ALTOONA — After the dust settled on Saturday night at the Altoona Area High School Field House, the Clearfield Bison wrestling team will be represented by two qualifiers for the PIAA AAA State Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.
Winning the silver medal and earning his first trip to states was 195 pound senior Travis Ogden, while bronze medalist sophomore Luke McGonigal at 170 pounds will be making his second post-season trip to the state finals.
In the 195 pound championship finals Ogden (37-2) ran in to Mifflin County’s District 6 champion Trey Hartsock (33-4), the defending region champ and seventh place medalist from last year’s state tourney. Hartsock breezed to the finals with two major decisions and a fall in the semis, but the finals victory wasn’t so easy.
Hartsock managed to secure the first two points of the bout with just less than 10 seconds remaining in the opening period when he took Ogden down. Hartsock then chose bottom to start the second where he picked up two more points via a reversal. Several times Ogden came within a whisper of turning Hartsock to his back, but Hartsock fought it off each time and took a 4-0 lead in to the final period. Ogden chose down for the final period, but Hartsock wisely handed Ogden an uncontested escape, so he could start the period in the neutral position as opposed to being down on the mat, Ogden’s best position. Ogden couldn’t penetrate Hartsock’s defense, and the final score ended 6-2 after Hartsock picked up another late period takedown and Ogden quickly escaped.
Ogden reached the finals with an 8-2 decision over District 10 champion Ian Malesiewski (20-4). Ogden gave up the opening takedown, but scored the bout’s final eight points and will now take his 95-17 career record to Hershey as the Northwest Region runner-up.
Up three weight classes from last year, McGonigal (37-3) eventually ended up with the same placing, third, as he did as a 145 pound freshman. Last year, McGonigal lost in the quarterfinals and ran off four consy wins for his ticket to Hershey.
This year McGonigal made it to the semifinals, were he was dealt a 3-1 overtime loss to General McLane’s District 10 champion Ethan Laird (34-4). Laird has handed McGonigal all three of his losses on the season, but the result keeps getting closer each time.
McGonigal kept his consolation record at regionals unscathed as he repeated his third place performance of a year ago.
In the consolation semifinals McGonigal met Williamsport’s Toren Potts (26-12), whom McGonigal had defeated in the District 4-9 championship a week ago. The results was the same, as McGonigal broke open a close match with a five point third period to win 9-1.
In the consolation finals, and a trip to states on the line, the opponent was District 10 runner-up Ryan Dailey (23-13) of Erie McDowell. After a scoreless opening period McGonigal escaped in the second to take a 1-0 lead in to the bout’s final two minutes. Dailey escaped to even the match at one all. McGonigal scored the bout’s first takedown with 30 seconds remaining, but Dailey escaped with 10 seconds left. McGonigal fought off the final takedown attempt by Dailey to win 3-2 and will take his two-year record of 63-16 to Hershey.
Falling a couple of bouts short of their goal and a trip to states were seniors Hunter Blake (23-15) at 126, Josiah McClarren (26-16) at 132 and Nate Lash (29-14) at 285.
Blake won a 5-0 second round consolation bout over James Johnson (13-15) of Titusville, but was beaten 12-2 by eventual third placer Bryce Bennett (25-12) of Philipsburg-Osceola in the consy quarters.
McClarren defeated Shikellamy’s Bryce Burgess (18-16) by an 8-0 major decision in the second round of wrestlebacks, but was then ousted 5-4 by Central Mountain’s Logan Long (23-16). McClarren, a four year starter for the Bison who improved his win total each year, finished his career with a 83-63 record.
After losing by a point in his opening match Friday night, Lash faced the long road back if he wanted to finish his career in Hershey. He got off to a good start by pinning his first two consy opponents, Perry’s Malik Towensend (4-13) in 4:13, and Carrick’s James Howard (19-13) in 3:36. However, in the consy semis the undersized Lash gave up about 70 pounds and a lone third period escape in a 1-0 loss to eventual third placer Hunter Gill (26-10). Lash, who didn’t wrestle in junior high, became a three-year letterman for the Bison and compiled a 60-40 career mark.
Two more of the nine Bison that suffered opening night defeats picked up consolation round wins before bowing out of the tourney.
106 pound sophomore Matt Ryan (23-18) defeated Bald Eagle Area’s Garrett Geidroc (12-15) 9-2, then was eliminated by Bellefonte’s Cole Stewart (28-8) in the second round of consolations. Ryan will take 34 varsity wins in to his junior season next year.
Senior Levi Wisor (23-17) saw his season and career end in the second round of consolations as well. Wisor had a 16 second fall over Perry’s Michael Kisnor (1-22) before losing by a single point 2-1 to Joshua Krieger (25-11) of Shikellamy to be bounced from the tourney.
Three Bisons received opening round consolation byes before being ousted in the second round.
113 pound freshman Jude Pallo (19-20) was pinned in 2:20 by Williamsport’s Izek Brooks (22-8), 145 pound senior Tallin Norris was upended 5-0 by eventual third place finisher Dakota Weitosh (31-9) of Philipsburg-Osceola, and 160 pound sophomore Hunter Wright (11-16) was dropped 8-4 by St. Marys’ Brandon Cherry (13-17).
Junior Hunter Bumbarger (13-13) was taken out by Logan Nosko (15-15) with a 2:19 fall.
The Bison ended up 9-11 on the second day, an improvement over their 5-9 first day, to finish with 50 team points and 11th place in the team standings. The eighth through 14th place teams were only separated by six points. Cathedral Prep, with their seven state qualifiers, edged out Mifflin County, despite four champions, 147.5 to 138.5.
Seven out of 10 returning regional champions managed to win again this year. They were Cole Manley (25-1) from Altoona at 126, Hayden Hidlay (36-1) from Mifflin County at 152, Kaleb Young (33-0) from Punxsutawney at 160, Noah Stewart (36-3) from Mifflin County at 170, Hartsock, Andrew Boob (28-2) from Selinsgrove at 220, and Joshua Fye (28-0) at 285.
Also winning titles were Geo Barzona (31-2) from Central Mountain at 106, Dalton Woodrow (34-5) from DuBois at 113, Noah Myers (16-8) from Mifflin County at 120, TaNauz Gregory (16-2) from Cathedral Prep at 132, Carter Starocci (25-4) from Cathedral Prep at 138, and Brock Port (34-1) of Bellefonte at 145.
Complete results courtesy Flowrestling can be found here.