Bison Wrestlers Earn Historic Win at Bald Eagle

WINGATE – Each year, the Clearfield wrestlers set a goal that hasn’t been achieved by any team in the past 22 years. But this year, the Bison did so with a 43-24 win Thursday night at Bald Eagle Area.

Clearfield had not beaten the Eagles since a Garry Barton-coached team won by a 31-20 score in 1986.

“I was 10 years old and wrestling in the elementary program. I was probably at that match. When I wrestled in 1991, 1992 and 1993, our team goal was to beat Bald Eagle. My guess is that it has been ever since,” head coach Jeff Aveni said.

“(The win) is a big step for our program. It was a great win for the team. It’s something that’s been a goal for a good many years. It was one of the goals that we, as a team, set for the season.”

Assistant coach Andy Squires said the coaching staff knew that this year’s team wanted to achieve that goal from day one.

“They thought that it was realistic and really worked hard toward it,” he said.

With Bald Eagle Area unable to fill three spots, the Bison entered the dual meet with an 18-0 advantage. Despite only winning five of 11 bouts wrestled, Clearfield still won on the mat, 25-24.

“A win is a win. I don’t like to look at the matches or the score on the mat. I don’t like to look at that stuff,” Aveni said.

“I like to look at the big matches on the mat that we have to win. It’s a team sport. And, the guys who we needed to went out and got the job done.”

Aveni said that even undermanned, Bald Eagle neither surrenders bonus points nor gets pinned easily.

Squires agreed and said that Clearfield can always count on the Eagles to show up.

“It doesn’t matter if they have six kids. It doesn’t matter if they have five kids on the mat. They’re going to come out and wrestle,” he said.

He did admit that the forfeit circumstances put a damper on the historic win. Like Aveni, he said it was a victory.

Both Bison Max Von Gunden and Andrew Spicer received forfeits at 119 and 125 pounds, respectively. But Eagle Brad Meyer snuck out a 3-2 decision over Clearfield’s Andrew Hill to put his team on the board after the following bout.

Going scoreless in the first, the Bison sophomore notched a second period reversal. Meyer, however, used an escape and takedown in the third for the win.

Senior Holden Lowe quickly got Clearfield back on track at 135 pounds.

Ahead 2-1, Lowe reversed Coleman Hoffman, who used an escape to pull back within two. Lowe fought off a Hoffman takedown to come away with the 4-2 win.

“It was a great win out of Holden Lowe. He went out and was Holden. That was a quality kid (that he wrestled), and he did what he needed to do,” Aveni said.

Aveni noted that Lowe is really a 130-pounder wrestling at 135 pounds.

“You can see the size. You can see the strength. That’s why he could not score on top. That was a good win for Holden,” he said.

Sophomore Shane Harper earned the Bisons’ third forfeit, but the Eagles would score six of its own with a Nick Taylor fall at 145 pounds.

However, Bison Derek Danver soon brought the Eagle team back to reality, as he scored on a takedown, reversal and three near fall for a 7-2 favor over John Decker after one.

Starting from the down position, he went back to work for a reversal and two more backs before adding three more at the second period buzzer.

Danver, then, used two take downs for the 18-3 technical fall, giving his team a 26-9 edge.

“He’s just chugging away. You want to talk about a guy who is on a roll. Derek is wrestling well, and he is focused,” Aveni said of his 152-pounder. “When he takes the mat, you better be ready to wrestle, because you’re going to wrestle.”

“He’s doing a lot of different things. He’s shooting. He’s winning scrambles. He’s scoring on top. He’s just wrestling real well.”

At 160, Eagle Rusty Fetzer would narrow the Bison lead with a third period fall. But Clearfield senior Shawn Hall would get those six back in the next bout.

With a 2-1 lead after one, the senior used two second period takedowns and an escape for a 7-2 advantage before taking Coakley to his back for the fall in 4:59.

“Shawn Hall was a little banged up. But that’s Shawn hall. It’s going to be close early. He’s going to open up in the second. He’s going to pin you in the third. He has such a gas tank that he wears people down,” Aveni said.

At 189, sophomore Cliff Hill came up short in a battle with Eagle Shane Robinson.

Robinson notched a first period takedown and a reversal in the second to go up 4-0. (Cliff) Hill cut the lead in half with a Robinson interlocking call and an escape.

Starting from the down position, the Bison escaped the Eagles grasp; however, Robinson managed a takedown for the 6-3 decision win.

Although he came away with a loss, Aveni was still pleased with (Cliff) Hill’s performance.

“I was happy with him tonight. I thought he wrestled hard,” he said. He said that in the past, his sophomore has had tendencies to go to his back.

“Cliffy has been staying off his back more. We had the opportunity to win that match, and we didn’t make the shot. But that’s something we can work on. If you put yourself in position to win, then we can maybe give you a chance,” Aveni added.

Bison Andre Buck faced Jon Gingrich in a re-match. The two met in last year’s dual meet, which saw an 8-1 Gingrich win.

