YORK — Lycoming freshman 157-pounder Nolan Barger (Clearfield) ended his rookie season with a 29-12 record after a 3-2 performance in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional hosted by York College in the M & T Bank Field House at the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center Sunday.
Barger went into the 17-team tourney with an 11-match winning streak that had him atop the honorable mention list in the d3wrestle.com national rankings, and he advanced to the semifinals by pinning Case Western Reserve’s Brian Snyder at 6:59 and edging York’s Adam Kritzer 3-2 to avenge a 7-5 loss in their Nov. 12 dual meet bout.
Another familiar opponent awaited in Washington & Jefferson’s Josh Etzel, ranked No. 6 in Division III by intermatwrestle.com. When they met in the semifinals of the season-opening King’s College Monarch Invitational Nov. 2, Etzel posted a 14-1 major decision.
Barger made the rematch a different story, but the Presidents’ All-American prevailed 6-4 for his 99th career win and a third trip to the national championships. In the finals, Etzel (26-3) was beaten 6-4 in overtime by Mount Union’s Jon Garrison (35-5).
In the consolation semifinals, Sam Lombardo of Waynesburg ended Barger’s hopes of qualifying for the nationals with a 4-2 decision, his 97th career victory.
Then, Barger received a medical forfeit from Thiel’s Brandon Collins to place fifth. He had teched Collins 16-1 in 6:52 on Jan. 24.
Barger and freshman Seth Lansberry, who took fifth at 149 pounds, accounted for most of the 29 points that landed Lycoming in 14th place.
Lansberry (35-10) broke the Warrior record for wins by a freshman, while Barger tied for second.
The classmates led the team with 14 bonus wins.
Barger was second in technical falls with three, third in falls with seven and tied for third in major decisions with four.
* * * * * * * * * *
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
LEWISBURG — Clarion freshman Jessica Shomo (Clearfield) set a personal record with a long jump of 17 feet, ½ inch at the 2014 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Indoor Championships in Bucknell University’s Gerhard Field House Sunday.
Shomo placed 10th and just missed earning points for the Golden Eagles, who finished 14th with nine points.
* * * * * * * * * *
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Senior right-hander Chad Zurat (Clearfield) worked in relief in the nightcap of Penn State Behrend’s season-opening Spalding Tournament losses to Wabash (Ind.) 9-1 and Earlham (Ind.) 9-0 at Derby City Field Saturday.
Zurat was inserted into a two-out, bases-loaded situation in the top of the eighth inning with Earlham ahead 1-0. A hit batsman, a wild pitch, an infield single and an error made it 4-0.
Zurat surrendered a solo home run in the ninth and was charged with two runs, one earned, on two hits in 1.1 innings pitched. He had one strikeout.
In his first three seasons, the 6-2, 215-pounder has appeared in 46 games, most of them as the Behrend closer, with a 2.46 earned run average for 80.1 innings, an 8-5 record and 17 saves, which rank second all-time for the Lions.
He’s allowed only 56 hits and 29 runs while has amassing 113 strikeouts, issuing 32 walks and hitting 10 batters.
Zurat was named to the All-Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference second team and the All-Mid-Atlantic Region third team as a sophomore and the All-AMCC third team last year.
Coach Paul Benim is counting heavily on Zurat and two-year starter Dante DeSantis (DuBois/DuBois Central Catholic H.S.) to anchor the pitching staff.
“We’re very fortunate that those two seniors will be very key contributors to what we’re doing this year,” Benim said during a preseason interview for the Behrend baseball website. “We’re gonna rely on them early, and often. When those two guys are out on the mound, we’re gonna be tough to beat.”
Benim indicated Zurat will be utilized more in a starting role but will be called on for some relief duty, too.
* * * * *
NEW MARKET, Va. — Senior outfielder Sam Gardner (Curwensville) started in right as Pitt-Bradford opened the 2014 season with two wins in three games at Rebel Park over the weekend.
The Panthers split a Saturday doubleheader with Cairn, winning 8-2 before losing 5-4 in 11 innings, and defeated Juniata 7-2 Sunday.
Gardner had one single in eight official at-bats and drew one walk.
He is coming off back-to-back productive seasons for the Panthers, hitting .308 last spring after breaking into the starting a month into the 2012 season and finishing with a .309 average.
Gardner, who also saw limited action on the mound as a freshman and sophomore, has played in 57 games with 41 hits, including seven doubles and one home run, and 18 runs batted in. He stole six bases in seven attempts.