BROOKVILLE — Going into another challenging Johnson Motors Ultimate Duals schedule Friday, the Brookville Raiders wrestling team — like many other teams around the area — weren’t a full strength considering illnesses and injuries.
So finishing 1-2 against three state-ranked teams was more than a good outing for head coach Dave Klepfer’s team.
The Raiders, ranked No. 11 in the latest papowerwrestling.com Class AA state dual meet rankings, lost to No. 5 Chestnut Ridge (42-22) and No. 1 and defending state champion Reynolds (48-19) before a 39-27 win over No. 4 Burrell closed out the event on a positive note.
Now 17-2, the Raiders are off until Thursday’s home match with DuBois.
Reynolds, not surprisingly, was the dominant team in an event with certainly a different feel to it. Canceled last year because of bad weather, officials moved the four-team event up to Friday afternoon to avoid this weekend’s weather. With the team number one less than other years, the three-session schedule fit nicely into a one day event that began at 4 p.m. and ended around 9.
Reynolds went 3-0 with other wins over Burrell (43-20) and Chestnut Ridge (35-29). Burrell, ranked ahead of Chestnut Ridge, were blasted 46-18 by the Lions and finished 0-3. Chestnut Ridge finished 2-1.
The Raiders’ win over the Bucs, the top team from the WPIAL, couldn’t have ended on a better note. Freshman 138-pounder Coyha Brown, getting more time in the lineup because of the Raiders’ injuries, needed to not get pinned to avoid what could’ve been a tie score after 14 bouts.
The Raiders were up 33-15 with three bouts to go, but with no wrestlers left for 145 and 152 pounds, those 12 points were already waiting for Burrell.
Even though it appeared the tiebreaker, if needed, would go to the Raiders with Criteria H — most bouts with first points scored, 6-4 in favor of the Raiders — seeing Brown stay off his back was the main focus going into his bout against fellow freshman Logan Bechtold.
As it turned out, he pinned Bechtold with 26 seconds left in the one-minute overtime takedown period. Brown forced OT with a takedown to tie things at 6-6 with 25 seconds left in the third period.
Earlier against the Bucs, the Raiders took six of the first nine bouts with all three of those losses being three-point decisions, clearly a hallmark of the program’s success — not giving up bonus points.
Burrell forfeited to the Raiders’ state-ranked big boys Nathan Taylor (No. 14) and Colby Whitehill (No. 1) at 220 and heavyweight. Elliott Park pinned Cole Clark at 182 and No. 12 Cayden Walter, who gave Reynolds’ No. 1 Gary Steen all he could handle in a 4-3 loss earlier, beat No. 16 Shawn Szymanski in a hard-fought 5-4 decision at 113.
Freshman Brayden Kunselman’s first-period pin of sophomore returning qualifier Nicholas Salerno at 120 was a huge boost for the Raiders’ chances and No. 12 Owen Reinsel’s 4-0 win over unranked but 100-win wrestler Trent Valovchik at 126 put the Raiders up 33-9.
No. 4 Ian Oswalt pinned the Raiders’ Josh Popson at 132 to make it 33-15, setting up Brown’s heroics to finish off the win.
The Raiders opened with a 42-22 loss to Chestnut Ridge. They trailed the Lions 19-18 after Whitehill’s first-period pin at heavyweight, but Chestnut Ridge won five of the last six bouts to pull away for the win.
The feature win of the match came at 220 where Taylor squared off against No. 3 Duane Knisely and beat him 4-2. Taylor nearly pinned Knisely in the second period, but the three nearfall points sparked him to the win as he took a 3-2 lead into the third when Knisely allowed him up but couldn’t take him down to tie the bout.
Wyatt Griffin, back from injury at 170, looked strong in a 9-1 major decision over Baltzer Bollman. Elliot Park pinned Dominick Claar at 182 and Reinsel decisioned Nathan Holderbaum 7-2 at 120 for the Raiders’ other wins.
Against Reynolds, the Raiders forfeited bouts at 126 and 145 and went 4-8 on the mat. Taylor majored Evan Miller 11-2 at 220 and after giving up a rare takedown to Rocco John-Daniello at heavyweight in the early moments, Whitehill pinned his Reynolds foe in 1:23.
Earlier, Wyatt Kulik pinned Jaylen Wagner in the second period at 152 and Reinsel won the Raiders’ final bout at 120 with a 3-0 win over Liam Foore.