RIDGWAY – Like most over-hyped sporting events, the Clearfield – Ridgway wrestling match didn’t exactly deliver. All of the so-called internet “experts” were predicting a three to six point victory coming down to the wire for either squad. Such was not the case as Ridgway only managed four victories, also having to give a forfeit, to Clearfield’s nine wins.
All the variables were in line for a great match – top AAA team in the district vs. top AA team in the district, crowded gymnasium, two tradition-rich programs, etc. Fortunately for Clearfield they were able to sweep all of the toss-ups, except one, and defeated the Elkers by 19, 40-21.
The bout started at 135 pounds where Clearfield sent out 12-19 sophomore Shane Harper. Instead of sending out their top wrestler and swinging momentum to their favor, Ridgway sent out 14-14 freshman Steve Mitchell. Harper surrendered the first takedown of the match, but nothing else. Tied 2-2 in the second, Harper escaped and then took Mitchell straight to his back for the fall in 3:00. Toss-up number one set the tone for the night for the Bisons.
At 140, state placewinner Garet Pisani (28-2) was able to draw Ridgway even at 6-6 when he disposed of Troy Danver in 1:13.
Derek Danver (30-6) took to the mat at 145 as the favorite over Nate Dornisch (15-12). Danver was clearly the superior wrestler, but a couple of uncharacteristic errors by Danver had the score at 7-6 heading to the final period. Three times Danver put Dornisch to his back to set the final at 17-7 and put Clearfield back on top at 10-6.
Ridgway junior Sam Skraba (19-11) had a tougher time with Wil Beauseigneur (12-22) than he may have thought, but had a strong third period that gave him the 7-2 victory and brought Ridgway within one at 10-9.
160 saw a mismatch as 27-3 Zack Zelcs faced off with 3-8 Logan Shadeck. The match went as Ridgway anticipated with Zelcs picking up the fall in 2:34, giving them their first lead at 15-10.
The only Ridgway lead of the night was short-lived as 171 pounder Shawn Hall (22-8) had his way with Ridgway senior Shane Munson (5-5) before getting the fall at 4:45 to give the lead back to Clearfield 16-15.
Coming off of a tech fall of Cliff Hill (9-21) at the Tool City Tournament earlier this year, Cody Sheasley (8-17) had to be considered a heavy favorite despite the records at 189. Somebody forgot to tell Hill as he posted his second big win of the week. Hill wore down the Ridgway senior to earn the 7-4 win that set the team score at 19-15.
Andre Buck (19-16) faced off with Jake Thompson (11-12) at 215. Buck rode Thompson the entire second period, turning him to his back for three crucial near fall points that proved to be the difference in a 6-3 Buck victory.
The most anticipated match of the night was finally upon us. Undefeated returning state champion Sean Owen (33-0) of Clearfield versus 29-1 Joe Chittester of Ridgway. After a scoreless first period, the two big fellas traded escapes to set the score at 1-1 in the middle of the third period. There, Owen, the aggressor the whole match, notched the winning takedown for a hard fought 3-1 win. Owen’s career record now stands at 126-26, third on Clearfield’s all-time win list.
The unexpected four match sweep through the heavyweights set the team score at 25-15 Clearfield.
Clearfield appeared to have the match well in hand as 103 pounder Shane Peters (25-11) was about to revenge his early season 3-1 loss to Corey Bush (24-5), when all of a sudden, Bush reversed and pinned the Bison sophomore right before the buzzer to bring Ridgway within reach at 25-21.
Despite the unexpected win and swing in momentum, that proved to be the final points on the night for the host Elkers as Clearfield swept the final four matches and made the end anticlimactic.
(26-10) Kodie Lowder held off (21-11) Kyle Caggiano 9-6 at 112.
Andrew Spicer (20-13) rode Slade Horner (15-12) for what seemed like the whole match in his 5-0 win at 119.
Andrew Hill (14-15) and Jeff Slattery (20-9) certainly went the distance in their match, as it took Hill until the 9th minute to get a reversal and win a 3-1 grudge match.
Ridgway had no one to send out to face Bison senior Holden Lowe (31-5) at 130, setting the final team score at 40-21 Clearfield.
The Bisons and Elkers will be off until the weekend of February 20 and 21 when they will both try to win titles at the District IX Championships at Clarion University.
135 Harper, C fall Mitchell, R 3:00 (6-0)
140 Pisani, R fall T Danver, C 1:13 (6-6)
145 D Danver, C maj dec Dornisch, R 17-7 (10-6)
152 S Skraba, R dec Beauseigneur, C 7-2 (10-9)
160 Zelcs, R fall Shadeck, C 2:34 (10-15)
171 Hall, C fall Munson, R 4:45 (16-15)
189 C Hill, C dec C Sheasley, R 7-4 (19-15)
215 Buck, C dec Thompson, R 6-3 (22-15)
285 Owen, C dec Chittester, R 3-1 (25-15)
103 Bush, R fall Peters, C 5:59 (25-21)
112 Lowder, C dec Caggiano, R 9-6 (28-21)
119 Spicer, C dec. Horner, R 5-0 (31-21)
125 A Hill, C dec Slattery, R 3-1 SV (34-21)
130 Lowe, C forfeit (40-21)