HERSHEY — The remaining Clearfield Bison wrestlers continued their sucessful roll through the post season by winning three out of four matches at the PIAA AAA State Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Neither of their first round matches were easy, but seniors Christian Stone at 132 and Nolan Barger at 145 managed to advance to Friday’s 1:30 pm quarterfinals.
Stone (34-2) needed a late takedown and back points to upend North Penn’s Joey O’Brien (26-7) 6-3. Stone gave up the opening takedown but escaped to a 2-1 deficit heading to the second period. Another Stone escape tied the match at 2-2 as they went to the final period. Down 3-2, Stone then took O’Brien down and right to his back for a four-point move that set the final score in dramatic fashion.
Not the usual high-scoring affair that Barger fans have become accustomed to this post season, as Barger (36-1) eked out a 1-0 win over Big Spring’s Gregory Warner (24-8). Barger’s second period escape was the difference in the match.
Fellow senior Dylan Graham (33-6) ran into a buzzsaw at 126 in one of the pre-meet favorites when he faced undefeated Kyle Krasavage (39-0) of Wyoming Valley West. Krasavage showed why he is expected to be near the top of the medal stand on Saturday night as he wasted little time in pinning Graham in 1:48.
With his season, and career, on the line in the first round of consolations Graham manhandled Pennsbury’s Josh DiSanto (38-5) 11-6. Graham will now await a quarterfinal loser to determine his second round consolation opponent, which begins at approximately 3:15 Friday afternoon. A win there would assure Graham at least a top-8 spot and a medal.
Stone and Barger know their next opponents in the quarterfinals. Stone will wrestle Ethan Kenney (31-6), a Southwest Region champ from Connellsville and Barger will face the Southwest third place finisher from Hampton, Kevin Synan (38-7).
A win in the quarters would assure Stone and Barger at least a top-6 finish. A loss would put them in the second round of consolations with teammate Graham.
Clearfield sits in a respectable 27th place with five team points. Parkland leads the team race with 17 points.
Other winners from District 9 were DuBois’ Shae Bloom at 106, Tom Sleigh at 170, and Landon Hanna at 195 and Punxsutawney’s Kaleb Young at 126.
Complete results from Hershey courtesy the PIAA: http://www.escapesports.com/2013-PIAA/