ALTOONA — The Clearfield wrestling team did not have an easy go of it during the opening session of the AAA Northwest Regional tourney at Altoona Area High School Field House Friday night.
Only two wrestlers reached Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. semifinals, while nine more will have to take the long road back through the consolations to finish in the top-3 and qualify for the PIAA State Wrestling Championships in Hershey next week.
Sophomore 170 pounder Luke McGonigal had the easiest night of the 11 Bison competitors. McGonigla (35-2) had a bye in the opening round and then faced Altoona’s Parker McClellan (25-11) in the quarterfinals. McGonigal worked for the opening takedown, but gave up a penalty point for interlocking and held a slim 2-1 lead after one period. McGonigal tilted McClellan twice in the second period for a little breathing room and a 7-1 lead heading in to the final period. A reversal and two more nearfall points set the final at 11-1.
McGonigal, the District 4-9 champ, will face General McLane’s District 10 champion Ethan Laird (33-3) in Saturday’s semifinals. Laird has dealt McGonigal his only two losses on the season.
At 195, Bison senior Travis Ogden (36-1) won two matches to reach the semis. First he faced Erie McDowell’s Michael Kurelowech (11-14). In a bout that was stopped several times for blood and injury timeouts for Kurelowech, Ogden was able to roll to a 13-2 major decision.
Next up was State College’s Cory Dreibelbis (24-5), who received a bye before facing Ogden. Dreibelbis had scored 21 points the last two years while beating Ogden twice at this very tournament. Third time was the charm for Ogden, as he shut out his nemesis 3-0 on the strength of a first period takedown, second period escape, and a third period ride out.
District 4-9 champ Ogden will meet the District 10 champion Ian Malesiewski (20-3) from Cathedral Prep in the semis.
Two Bison seniors, Hunter Blake at 126 and Josiah McClarren at 132, won their opening round matches, but were then sent to the second round of consolations, which begin at approximately 11:00 a.m. Saturday, after losses in the quarterfinals.
Blake (22-14) picked up a first period fall over Carrick’s Matt O’Connor (18-13) and then lost by a 4-0 score to the District 10 champion, Brett Mallory (23-12) of General McLane. Blake will meet Titusville’s James Johnson (13-15) in second round consy action.
McClarren was dominant in his opening round 9-4 win over Zachary Price (7-13) of State College. In the quarterfinals, District 10 champion TaNauz Gregory (14-2) of Cathedral Prep built up a 5-0 lead after two periods, but McClarren, who never quits, fought back to an 8-4 loss and was the aggressor to the very end.
McClarren will meet the winner of the DeQuay Johnson (10-14) from Perry vs. Bryce Burgess (17-15) from Shikellamy match in the wrestleback’s second round. McClarren beat Burgess 4-0 during the District 4-9 semifinals last week.
Three of the Bisons who lost their opening round match then received byes in to the second round of consies as well.
Freshman Jude Pallo (19-19) was sent to the consies by Bellefonte’s Shafiq Blake (22-10) by a 5-3 mark. Blake, who defeated Pallo earlier in the year 12-5, gave up the bout’s first takedown, but scored the next five points to squeak by Pallo.
Pallo will meet Williamsport’s Izek Brooks (21-8) next. Brooks defeated Pallo 9-3 in last week’s District 4-9 consolation finals.
145 pound senior Tallin Norris (20-20) was tech-falled by General McLane’s Briggs Twitchell (31-7) in the opening round and will meet Philipsburg-Osceola’s Dakota Weitosh (27-9) in Saturday’s second consolation round. Weistosh owns a 5-0 record against Norris, including a pin in this year’s dual meet.
Sohomore Hunter Wright (11-15) put up a nice fight in his opening round 14-6 loss to Cathedral Prep’s Luigi Yates (27-5), and will meet a familiar foe in St. Marys’ Brandon Cherry (12-16). Cherry defeated Wright 8-3 in last week’s District 4-9 consolation final.
Four other Bison went 0-1 on the night, giving Clearfield a 5-9 opening session record overall, and will need to wrestle in Saturday morning’s 9:30 a.m. opening consolation round.
106 pound sophomore Matt Ryan (22-17) was soundly beaten 17-1 by Prep’s Brady Sittinger (27-4), and will look to keep his season alive by beating Bald Eagle Area’s Garret Geidroc (12-14) in his consy match. Ryan pinned Geidroc in the December dual meet.
Levi Wisor (22-16) was pinned in the second period by Brandon Wilson (25-9) of Mifflin County, and now will try to extend his senior season when he meets Michael Kisnor (1-21) of Perry.
Junior 220 pounder Hunter Bumbarger (13-12) was pinned by District 6 champion Noah Worley (21-7) of Hollidaysburg and will face Titusville’s Logan Nosko (14-14) on Saturday morning.
Nate Lash (27-13) had to face replacement wrestler Dave Hess (19-13) from Altoona in his first match. Hess, the fifth place finisher from District 6, took the place of the injured Bryce Bitner of Central Mountain and took full advantage of his opportunity by picking up a late penalty point in regulation to force over-time, and then scored a sudden victory over Lash with a takedown late in the fourth period. Hess then went on to win his quarterfinal match as well!
Lash will try to begin his long run to a medal with an opening round consolation win over Perry’s Malik Townsend (4-12).
After the first night of wrestling, the Bison, with 16 team points, sit tied for 11th place with St. Marys in the 30-team field. Cathedral Prep with nine semifinalists leads the race with 53.5 points, followed by Mifflin County’s 41 points and six semifinalists.
Complete results can be found here courtesy Flowrestling.