Nolan Barger Claims AAA Northwest Regional Title; Clearfield Fifth Place Team

Nolan Barger (Photo by Jessica Shirey)

ALTOONA — Bison senior Nolan Barger (35-1) earned his first PIAA AAA Northwestern Regional title in grand fashion Saturday night at the Altoona Area High School Field House with a 13-5 major decision over Cody Nolan (30-10) of Erie McDowell. It will be Barger’s second trip to the state championships in Hershey, as Barger placed third in the region as a sophomore.

Since losing in the finals of the season opening Top Hat tournament, Barger has been on a mission and has rattled off 32 straight wins. Barger’s semifinal match was really the highlight of the day for the Bison team, which finished a very strong fifth in the two-day tourney. Barger was leading Brian Estep (34-3) of Allderdice 2-0 in the first period when he hit a standing cradle and it was all over in 1:21 before Estep knew what hit him. And the celebration was on for the normally composed Barger as he preened to his family and other Clearfield faithful.

Barger will be joined at the Giant Center in Hershey on Thursday March 7 by the other two components of Clearfield’s Senior Big 3 – runner-up at 132 Christian Stone and third place finisher Dylan Graham at 126.

Stone (33-2) made it to the finals, thus clinching his fourth PIAA state berth, with a dominating performance in the semifinals. Leading Lucas Besch (25-11) of Mifflin County 7-2, Stone picked up his third fall of the tourney in 3:46. In the finals, Stone ran into a familiar foe in District 10 champion Nick Gibson (31-6) of Erie McDowell. In the finals of the Tool City Tourney earlier this year, the two locked horns with the match going to overtime. Once there Stone picked up a fall to win the title. Gibson exacted his revenge in the regional final by edging Stone 7-4. Stone won the regionals as a freshman, placed third as a sophomore and junior, and now has a silver medal to add to his collection.

Graham (32-5) had to overcome the disappointment of losing his semifinal match on an “iffy” call to win two consolation matches to earn his bronze finish and first trip to the state tournament. After a 1-1 regulation finish with District 10 champion DJ Fehlman (32-2) of Warren, the match appeared to be heading to the tie-breaker; but after a flurry at the end of the fourth period in which both wrestlers ended up on their feet facing each other, Fehlman was awarded the match-winning takedown.

Graham then beat Coleman Cousins (22-18) 5-1 in the consolation semis; and then beat Keller Watkins (29-9) 7-4 in the consolation finals for third place.

Some Bison underclassmen showed that they will be ready to make some noise at the regional level next year.

Sophomore Noah Cline (26-13) made it to the consolation semifinals after picking up two falls after being beaten in Friday night’s quarterfinals. Cline ran into his District 9 finals opponent, Joel Bowers (24-2) of Punxsutawney, and had the same result – a 7-0 loss. Bowers went on to place third when he picked up a fall in the consy finals.

Junior Jake Verchick (17-18) came tantalizingly close to making his first states appearance. After reaching the semifinals, Verchick lost two one-point matches to the eventaul runner-up and third place finisher. A stall point in each match was the deciding point, as Verchick was able to be pushed around by his opponenets who held about 80-pound weight advantages over the undersized Bison heavyweight.

After losing his first match on Friday night, freshman Logan Gilbert (24-14) picked up two wins in consolation action, including one over Noah Ulmer (20-13) of Jersey Shore, who had beaten Gilbert in the consolation finals at districts the previous week.

Though fellow freshman Josiah McClarren (13-17) didn’t win a match, he fared well; bowing out of the tourney by a 16-12 score to eventual tourney fourth-place finisher Travis Geidroc (26-11) of Bald Eagle Area.

At 152 junior Mike Beck (12-19) didn’t pick up a win either, but was eliminated only 5-2 by District 9 champion Joshua Corignani (23-8) of Bradford.

Northwest regional champions were Joe Wheeling (33-1) of General McLane at 106, Jake Gromacki (29-2) of Erie Prep at 113, Paul Dietz (33-9) of Erie McDowell at 120, Kaleb Young (26-1) of Punxsutawney at 126, TJ Brandt (29-3) of Altoona at 138, Mike Sutton (30-3) of General McLane at 152, Tyree Spearman (16-0) of Erie McDowell at 160, Tom Sleigh (38-0) of DuBois at 170, Jake Taylor (34-0) of Bald Eagle Area at 182, Landon Hanna (35-1) of DuBois at 195, Nate Sharkey (28-5) of Bald Eagle Area at 220, and Andrew Welton (31-1) of Erie Central Tech at 285.

Complete results courtesy Escape Sports can be found here: http://liveresults.escapesports.com/PIAA/2013_AAA_NW_Regional.html

Team standings courtesy the Altoona Mirror:

1. McDowell 151.5; 2. General McLane 144; 3. DuBois 110; 4. Mifflin County 89; 5. Clearfield 82.5; 6. Bald Eagle Area 80; 7. Altoona 78; 8. Cathedral Prep 73.5; 9. Central Mountain 73; 10. Bellefonte 48; 11. Punxsutawney 42; 12. Philipsburg-Osceola 29. 13. (tie) Central Tech, Allderdice, and Hollidaysburg 28; 16. Shikellamy 24; 17. St. Marys 23.5; 18. Warren 22; 19. Jersey Shore 21.5; 20. Titusville 21; 21. Westinghouse 17; 22. (tie) Meadville and Selinsgrove 16; 24. Bradford 11; 25. Strong Vincent 10; 26. Oil City 9.5; 27. Carrick 9; 28. Williamsport 8; 29. State College 7; 30. (tie) Erie East and Greater Johnstown 4; 32. Obama Academy 3; 33. Brashear 2; 34. Perry 1.

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
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 82.5 pts 5th
03/07-09 States @ Hershey

 

 

 

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