MORRISDALE — The Clearfield Bison wrestling team had a solid first night at the 28-team Ultimate Warrior Invitational at West Branch High School.
After sending two wrestlers in to Saturday morning’s semifinals and seven in to the consolation quarterfinals, the defending team champion Bison are tied for ninth place in the team standings with Mifflin County at 68 points. They are only a half point behind the Philipsburg-Osceola Mounties, a point behind the Ridgway Elkers, and four points from the sixth place Moshannon Valley Black Knights. Shippensburg holds a slim 99 to 98.5 lead over Altoona at the top of the team race.
At 182, top seed Luke McGonigal (23-1) had a bye and two falls to reach the semis. There he will face the number four seed, Brad Smith of Marion Center. McGonigal was the champion at 170 pounds in the inaugural Ultimate Warrior tourney last year.
The number six seed at 145 pounds, Hunter Wright (21-9) also picked up two falls to reach the semifinals. In Wright’s quarterfinal match, he found himself down 2-0 and in the top position heading in to the final period against Altoona’s Kobe Harr, who had beaten Wright 11-3 just last Saturday at the Bison Duals. It only took Wright 12 seconds from the top to lock up a cradle and record the fall in stunning fashion. Wright will next face the number two seed, Tyler Wileman of Juniata, in his quest for a finals appearance.
With each of the 14 weight classes down to 12 competitors after the first day of action, the seven Bisons alive in the wrestlebacks are just one win from medaling with a top-8 finish.
At 113, Cole Smay (8-11) was beaten once and received a consy bye to move on.
Matt Ryan (19-9) was dealt a 3-2 loss in the quarterfinals and was dropped straight to the consolation quarters at 120.
138 pounder Caleb Freeland (10-12) went 1-1 in the championship bracket before picking up two wins in consy action to move on. The same could be said for 152er Thayne Morgan (12-11) and 170 pounder Steven Sawyer (10-11). All went 3-1 on the evening.
Avry Gisewhite (8-15) received a bye then lost his first match at 220, but picked up two falls in the wrestlebacks to advance. And heavyweight Trae Kitko (9-2) also received a first round round bye, then won his opening bout before being pinned by the number one seed in the quarterfinals.
The number five seed at 160, Zane Morgan was unable to compete due to the shoulder injury he sustained in the dual meet versus Huntingdon Thursday night. He was replaced by Jarrett McCracken (2-3), who went 1-2 on the night.
Jude Pallo (8-14) at 126 also went 1-2, while Peyton Smay (8-13) at 106 and Quentin Edwards (3-14) each bowed out at 0-2.
Action begins Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. with the consolation quraterfinals, followed by the semifinals at about 11:00 a.m. The medal matches are slated for 3:30, and the Parade of Champions and championship finals are to begin about 5:30.
Click here for complete bracket results courtesy Escape Sports.