Clearfield Wins District 9 Team Wrestling Championship, 29-28

2016 District 9 Team Wrestling Champions (Photo by Dave Glass)

2016 District 9 Team Wrestling Champions (Photo by Dave Glass)

DUBOIS — The Clearfield wrestling team has had an outstanding season, one of the best in recent memory, but they had one disappointing result: a 49-15 loss at St. Mary’s in January. Head Coach Jeff Aveni wanted to see a better effort Saturday at the District 9 Duals, and his squad certainly did not disappoint in downing the Dutchmen 29-28, winning by Criteria H (most total first points scored).

“It helped that they had a couple guys out of the lineup”, said Clearfield head coach Jeff Aveni. ”I still don’t think this was our best performance. St. Mary’s has been there before and they were very hungry. They wrestled really well today…that was an outstanding high school dual meet. You can’t take anything away from either side.”

The first match of the day for Clearfield was a semifinal showdown with DuBois, and as they had earlier in the season the Bison easily dispatched the Beavers, this time by a score of 57-15, setting up the rematch with St. Mary’s.

The championship dual meet started at 182 with Bison sophomore sensation Luke McGonigal ‘bumping up’ to face junior Christian Steffan. McGonigal led throughout, but Steffan was game and closed with a flourish to make the final 8-7 in favor of McGonigal. “Steffan is a quality wrestler, regional semi-finalist last year, and Luke was giving up weight to him. I thought Luke made some mistakes late to make it closer than it needed to be, but he wrestled tough early on”, said Aveni.

The match at 195 between Clearfield’s Levi Wisor and Dutchman Mitchell Cashmer was perhaps the most exciting of the day. Wisor took a 2-0 lead after one period, but Cashmer dominated the second to tie the score 4-4. Wisor scored a quick escape, but looked to be in trouble after allowing a takedown and a caution penalty point. However, he scored a late reversal to force overtime. Unfortunately, he was too quick on a shot at the starting whistle, and was thus penalized for his fourth caution violation of the match, giving Cashmer the OT win 8-7. “I think we could have gotten the last takedown without jumping the start, that was a bad penalty to take there, but Levi was working hard”, said Aveni.

At 220, senior standout Travis Ogden faced a tough customer in DJ Salinas – but as we’ve seen so often this season, Ogden wore the bigger man down after an early deficit, riding Salinas out for the entire third period to secure a 3-2 win.

The teams traded falls the next two bouts, as Nate Lash flattened Ray Kline in 3:50 at 285; while at 106 Tyler Dilley made short work of Bison Cole Smay in 46 seconds.

Clearfield was looking for a different result at 113 and 120, but history repeated itself as Hayden Tettis downed Matt Ryan 4-2, the same exact score as the prior dual meet – while at 120 Cameron Winters once again defeated Jude Pallo 8-2.

The Bison picked up a crucial forfeit at 126 before the two biggest Bison wins of the day. Both ‘Si’ McClarren and Logan Gilbert lost close matches at St. Mary’s a month ago, but they showed excellent senior leadership on this day. McLarren won 7-2 over Cameron Resch, and Gilbert made a second period reversal stand up, defeating Garrett Cook 2-0. “Those wins were absolutely huge”, said Aveni.

Coach Aveni then made a bold move, inserting junior Thayne Morgan in to the lineup for his first varsity action of the season. Morgan did not disappoint, as he dominated freshman Cole Mattivi with a 10-0 major decision. “I know they are JV bouts, but Thayne is 7-0 in his last seven bouts, all wins by fall. He’s been wrestling well. I threw him into a high pressure situation and he came through”, said Aveni.

Tallin Norris lost to Kyle Pecht at 152 by major decision 13-2, but there was a hidden victory there for the Bison senior – he did not get pinned. Coach Aveni praised the effort, saying “I’ve gotta have someone to save points there. If he gets pinned, it’s over. Tallin did his job. I felt Tallin was the only kid tough enough to fight off Pecht and not get pinned there.”

Zane Morgan had a chance to end the match at 160, but he came up just short against Brandon Cherry, losing 6-4.

