Clearfield Grapplers Secure Thrilling Comeback Win; Thousands Raised for Whitehead Foundation

With her mom over her right shoulder and dad over her left, Emily Whitehead holds the ceremonial check that will go to her foundation. Check presenters were former PSU wrestlers Morgan McIntosh and Jordan Conaway

PHILIPSBURG — After an amazing pre-match tribute to Emily Whitehead – and to the foundation in her name, dedicated to saving the lives of children – there was a strong chance that the actual Clearfield Bison-Philipsburg-Osceola dual meet would be anticlimactic. For much of the night, it looked like an easy win for the home squad. However, a late stampede of Bison pins brought Clearfield all the way back. In a match that will be long remembered by everyone in attendance, the Clearfield Bison overcame a 29-12 deficit to win 34-33 on Criteria D (most 6-point wins).

Before the meet, a short video was played detailing the journey of young Ms. Whitehead, and how the revolutionary T-cell treatment saved her life. Her father Tom told the audience about the mission of the Whitehead Foundation – to provide funds for other children in Emily’s situation, allowing them access to the same treatment. Whether you were rooting for the Mounties or the Bison, it was clear that the real winners were those kids able to get a fighting chance thanks to the Whitehead Foundation’s grants.

Once the match got underway, the inspired Mounties jumped all over Clearfield early. Starting at 113 pounds, Chase Chapman pinned Jon Thomas in 3:02. P-O’s Noah Clark, only 3-16 coming in, completely dominated Cole Smay at 120 – securing a technical fall, 17-2, in only 2:41, giving the Mounties an 11-0 start to the  match.

As he has so often lately, Clearfield’s Matt Ryan stopped the bleeding with a 5:47 fall over Noah Twoey. The teams then traded wins over the next four weights. Mounties Landon McDonald and Levi Hughes added nine team points to P-O’s ledger, while Clearfield’s Caleb Freeland and Hunter Wright scratched out hard-fought decisions for the Bison, setting the score at 20-12 at the intermission of the evening’s festivities.

The tide appeared to tun in favor of Philipsburg at 160 and 170, as Ian Klinger edged Thayne Morgan and Kyle Taylor pinned Jarrett McCracken. At that point, the Bison were down 17, 29-12, with only five more bouts to go – and PO’s best wrestler waiting at 220.

Steven Sawyer kept Clearfield’s faint hopes alive with a 5-2 win over Josh Hubler, and standout Bison Luke McGonigal followed that with a quick 44-second fall at 195 to narrow the gap to eight points. If P-O’s Micah Sidorick could have secured a fall at 220, the dual meet would have been settled…but despite being ‘outgunned’, Clearfield’s Avry Gisewhite wrestled tough and stayed off his back, giving up only a 12-2 major decision and giving the Bison a chance with two bouts to go.

At 285 Trae Kitko and Jordan Smith squared off for the second time in a week. Smith pinned Kitko at the Ultimate Warrior tournament last Saturday, but this time Kitko patiently waited for an opening – and with the score 2-2, he found it and took Smith straight to his back, and pinned him in 5:28.

That left the entire match in the hands of Clearfield’s Peyton Smay and P-O’s Jason Franchock. Franchock secured the openng takedown, but when Smay reversed Franchock to his back – and kept him there for over 45 seconds – it appeared a Bison fall was inevitable. However, Franchock fought hard and managed to avoid the pin at the buzzer. In the second period, Smay once again reversed Franchock to his back – and this time he secured the fall, and the team win, at 3:12.

Clearfield freshman Peyton Smay secured the victory with this fall (Photo by Lasting Image Photography)

After the referee certified the win for Clearfield, it was announced that the ‘Take Down Cancer’ event raised over $13,500 for the Whitehead Foundation. After two years at P-O, Clearfield will host the third annual ‘Take Down Cancer’ meet next season at the Weiss Gym.

Clearfield improved to 7-8 with the win, and will compete in the District Duals at DuBois, against the host team, Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Bout by bout results:

113: Chapman(PO) pinned Thomas(C) 3:02 0-6
120: Clark(PO) TF C Smay(C) 17-2 2:41 0-11
126: Ryan(C) pinned Twoey(PO) 5:47 6-11
132: McDonald(PO) dec. Pallo(C) 12-6 6-14
138: Freeland(C) dec. Beauseigneur(PO) 6-3 9-14
145: Hughes(PO) pinned Cordon(C) 2:28 9-20
152: Wright(C) dec. Shimmel(PO) 3-2 12-20
160: Klinger(PO) dec. T Morgan(C) 12-6 12-23
170: Taylor(PO) pinned McCracken(C) :53 12-29
182: Sawyer(C) dec. Hubler(PO) 15-29
195: McGonigal(C) pinned Anderson(PO) :44 21-29
220: Sidorick(PO) maj. Gisewhite(C) 12-2 21-33
285: Kitko(C) pinned Smith(PO) 5:28 27-33
106: P Smay(C) pinned Franchock(PO) 3:12 33-33                                                                                                                         Criteria D (most 6-point wins)                        33-34

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/09 & 10 Top Hat Tourney @ Williamsport 82 pts. 14th place
12/13 @ Bald Eagle Area 27 – 45 0 – 1
12/15 DUBOIS 24 – 43 0 – 2
12/20 CENTRAL 45 – 30 1 – 2
12/22 PUNXSUTAWNEY 59 – 18 2 – 2
01/04 @ Penns Valley 30 – 37 2 – 3
01/06 & 07 Tool City Tourney @ Meadville 97 pts. 10th place
01/10 HUNTINGDON ppd. 2 – 3
01/12 ST. MARYS 30 – 33 2 – 4
01/17 @ Bellefonte 19 – 46 2 – 5
01/21 CLEARFIELD BISON DUALS    
01/21 vs. Belle Vernon 31 – 42 2 – 6
01/21 vs. Altoona 24 – 42 2 – 7
01/21 vs. Port Allegany 45 – 20 3 – 7
01/21 vs. West Branch 42 – 28 4 – 7
01/21 vs. Williamsport 44 – 33 5 – 7
01/25 @ Tyrone 63 – 18 6 – 7
01/26 HUNTINGDON 33 – 40 6 – 8
01/27 & 28 @ West Branch Tourney 118 pts. 7th place
02/02 @ Philipsburg-Osceola 34 – 33 7 – 8
02/04 District 4/9 Team Duals @ DuBois HS  
02/04 vs. DuBois    
02/25 District 4/9 Champs @ Clfd HS    
03/03 & 04 Northwest Regionals @ Altoona    
03/09-11 PIAA States @ Hershey    
GANT Police Blotter
Bison Wrestlers to Compete at District Duals Saturday

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