Down 4-1, the Clearfield 215-pounder used a penalty point and an escape to cut the deficit to one. Gingrich, however, escaped in the third for the 5-3 decision.

“That score is closer than it was last year. That’s a positive,” Aveni said. He noted that Buck was out of the practice room for football and spent last week out sick.

“He’s only had about a week-and-a-half of practice. So, he’s not sharp, and his timing is off. He’s not really taking a good shot yet and getting himself out of position.”

Aveni said that Buck wrestled a hard-fought match and stayed in the battle, but the bout wasn’t an indictor of his junior’s talent. He said that he knows Buck can perform better and wasn’t at all disappointed in his effort.

Up 32-21, Bison heavyweight Sean Owen secured the win for his team, as he blanked Mark Bonsell with a 16-0 technical fall.

Ahead by five, Owen reversed the Eagle to his back, sticking him twice for three backs each. He added three more near fall points in the third for his 98th career win.

“He was very patient and wrestled a heck of a match. He did a heck of a job,” Aveni said.

Squires noted that Owen wrestled a 285-pounder who started the year around 330 pounds.

“Sean did all he could do, wrestling well on top. He just couldn’t get the pin,” he said.

Even though Aveni was impressed with Owen, he was equally impressed with Bonsell as well.

“They put that kid out there, and he wrestled a state champion. He had the pride in himself and his team that he didn’t want to get pinned. It might have been his goal, but that is OK. He spent however much time out there with a state champion and didn’t get pinned,” he said.

After surrendering an 8-2 decision at 103, Bison Kodie Lowder didn’t waste any time in the final bout.

Lowder took Eagle Jason Sherry to his back for a 50-second fall to set the final.

Overall, Aveni said the “great win” wasn’t the “greatest performance.”

“I really thought Bald Eagle showed up more ready to wrestle than we did. We had a heck of a lot more on the line,” he said. “I thought they wrestled well tonight. They probably wrestled better than they have all season. And, we didn’t do that.”

However, while he didn’t believe his team wrestled at its best, Aveni also didn’t want to rain on the parade either.

“I’m excited for the kids. What can I say? They have done something that we haven’t done in 22 years,” he said.

Clearfield 43 – Bald Eagle Area 24

119 – Max Von Gundon WBFF (6-0)
125 – Andrew Spicer WBFF (12-0)
130 – Andrew Hill LBD Brad Meyer, 2-3 (12-3)
135 – Holden Lowe WBD Coleman Hoffman, 4-2 (15-3)
140 – Shane Harper WBFF (21-3)
145 – Curtis Owens LBF Nick Taylor, 1:58 (21-9)
152 – Derek Danver WBTF John Decker, 18-3, 5:43 (26-9)
160 – Wil Beauseigneur LBF Rusty Fetzer, 5:41 (26-15)
171 – Shawn Hall WBF Brandon Coakley, 4:59 (32-15)
189 – Cliff Hill LBD Shane Robinson, 3-6 (32-18)
215 – Andre Buck LBD Jon Gingrich, 3-5 (32-21)
285 – Sean Owen WBTF Mark Bonsell, 16-0, 5:49 (37-21)
103 – Shane Peters LBD Justin Geidroc, 2-8 (37-24)
112 – Kodie Lowder WBF Jason Sherry, 0:50 (43-24)

Clearfield – Bald Eagle Dual Meet History

Record: 24-28, No. Duals: 52

• Clearfield had not beaten Bald Eagle Area since 1986, when head coach Garry Barton led his Bison team to a 15-0 season, including a 31-20 win over the Eagles.
• Clearfield had not won in Bald Eagle Area since the 1979 team did so 27-19.
• Clearfield had a 16-match win streak against Bald Eagle Area from 1961 – 1976.
• Clearfield only gave up five wins to Bald Eagle Area from 1958 – 1983.

Year, Bison, Bald Eagles

1958, 34 – 9
1959, 22 – 14
1960, 11 – 28
1961, 21 – 20
1962, 30 – 15
1963 43 – 8
1964 34 – 9
1965 40 – 9
1966 30 – 11
1967 23 – 17
1968 26 – 14
1969 26 – 13
1970 29 – 16
1971 25 – 16
1972 24 – 23
1973 31 – 16
1974 31 – 17
1975 40 – 8
1976 27 – 19
1977 18 – 24
1978 39 – 12
1979 27 – 19
1980 42 – 6
1981 17 – 22
1982 19 – 28
1983 21 – 25
1984 32 – 15
1985 23 – 29
1986 31 – 20
1987 20 – 28
1988 19 – 42
1989 21 – 24
1990 27 – 28
1991 20 – 35
1992 10 – 41
1993 25 – 31
1994 18 – 25
1995 12 – 38
1996 3 – 56
1997 0 – 63
1998 3 – 55
1999 10 – 52
2000 24 – 39
2001 6 – 57
2002 21 – 36
2003 22 – 44
2004 30 – 35
2005 18 – 52
2006 9 – 58
2007 18 – 46
2008 19 – 39
2009 43 – 24

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