinned Matt Ristau (W), 1:21. (25-27).
106: Trenten Rupp (R) won by forfeit. (31-27).
113: Mason Songer (R) pinned Ryan Madigan (W), :28. (37-27).
120: Ethan Wiant (R) dec. Avery Smith (W), 6-1. (40-27).