CLARION — Adding four teams to the mix didn’t prevent the Clearfield Bison from their usual solid showing at the PIAA Distict IV-IX Wrestling Championships at Clarion University on Friday and Saturday. The Bison placed second to dedending champion DuBois in the nine-team tournament.
Clearfield crowned two champions – seniors Christian Stone at 132 and Nolan Barger at 145 – and will send a contingent of eight to the Northwest Region AAA Championships at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse on March 1 and 2.
Stone (30-1) became a rare four-time district champion when he defeated the number two seed Tristan Paul (18-6) by a 6-2 count. Though Stone never appeared to be in much danger throughout the match, the victory wasn’t assured until Stone took Paul down with about 10 seconds left before the final buzzer. Stone took a 2-0 first period lead with only four seconds remaining in that period, then gave up an escape in the second to take a precarious 2-1 lead into the final period. Stone quickly picked up a reversal in the beginning of the third, but Paul escaped to a 4-2 deficit with enough time on the clock to make the Clearfield faithful squirm a bit.
Stone advanced to the finals after a semifinal bout saw him pick up 13 takedowns in a 26-14 major decision over Jersey Shore’s Hayden Swartwood (22-10). Swartwood was released 12 times and actually took Stone down once to set the football-like final score.
Barger (31-1) had his typical performance as he never gave up a point in any of his three matches on his way to his third district title. Jersey Shore’s Zach Herman (21-8) kept the match at 0-0 after one period of the final, but after that it was all Barger, who went on to an 8-0 shut out. Barger reversed off the bottom and picked up three near-fall points to take a commanding 5-0 lead heading to the final period. Herman took neutral to start the third, hoping for a throw to even the match. It all went for naught, as Barger picked up the only takedown of the bout, then added a penalty point to set the final.
In the semifinals, Barger pinned Punxsutawney’s Jeff Bottenhorn (5-15) in 1:14 after jumping out to an early 5-0 lead before the fall mercifully came.
Clearfield had three finalists come up short in their bids for district titles. Josiah McClarren at 113, Noah Cline at 120, and Dylan Graham at 126 all had to settle for silver after each breezed through their semifinal matches.
Freshman McClarren (13-15) ran into a buzzsaw in senior returning district champ Bryce Swauger (26-8) of DuBois. Swauger built up a 7-1 first period advantage, with the aid of at least one questionable takedown, but was held pretty much at bay the rest of the way by the determined McClarren. McClarren reached the final by pinning fellow freshman Allen Saar (13-15) of Jersey Shore in the semis in 2:57.
Sophomore Noah Cline earned his second runner-up spot in as many attempts when he was shut out 7-0 by Joel Bowers (21-1) of Punxsutawney. Cline (23-11) was in on several deep singles, as he was the aggressor most of the match, but just couldn’t quite get the points needed to make it a closer match. Bowers picked up a takedown in each of the three periods for six of the seven points. Cline was dominant in a 16-4 semifinal win over St. Marys’ William McGonnell (9-13).
At 126, senior Dylan Graham (28-4) faced a familiar foe in Punxsutawney’s freshman standout Kaleb Young (22-1). Graham handed Young his only loss of the season 3-1 in overtime in the Clearfield-Punxsutawney dual meet, but Young returned the favor with a one-point win at the Oxford Tournament. The rubber match closely resembled the dual meet as neither could pick up a takedown during regulation and the match headed to overtime tied at one each. Graham came tantalizingly close to ending the match with a sudden victory takedown; but it was Young who managed to take Graham down after a short scramble to pick up the win. Graham had reached the finals by disposing of DuBois’ Austin Gahr (8-19) in 1:35 of the semis.
The five Clearfield finalists will be joined in Altoona by 106 pounder Logan Gilbert (22-12), who placed fourth despite being a six seed, Mike Beck (12-17) at 152, who also placed fourth as a six seed, and Jake Verchick (15-16) at 285, who matched his third seed with a bronze medal.
Jon Sponsler (8-16) at 138 and Grant Climie (4-17) at 160 each picked up consolation bracket wins, but fell one win short of the consolation finals and a trip to regionals.
Other champions were Shae Bloom (34-4) of DuBois at 106, Garrett Brown (29-9) of DuBois at 138, Joshua Corignani (22-6) of Bradford at 152, Mike Kennelly (31-8) of DuBois at 160, Tom Sleigh (34-0) of DuBois at 170, Jesse Shambach (21-6) of Shikellamy at 182, Landon Hanna (32-1) of DuBois at 195, Dwayne Pepper (19-7) of Shikellamy at 220, and Dan Karpinski (11-14), the number four seed, at 285.
Sleigh won the Kata Award as the Outstanding AAA wrestler after two falls and then a tech fall in the finals.
Team Standings: 1. DuBois – 182.5; 2. Clearfield – 123.5; 3. Shikellamy – 119; 4. St. Marys – 107; 5. Punxsutawney – 95; 6. Jersey Shore – 91.5; 7. Bradford – 73; 8. Williamsport – 48, 9. Selinsgrove – 44.
Full results can be found here courtesy Escape Sports: http://liveresults.escapesports.com/PIAA/2013_District_4_9_AAA_Tournament.html
Clearfield Bison Scoreboard:
|12/07,08||@ Top Hat Tourney||11th||0 – 0|
|12/11||DUBOIS||21 – 56||0 – 1|
|12/13||@ Bald Eagle Area||28 – 37||0 – 2|
|12/18||CENTRAL||42 – 37||1 – 2|
|12/20||PUNXSUTAWNEY||63 – 12||2 – 2|
|01/04,05||@ Tool City Tourney||10th||2 – 2|
|01/08||@ Penns Valley||31 – 42||2 – 3|
|01/19||CLFD BISON DUALS|
|vs. Valley||53 – 19||3 – 3|
|vs. Pleasant Valley||38 – 42||3 – 4|
|vs. West Branch||18 – 60||3 – 5|
|vs. Montoursville||33 – 35||3 – 6|
|vs. Sharpsville||50 – 27||4 – 6|
|01/22||@ Bellefonte||30 – 41||4 – 7|
|01/25,26||@ New Oxford Tourney||3rd||4 – 7|
|01/29||ST.MARYS||38 – 33||5 – 7|
|01/31||@ Tyrone||41 – 24||6 – 7|
|02/02||D9 Team Wrestling Champs.|
|vs. St. Marys||41 – 31||7 – 7|
|vs. DuBois||23 – 51||7 – 8|
|02/05||PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA||34 – 45||7 – 9|
|02/07||HUNTINGDON||26 – 41||7 – 10|
|02/23||Districts @ Clarion||123.5 pts||2nd|
|03/01,02||Regionals @ Altoona|
|03/07-09||States @ Hershey|