CLEARFIELD – The plot was different but the outcome was the same as the Clearfield Bison earned a hard-fought win over rival Dubois for the second time this season. The match was the semifinals of the District IX Duals, with top seed St. Mary’s getting a bye to the finals Saturday. “That’s the rematch we wanted,” said Clearfield head coach Jeff Aveni. “This is the postseason, it doesn’t matter how you win, just win.”
Andrew Spicer started the match with a bang at 119 for Clearfield, pinning Dan Robinson in . Holden Lowe then matched up in a close-fought battle at 125 with the Beavers’ David Whitaker. After a scoreless first period, Lowe got an escape and was about to go to the third period up 1-0, but Whitaker earned a takedown at the end of the period to lead 2-1. Whitaker added an escape in the third period and held on to win 3-1. “I’m angry with Holden, and he knows why,” said Aveni. “He looked at the clock with seven seconds left and gave up a silly takedown, he knows better than that.”
After Dillon Dixon earned a decision over Clearfield’s Shane Harper at 130, Richie Queen dominated Austin Palumbo, earning a 16-1 technical fall via two takedowns, nine nearfall points, a reversal and an escape.
140-pound Bison Derek Danver fell behind early to Matt Zimmerman but came roaring back to win 7-3. Then Kasey Casher, making his season debut at 145 pounds, built a 7-0 lead on Adam Stanko before earning the fall at .
However, the Beavers quickly answered with a technical fall from Billy Morrison over Will Beauseigneur, setting the stage for the two biggest matches of the night.
At 160 pounds, Shawn Hall and Justin McAnich knew each other well. McAninch had beaten Hall twice, 10-5 at the ToolCity tournament and 9-7 at the dual meet in Dubois. This time, however, Hall got out to the early lead with a nice takedown and led 2-0 after one period. McAninch successfully rode Hall through the second, and almost secured an escape several times in the third, but with 30 seconds left Hall was able to chin McAninch to his back and earn three nearfall points to win 5-0. “Maybe that was the match that decided the meet,” said Aveni. “[Hall’s] been closing the gap and he came up with a big effort tonight.
As big as that effort was, the match at 171 may have provided an even bigger effort. Clearfield’s Lee Zalno, suffering from the flu and having sustained a severely sprained ankle Saturday at the Altoona Duals, took the mat against Dubois’ Dan Walker. Walker hit a four point move in the first, but Zalno fought off his back. Walker reversed Zalno early in the second to lead 6-0, but Zalno hit a five point move of his own near the end of the period to close the gap to 6-5. After taking an injury timeout due to his illness, Zalno somehow summoned the strength to take Walker down and pin him at of the third period, and left the mat to a standing ovation. “Lee Zalno is one of my seniors, and he’s a leader on this team,” said Aveni. “He’s been out two-plus days with the flu, has a bad ankle, yet he found a way…a very gutty win for Lee.”
Dubois wasn\’t finished, however, as Eric Lundgren pinned Sam Maines at 189 and Luke Bennett pinned Andre Buck at 215. As usual, though, Bison heavyweight Sean Owen stemmed the bleeding with a fall over Josh Yohe, running his record to 30-1.
At 103 Kodie Lowder lost a hard-fought battle to Nick Bogacki. Bogacki hit two takedowns early and led , but a wild third period saw Bogacki hit a five-point move followed by a Lowder six-point move before Bogacki sealed the win with a late reversal. “Kodie didn’t look like himself tonight,” said Aveni. “He looked slow, maybe because they bumped up Stanton and he was looking forward to that matchup, but it definitely was not Lowder’s best stuff.”
T.J. Stanton finished off the evening with a 6-0 win over Clearfield’s Andrew Hill.
The Bisons now hit the road looking for revenge over St. Mary’s, who beat them last week 38-33.
“We are looking forward to the rematch, but the guys know we’ll have to wrestle a lot better than this to win Saturday,” said Aveni. The meet is schedule to begin at DuboisHigh School at .