ALTOONA — To say the DuBois wrestling team has experienced a roller-coaster type season might be an understatement.
The Beavers entered the year with some lofty goals — both at the team and individual — but the season hasn’t quite lived up to those expectations due large part to some unexpected bumps in the road.
DuBois was still able to push 10 wrestlers through to the Class AAA Northwest Regional Tournament. However, that number dropped to nine before the action even started in Altoona as freshman District 4/9 champ Chandler Ho (27-6) was a late scratch due to an injury.
That didn’t stop the Beavers from putting together a solid weekend, one that saw Ed Scott (126) and Kolby Ho (145) capture regional crowns to give DuBois two state qualifiers. A trio of other Beavers — seniors Matt Starr and Izsak Kerner and junior Dalton Woodrow — nearly joined their teammates in Hershey. Starr placed fourth at heavyweight to fall one win shy. Kerner and Woodrow, a returning state qualifier, both came up two wins shy of punching their tickets to Hershey.
Senior Austin Fairman (152, 9-13) and junior Eric Schneider (182, 15-19) each went 1-2 on the weekend, while sophomores Lance Henninger (170, 15-16) and Alex O’Harrah (220, 19-13) both were 0-2.
Scott captures second regional title
Scott (33-2) put together a strong weekend — one that featured three pins in four victories — to join a select group of DuBois wrestlers who have won two regional titles.
That group includes Duane Fossler, Garrett Bontempo, Nick Stoltz, Landon Hanna and Tom Sleigh. And, Scott has joined that group in just two years of varsity action.
The Beaver pinned his way to the 126-pound finals, starting with a fall in 3:23 against Mifflin County’s Joey Taptich in the first round. Scott then notched first period falls against Warren’s Nate Anderson (1:21) and Philipsburg-Osceola freshman Hunter Weitoish (1:22), the D-6 champ.
The win versus Weitoish set up a rematch with Shikellamy’s Cade Balestrini, who Scott beat 5-1 in last week’s District 4/9 finals. Balestrini (32-5), a returning state qualifier himself, took a 2-1 lead into the third period on the strength of a second period reversal.
However, Scott put together a big third period to land on top the podium again in Altoona. Scott escaped from the bottom position just four second into the period, then scored a takedown with 43 seconds to go. Leading 4-2, the Beaver sealed his title with three late nearfall points to win 7-2.
Ho wins first regional crown
Like Scott, Ho (32-4), racked up three huge bonus point wins on his way to the 145-pound finals. He pinned Meadville’s Trent Tidball in 5:17 in the first round before scoring a 21-6 technical fall against Bellefonte’s Ethan Richner in 6:00. Ho poured on the points again in a 22-8 semifinal victory against Central Mountain’s Logan Long.
That put Ho into the finals against Bald Eagle Area senior Garrett Rigg (32-4), the returning regional champ at 126. Ho was second at 132 a year ago but this time around rook that extra step up the podium.
He grabbed a 2-1 lead after one period and controlled the bout from there. Ho added to his lead with a second-period escape and takedown to go up 5-1 before tacking on two takedowns in the final minute in the third for a 9-4 victory that gave him his first regional title.
Starr, Kerner end careers on high note
Kerner and Starr entered regionals having placed third and fourth, respectively, at districts, but the senior duo arguably wrestled some of their best matches of the year in Altoona.
Kerner made a huge splash Friday with a pair of wins to reach the semifinals at 195.
He opened his weekend with a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime win against District 10 champ Dorian Crosby of Cathedral Prep. Kerner used a reversal late in the second 30-second double-overtime period to pull out the victory.
Kerner then pinned Central Mountain junior Tanner Riggle (D-6 3rd place, 19-17) in 1:13 in Friday’s quarterfinals before being pinned by State College junior Cole Urbas (26-1) in 3:52 in Saturday’s semifinals. Urbas went on to edge Clearfield’s Luke McGonigal, 1-0, for the 195-pound title.
The Beaver then saw his season, and career, come to an end with a tough 3-2 loss in a rematch with Crosby in the consolation semifinals. Crosby went on to place third to make states.
As for Starr, he went 1-1 on Friday — besting McDowell’s Mark Chambers, 3-0, before being pinned in the quarterfinals by Altoona’s Nate Simmers in 5:19.
Starr rebounded with three straight wins in the heavyweight consy bracket to give himself a chance to wrestle for a trip to states. That consy run saw him pin Erie’s Matthew Hoovler in 2:46, beat D-4/9 champ Alexander Neal of Punxsutawney, 9-4, and then Central Mountain’s Jacob Edwards, 3-2, in the consolation semifinals.
However, the senior ran into Simmers again in the third-place match, and the Mountain Lion pinned Starr for a second time on the weekend (2:07) to advance to states.
Woodrow falls short of third states trip
Woodrow, a returning regional runner-up at 120, went 2-0 Friday to reach the semifinals in his search for a third trip to states.
He pinned Warren’s Donovan Fiscus (9-19) in 1;16 in his opening bout, then blanked Bald Eagle Area’s Lucas Holderman (21-14) 5-0 in the quarterfinals.
However, the Beaver junior suffered two heartbreaking losses on Saturday to his season come to end.
McDowell junior Jeffrey Boyd (32-2) handed Woodrow the first of those setbacks, as the Trojan made a second-period reversal hold up in a 2-1 semifinal victory. Woodrow scored a late escape in the third but was then held off by Boyd, who went on to win the 132-pound regional title.
The loss dropped Woodrow in the consy bracket, where he squared off against D-10 runner-up Andrew Stark of Cathedral Prep. The duo went to overtime tied at 2-2, and it was Stark who came up with a huge five-point move in OT to pull out a 7-2 victory. Stark (32-11) went on to place third to earn a trip to Hershey.