The stage was set for a huge bout between sophomore Hunter Wright and sophomore Zack Becker at 170. Down six points and with the tiebreaker situation unknown, St. Mary’s only shot was a fall. Becker went out very aggressively and attempted to throw Wright, but instead put himself on his back for the first takedown of the match – which would prove crucial. The wrestlers traded reversals and Wright fought valiantly off his back twice, but in the second period Becker found the pinning combination and sent the St. Mary’s faithful into a frenzy with a fall at 2:56. “Hunter Wright is a gutsy kid”, said Aveni.

Then as Tom Petty sang, ‘the waiting is the hardest part’. With the teams dead-even in match wins, 6-point, 4-point, and 3-point decisions, it came down to Criteria H, which reads ‘the team having the greater number (total match points) of first-point(s) scored shall be declared the winner’.

After about 10 minutes of crunching the numbers, and thanks to Wright’s early takedown, Clearfield led in this category 14-10 and was thus declared the victors. Had Wright not scored the first takedown, the next criteria was total nearfall points – a category which favored St. Mary’s.

“I’m just so thrilled for these guys”, said Aveni. “We have a big senior class, they’ve been with me a long time, it’s very rewarding for them”.

Clearfield (14-3) returns to action Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in the PIAA State Team Wrestling Championships at The Giant Center in Hershey, facing the powerful District 1 champion Boyertown Bears (18-0).

Bout by Bout Results:

182  Luke McGonigal, C decisioned Christian Steffen, S  8-7             3 – 0

195  Mitchell Cashmer, S decisioned Levi Wisor, C  8-7 ot                 3 – 3

220  Travis Ogden, C decisioned DJ Salinas, S  3-2                            6 – 3

285  Nate Lash, C pinned Ray Kline, S  3:50                                       12 – 3

106  Tyler Dilley, S pinned Cole Smay, C  :46                                     12 – 9

113  Hayden Tettis, S decisioned Matt Ryan, C  4-2                          12 – 12

120  Cameron Winters, S decisioned Jude Pallo, C  8-2                  12 – 15

126  Hunter Blake, C FORFEIT                                                              18 – 15

132  Josiah McClarren, C decisioned Cameron Resch, S  7-2       21 – 15

138  Logan Gilbert, C decisioned Garrett Cook  2-0                          24 – 15

145  Thayne Morgan, C major decisioned Cole Mattivi, S  10-0     28 – 15

152  Kyle Pecht, S major decisioned Tallin Norris, C 13-2              28 – 19

160  Brandon Cherry, S decisioned Zane Morgan, C  6-4              28 – 22

170  Zack Becker, S pinned Hunter Wright, C 2:56                          28 – 28

*- Clearfield wins on Criteria H (most first points scored)

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/04 & 05 Top Hat Tourney @ Williamsport 150.5 pts 4th Place
12/08 BALD EAGLE AREA 46 – 26 1 – 0
12/15 @ Central 54 – 18 2 – 0
12/17 @ Punxsutawney 69 – 9 3 – 0
12/22 @ DuBois 51 – 20 4 – 0
01/05 PENNS VALLEY 58 – 20 5 – 0
01/08 & 09 Tool City Tourney @ Meadville 162.5 pts 2nd place
01/12 @ Huntingdon ppd. 5 – 0
01/14 @ St. Marys 15 – 49 5 – 1
01/19 BELLEFONTE 45 – 24 6 – 1
01/23 CLEARFIELD BISON DUALS
01/23 vs. Port Allegany 57 – 16 7 – 1
01/23 vs. James M. Coughlin 63 – 15 8 – 1
01/23 vs. General McLane 46 – 21 9 – 1
01/23 vs. Curwensville 64 – 15 10 – 1
01/23 vs. Montoursville 13 – 57 10 – 2
01/26 TYRONE 75 – 6 11 – 2
01/29 & 30 @ West Branch Tourney 185 pts. 1st place
02/02 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 51 – 23 12 – 2
02/04 @ Huntingdon 36 – 38 12 – 3
02/06 District 9 Team Duals @ DuBois HS
02/06 vs. DuBois 57 – 15 13 – 3
02/06 vs. St. Marys 29-28 14 – 3
02/11 PIAA Team States
02/11 vs. Boyertown
02/26 & 27 District 9 Champs @ Clfd HS
03/04 & 05 Northwest Regionals @ Altoona
03/10-03/12 PIAA States @ Hershey

Bison Roll Past Rival Golden Tide 72-39
Moshannon Valley Damsels Top Lady Tide 62-42

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