ALLPORT – Hard work over the holidays has paid dividends for the Curwensville Area High School wrestling team in its first two outings of the new year.
The Golden Tide, coming off a 4-1 effort at the Coudersport Duals a week ago, registered six falls, two major decisions and a 15-9 advantage in takedowns in winning a 50-28 pinfest against homestanding West Branch Friday night.
\”We had some real long practices over Christmas,\” coach Duane Wriglesworth II said after his team upped its record to 5-3. \”(We worked on) a lot of different situations and a lot of different combinations and moves.
\”It\’s starting to pay off.\”
As in eight bonus-point victories.
Jake Keller at 112 pounds, Brett Sutika at 135, Jeff Thomas at 152, Zack Dimmick at 171, Jonathan Michaels at 189 and Nate Russell at 215 ended their bouts early, while Tyler Peters at 125 and Jeff Smallwood at 130 just missed joining the pin party with two near falls and three turnovers apiece in their major decisions.
Derek Brothers at 119 received a forfeit.
The meet began with the 152 bout, and that allowed Wriglesworth to catch the Warrior coaching staff off guard by bumping up Thomas.
\”Our 152-pounder (Kyle Kyler) is coming off a knee injury, and we really didn\’t want to send him out unless we had to,\” Wriglesworth explained. \”So, we thought that might help us, scoring-wise. We wanted to get off to a good start. We were a little bit worried at the beginning.\”
The strategy worked to perfection as the Golden Tide\’s regular 145-pounder came through with the first of the meet\’s 10 falls.
Leading 7-1 after one period, Thomas reversed J.T. Confer with a Peterson Roll, switched to a half-nelson and bar and then laced the Warrior\’s leg to earn pin at the 2:33 mark.
At 160, Justin Smith appeared on his way to expanding Curwensville\’s lead when his second takedown against Todd Rees made it 7-3 with 1:25 remaining, but the scrappy Warrior sophomore had other ideas. He hit a headlock from the bottom position and tightened it up for a stunning fall at 5:16 to tie the match.
However, Dimmick, Michaels and Russell combined for their three pins in less than seven minutes of wrestling to give the Golden Tide a 24-6 lead.
Ahead 2-0, Dimmick came off the bottom to pin Doug May with an arm bar and body press 44 seconds into the second period at 171, Michaels headlocked Joe Gregory in 59 seconds at 189 and Russell turned Ryan Frank with a half nelson and pressed him to the mat with 3:14 gone at 215.
\”I was happy with some of our upper weights there,\” Wriglesworth said, \”We were really pleased to see Michaels go out there and get a fall. Keep in mind Michaels didn\’t wrestle last year. He was out with a football injury. That year off really put him behind. So, he\’s still in the process of building some confidence.\”
West Branch (2-4) got back into the match when heavyweight James McEowen snapped a 2-2 tie with a takedown and immediately put Walter Koontz on his back for a pin at 2:49 and bantam Dustin Fisch took down Greg Koptchak three times and cradled him twice for near falls in a 12-4 major decision.
Keller ignited a five-bout Golden Tide sweep when he spread-eagled Cody Hudish in 55 seconds at 112, and the forfeit at 119 gave the visitors a commanding 36-16 lead.
In the action-packed, fast-paced bout at 125, Peters racked up takedowns with a fireman\’s carry, a Paterson, a headlock and a lateral drop and added three turnovers in building a 16-2 bulge against Adam Albright. He attempted another lateral drop trying for a technical fall, but Albright slipped out and caught Peters on his back for a takedown and two near fall points. Peters reversed at the buzzer for an 18-7 victory.
Smallwood returned to the Curwensville lineup for the first time in three weeks and majored Ethan Slippey 12-1 with a takedown, a reversal and three near falls at 130 before Sutika pinned Dan Confer with a chicken wing and half nelson in 2:37 at 135.
Warrior middleweights Dylan Corl and Aaron Albright closed out the meet with falls. Corl headlocked Wes McGarry in 2:46 at 140 and Albright stacked Jeremy Bloom in 57 seconds at 145.
Wriglesworth was especially happy the aggressiveness of his squad.
\”That\’s what we\’re trying to instill in these kids,\” he said. \”We were having trouble on our feet early on, and we wanted to make sure that we get the initial takedown.\”
Ten Golden Tide matmen got on the scoreboard first. Only two surrendered the initial takedown.
\”That\’s better than a few weeks ago,\” Wriglesworth said. \”These kids really wrestled well tonight. I was really, really pleased with their performance.
\”Actually, some of these kids surprised me. It was good to see.
\”I think some of the momentum we had at Coudersport is kind of carrying over, which we\’re gonna need next week.\”
The Golden Tide will hop on buses again for matches against top-tier District 9 Class AA rivals Redbank Valley Tuesday and Ridgway Thursday.
Curwensville 50, West Branch 28
152 – Jeff Thomas, C, pinned J.T. Confer, 2:33. (6-0)
160 – Todd Rees, WB, pinned Justin Smith, 5:16. (6-6)
171 – Zack Dimmick, C, pinned Doug May, 2:44. (12-6)
189 – Jonathan Michaels, C, pinned Joe Gregory, :59. (18-6)
215 – Nathan Russell, C, pinned Ryan Frank, 3:14. (24-6)
285 – James McEowen, WB, pinned Walter Koontz, 2:49. (24-12)
103 – Dustin Fisch, WB, major dec. Greg Koptchak, 12-4. (24-16)
112 – Jake Keller, C, pinned Cody Hudish, :55. (30-16)
119 – Derek Brothers, C, won by forfeit. (36-16)
125 – Tyler Peters, C, major dec. Adam Albright, 18-7. (40-16)
130 – Jeff Smallwood, C, major dec. Ethan Slippey, 12-1. (44-16)
135 – Brett Sutika, C, pinned Dan Confer, 2:37. (50-16)
140 – Dylan Corl, WB, pinned Wes McGarry, 2:46. (50-22)
145 – Aaron Albright, WB, pinned Jeremy Bloom, :57. (50-28)
Referee – Aaron Gustkey.