CLARION — Winners of the last three District 9 Class AAA Wrestling Championships, the Clearfield Bison wrestling team was looking for its fourth consecutive title on Saturday at the Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium on the campus of Clarion University.
Unfortunately, their title bid fell short as they were outscored 163.5 to 158 by the DuBois Beavers to force the Bisons to settle for second place.
The Bisons and Beavers each crowned four individual champions, but DuBois was able to earn one more runner-up and one more third placer to advance 11 to the Northwest Regional versus Clearfield’s nine qualifiers. Thus the narrow victory for the Beavers.
Claiming their second district titles for the Bisons were Christian Stone, Nolan Barger, and Cliff Hill.
Picking up his first title was Shane Peters.
Three Bison wrestlers fell short in the finals to bring home silver – Andrew Hill, Derek Danver, and Jordan Lancaster.
Qualifying for regionals by winning the lose-or-go home third place matches were Shane Harper and Cody Lansberry.
At 103 senior Shane Peters (28-3) was seeded first and received a free pass to the finals. Once there he made short work of DuBois’ Bryce Swauger (21-11), pinning him in 2:14. Leading 5-2 heading into the second period, Peters reversed off of the bottom and picked up the fall in only 14 seconds.
Up a weight class this year, returning champ Christian Stone (29-3) at 112 had no problems reaching the finals after he tech falled Joel Bowers of Punxsutawney 16-1 in the semis. Stone, only a sophomore looking for his second title, recorded takedowns in each period and only gave up two escapes to defeat DuBois’ Anthony Vizza (18-9) 8-2.
Fellow sophomore Nolan Barger (27-7) had the toughest road to the finals of Clearfield’s champs. In the semifinals Barger faced off with Punxsutawney’s Neko Capella, a rematch of last year’s 125 pound district final which Barger won 3-0. Capella (28-6) recorded the opening take down this year, but it was all Barger after that. Barger eventually earned the fall in 5:22 to set up his finals match with number one seed Zach Britton (23-4) of Bradford. Scoreless after the opening period, Barger escaped in the second to lead 1-0 heading into the final two minutes. There Britton made the mistake of picking bottom, because all it got him was cradled for three points and a 4-0 loss.
In an exciting and high scoring match in the 215 pound final Cliff Hill (24-4) went toe-to-toe with fellow senior Jimmy Antobelli (23-8) of St. Marys. After both wrestlers were in a bit of danger in the first period, the match went to the second period tied at four. Hill grabbed a 9-6 lead during the middle period before starting on top in the third. After hooking up a cradle and a 12-6 lead, Hill eventually pancaked, headlocked and pinned Antobelli at the 5:33 mark. Hill disposed of DuBois’ Austin Carr in 44 seconds in his semifinal match.
At 140 pounds senior Andrew Hill (16-13) lost 3-0 to Bradford’s Matt Ostrander (29-6). Junior heavyweight Jordan Lancaster (7-18) was pinned in the first period by senior Kevin Hoy (25-10) of St. Marys.
The 171 pound final featured the third bout of the year between Bison senior Derek Danver (29-7) and DuBois junior Joe Morrison (18-2). Danver had defeated Morrison in the opening dual meet of the year 7-2 and in the District 9 team wrestling duals 3-2 to wrap up the title for the Bisons.
Morrison recorded the only takedown of the match as he returned the 3-2 score of their previous match in his favor. After leading 2-1 after the first period, Morrison and Danver traded escapes to set the final. Danver was in search of his third district title.
Earning their fourth district titles were Punxsutawney’s Kody Young and Bradford’s Mark Havers, who also picked up his third AAA outstanding wrestler award.
In the final tally, DuBois led with 11 regional qualifiers followed by Clearfield’s nine and Punxsutawney’s eight. St. Marys and Bradford each advanced seven grapplers to Friday’s Northwest Region AAA Tournament at Altoona Area High School.
The other champions were DuBois’ Garrett Brown at 119, Tom Sleigh at 135, and Chris Powers at 145. St. Marys’ two other champions were Michael Brennen at 160 and Joe McLaughlin at 189.
The full results can be seen on the www.crossfacewrestling.net website. Or here:http://crossfacewrestling.net/Documents/2011%20District%20IX%20Class%20AAA%20Tournament%20Finals%20Results.pdf