WILLIAMSPORT — As in years past, the Clearfield Bison wrestling team will open their season in the Williamsport Area High School at the 43rd Annual Top Hat Tournament.
Coming off of a stellar 2015-16 campaign that saw the Bison post a 15-5 record, win the District 9 Team Dual Championship, and the District 4-9 team title, the 2016-17 edition will have several new faces in the line-up.
The line-up for the opening weekend looks like this: 106 – Peyton Smay (freshman), 113 – Johnathan Thomas (sophomore), 120 – Cole Smay (sophomore), 126 – Matt Ryan (junior), 132 – Jude Pallo (sophomore), 138 – Quenten Edwards (junior), 145 – Jacob Carter (senior), 152 – Hunter Wright (junior), 160 – Thayne Morgan (senior), 170 – Zane Morgan (senior), 182 – Luke McGonigal (junior), 195 – Steven Sawyer (senior), 220 – Hunter Bumbarger (senior), 285 – Avery Gisewhite (sophomore).
Last year the Bison placed fourth out of 20 teams and have five placewinners returning.
They will be led once again by two-time state qualifier and returning Top Hat champion Luke McGonigal. First at 170 a year ago, after a sixth place finish as a freshman, McGonigal is the top seed at 182 this year. After a 38-5 record as a sophomore, McGonigal takes a 64-18 career record, with a good chance at passing the 100-win barrier as a junior and the all-time win record (136) as a senior.
Hunter Bumbarger, 13-13 a year ago, placed sixth at the 2015 Top Hat and is a second seed this year.
Matt Ryan (23-18, 34-37 overall) placed fourth at 106 last year as a sophomore, but is up three weight classes for this year’s tourney. Also up three weight classes, to 132, is last year’s fifth pace finisher at 113, Jude Pallo (19-20).
Senior Zane Morgan (17-22) placed sixth last year at 160 and is up one weight class for this year’s tourney.
The Bison will once again be led by Jeff Aveni, in his 17th year at the helm.