DUBOIS – Curwensville Area High School wrestling coach Duane Wriglesworth II was hoping to see overall improvement by his team against No. 2 Ridgway in the semifinals of the District 9 Team Championships in the DuBois Area High School gym Saturday.
Unfortunately, he couldn\’t give the third-seeded Golden Tide a passing grade after losing 51-13 to the Elkers, who handed the Vegas Gold and Black its only other defeat, 50-18, on Jan. 17.
\”We definitely didn\’t wrestle our best,\” Wriglesworth said. \”We missed a lot of opportunities where we could have scored. We were hesitant today, and I don\’t know why. I was disappointed.
\”We knew Ridgway would be a quality opponent, but I had hoped we\’d win more matches and score more points this time.\”
Curwensville got a major decision by Brett McCracken at 152 pounds and regular decisions by Derek Brothers at 112, Jeff Thomas at 145 and Jarrett Sloppy at 160, which added up to one more mat victory in the rematch. The Golden Tide had a forfeit, as well as one pin, among its four wins in the first meet.
With 135-pounder Duane Wriglesworth III sidelined by illness, which has hit the team hard, and 215-pounder Nathan Russell out with an injury, Curwensville already was in a 12-0 hole, and Ridgway (18-4) made it another one-sided win with five falls.
Two came in the meet\’s opening bouts at 125 and 130.
Leading 3-0 via a second-period nearfall, Elker D.J. Skraba reversed early in the third and pinned Brett Sutika with a half nelson and body press at 4:49. Jeff Slattery followed by cradling Wes McGarry for a 1:16 fall.
The forfeit at 135 made it 18-0, and Elker 140-pounder Sam Skraba widened the margin to 21-0 with a 4-2 sudden victory over Justin Johnston, who managed only two escapes in regulation. Johnston got in deep on a single-leg late in the overtime period, but Skraba came out the back door for the winning takedown at the edge of the mat.
Three of Curwensville\’s decisions came in the next four bouts, though two were offset when Elker 160-pounder Jack Urmann cradled Justin Smith for a fall in 3:48.
Thomas got the Golden Tide on the scoreboard by reversing Zack Zelcs midway through the middle period and cradling him for a nearfall late in the third period for a 5-0 shutout at 145.
McCracken put on a takedown clinic against Dakota Potts for a 12-1 major decision. He worked three single-legs and one knee-pick for two-pointers, tilted the Elker 152-pounder for three with four seconds left in the first period and added an escape.
Following Urmann\’s fall, Sloppy atoned for last month\’s 15-10 loss to Derek Johnson with an 8-5 win. The Golden Tide senior just beat the first-period buzzer with a throw-by for a takedown and outscored Johnson 5-3 in a wild second period. Sloppy escaped and hit a headlock for a takedown, but Johnson broke free and rolled through a headlock for a takedown. A reversal with 11 seconds left proved crucial when Johnson started the third period with an escape and single-leg takedown.
Ridgway\’s lead quickly zoomed from 27-10 to 45-10 when Jerico Weitzel, the state\’s fourth-ranked 189-pounder, cradled Matt Schultz in 21 seconds, 215-pounder Jake Thompson received a forfeit and heavyweight Joe Chittester bear-hugged Walter Koontz and lowered his shoulders to the mat for an 18-second fall.
In a surprise at 103, Ridgway\’s Ricky Jay Javier took down Greg Koptchak twice in the first period and took the Golden Tide freshman to his back early in the second period for five more points en route to an 11-6 victory. The win was only the fifth in 25 bouts for Javier. Koptchak was 12-7 and was listed fifth in the latest Gold Medal 9-AA rankings.
The meet\’s premier bout was at 112 with Brothers reaching the 20-win plateau for the second time by coming from behind to nip Derek Konen 5-4. The Elker shot a single-leg for a takedown after 19 seconds. Brothers escaped and then tilted Konen for two points in the second period. Konen gave him an escape to start the third period and worked another single for the equalizing takedown with 1:21 left. He turned Brothers loose again for what proved to be the deciding point when he was unable to engineer another takedown.
Garet Pisani capped Ridgway\’s impressive victory by besting gritty Tyler Peters 5-0 via a reversal and tilt for three in the second period.
Off The Mat\’s latest Class AA statewide rankings show Pisani eighth and Brothers ninth at 112.
\”There were some positives,\” Wriglesworth said. \”It was good to see how Brothers matched up against Konen. I thought Peters wrestled Pisani well. Sloppy had a nice match. Thomas showed if somebody takes away some things he likes, he\’s very good at adapting. McCracken wrestled well on his feet.\”
McCracken (4), Sloppy (2) and Koptchak (1) were the only Golden Tide matmen with takedowns.
\”We were very hesitant on our feet, in out shots especially, and our set-ups were poor,\” Wriglesworth said. \”I\’ve got to credit Ridgway. They wrestled very well on their feet. They were very good at capitalizing on re-shots.\”
The loss left Wriglesworth concerned about more than just takedowns..
\”We\’ve got to address some things,\” he said. \”We definitely want to fix them before districts.\”
Curwensville (6-2) has four matches remaining, including make-ups with Redbank Valley Feb. 13 and at Johnsonburg Feb. 15. Next week, the Golden Tide will travel to Brookville Tuesday and host archrival Clearfield Thursday, the latter a rare 7 p.m. start.
In the District 9-AA championship match, Ridgway (19-4) posted a 42-20 victory over fourth seed Port Allegany (15-4), which had stunned top seed Redbank Valley (10-4) 36-32 in the other semifinal. Ridgway will meet the District 6 runner-up Forest Hills (18-2) Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Clearfield Area High School\’s Arthur J. Weiss Gym.
Ridgway 51, Curwensville 13
125 – D.J. Skraba, R, pinned Brett Sutika, 4:49. (0-6)
130 – Jeff Slattery, R, pinned Wes McGarry 1:16. (0-12)
135 – Jake Bogacki, R, won by forfeit. (0-18)
140 – Sam Skraba, R, dec. Justin Johnston, 4-2 (sv) in overtime (0-21)
145 – Jeff Thomas, C, dec. Zack Zelcs, 5-0. (3-21)
152 – Brett McCracken, C, major dec. Dakota Potts, 12-1. (7-21)
160 – Jack Urmann, R, pinned Justin Smith, 3:48. (7-27).
171 – Jarrett Sloppy, C, dec. Derek Johnson, 8-5. (10-27)
189 – Jerico Weitzel, R, pinned Matt Schultz, :27. (10-33)
215 – Jake Thompson, R, won by forfeit (10-39)
285 – Joe Chittester, R, pinned Walter Koontz, :18. (10-45)
103 – Ricky Jay Javier, R, dec. Greg Koptchak, 11-6. (10-48)
112 – Derek Brothers, C, dec. Derek Konen, 5-4. (13-48)
119 – Garet Pisani, R, dec. Tyler Peters, 5-0. (13-51)
Referees – Jim McKee and Jim Muiro.