Despite a Clearfield Loss, 3rd Annual Takedown Cancer Match A Huge Success

HYDE – Tuesday night was nothing short of breathtaking. The seats were packed. There were prizes, drawings, and auctions. A short video was played going over the details of Emily Whitehead’s journey as she defeated cancer. A giant check was presented. Oh yeah, there was a wrestling match, too! And to boot, it was senior night.

Bison seniors, from left to right are Josh Coulter, Luke McGonigal, Hunter Wright, Quentin Edwards, and Matt Ryan (Photo by HL)

After respecting the Bison seniors, the audience was presented with a short video that revisited Emily’s heroic journey she faced in 2012. Since defeating cancer, she has become a global sensation and an inspiration to millions. The coin toss was then thrown by Emily and the match started at 152.

Hunter Wright runs a mean arm bar and nearly gets a first period fall. (Photo by HL)

Bison junior Cole Smay (1-5) was pinned by Mountie senior Matt Johnson (13-4) in 1:27, but Bison senior Hunter Wright (22-9) returned the favor at 160 to tie the match at 6-6 after two matches. In Wright’s final dual meet in the Arthur Weiss Gymnasium, he gave the fans everything they had come to expect out of this talented young man. He used a low ankle single leg for a takedown and nearly pinned PO’s Matt Shimmel (5-6) with an arm bar in the first period. To start the second period, Wright used another takedown and ended the match in 3:41.

After a forfeit was given to PO at 170, Bison sophomore Brett Zattoni (4-12) nearly beat PO senior Mason Martin (1-3) at 182, but he just didn’t quite have it in him and he lost 3-2 off of a late takedown in the third period. Coach Aveni said “He did a pretty good job, but he just needs to get that edge where he tries to win the match.”

After that, Bison sophomore Brandon Daubs (2-10) ran into a buzzsaw with PO junior Brandon Anderson (22-5). Down 17-3, Daubs was pinned in the second period in 2:13. This made the match 21-6, Philipsburg.

Then Bison junior Avry Gisewhite (16-12) gutted out a 1-0 victory over Mountie sophomore Tyler Anderson (0-2). Avry came out very hot and aggressive, but he wasn’t able to throw Anderson. After getting an escape in the second period, Gisewhite rode out Anderson for the entire third period, when he used a cement job to put Anderson on his back as time expired. With another 10 seconds, he may well have earned himself a pin.

Luke McGonigal bumped up two weight classes and pinned his opponent in the first period. (Photo by HL)

Moving up to heavyweight for the night, Bison senior Luke McGonigal (27-0) wrestled a very solid Mountie senior Jordan Smith (17-8), and he made short work of Smith. McGonigal scored a takedown very easily, and then he used an arm bundle to put Smith on his back, getting the fall in 1:23. The match score was 21-15, Philipsburg after that. With the win, McGonigal is now only 10 wins away from becoming the all-time wins leader for Clearfield. Coach Aveni said he’s blessed to have had McGonigal in his room. “You get Pataky, Kyler, the Barger’s, Sean Owens, and McGonigal, you get these kids once in a lifetime. I’ve been blessed to have had as many as I’ve had. You go on some journeys and it’s fun.”

The Emily Whitehead Foundation rose $13,759.87. Emily is shown here holding up the check, supported by her friends and parents. (Photo by HL)

At this point, there was an intermission in the match as the winners of the auctions and raffles were announced. And at this point, Emily Whitehead was presented with the proceeds for the night which totaled $13,759.87. After tonight, the annual Takedown Cancer match has now donated $48,000 to the Whitehead Foundation.

Continuing the dual, Bison freshman Angelo Maines (8-17) was pinned in the first period by Mountie sophomore Nick Bryan (11-10) at 106, then Bison Peyton Smay (10-12) found himself in a bloodbath at 113. Smay was taken down by PO sophomore Aaron Foster (9-11) in the first period, but he battled back and got his own takedown in the third period. After Smay gave Foster an escape, he worked hard to get another takedown, but he couldn’t. “Smay was on his way to winning his match” said Aveni. “He just ran out of time.” This made the score 30-15, Philipsburg.

At 120 and 126, Bison juniors Kyler Rosinsky (1-2) and John Thomas (9-10) were each pinned. Then Bison junior Jude Pallo (15-13) avenged his loss on Saturday with a dominant performance over PO senior Noah Twoey (1-7). Pallo racked up three takedowns before pinning Twoey in 4:18. This made the match 30-21, Philipsburg.

Quentin Edwards continues to wrestle like it’s “lights out!” (Photo by HL)

Sudden superstar Bison senior Quentin Edwards (11-16) then had another excellent match against Mountie sophomore Alex Dunkelberger (3-4). “He’s been wrestling light’s out,” said Aveni. “Where’s he been the last three years?” Edwards looked dominant, using a go-behind for his first takedown, and then hitting a murderous headlock afterwards. In the second period, Edwards got a reversal right in to a half nelson and pinned Dunkelberger in 2:58.

To end the night, Bison sophomore Nate Barr (9-9) defeated Mountie junior Tristan Beauseigneur (4-9) with a 13-5 major decision. Barr used six takedowns and an escape to earn his victory.

Unfortunately for the Bison, the final score of the match tilted towards Philipsburg, 42-31, but Coach Aveni noted that his squad lost two matches by one point each that would have turned the final score in Clearfield’s favor. “I can’t be disappointed with our performance or our effort,” said Aveni. “A few of our guys are so close to turning a corner.”

With this match over, Clearfield ended its season 9-7. They will be back in action in three weeks when the post season begins at Clearfield Area High School, who are hosting individual districts again. It’s win or go home at this point, and Gant Daily will be there to cover all the stories that develop.

Bout by Bout Recap

Records as of 02/06/18

Bison Scoreboard:

Date Opponent Score Record
12/08 & 09 Top Hat Tourney @ Williamsport 112 pts. 8th
12/12 BALD EAGLE AREA 30 – 40 0 – 1
12/15 @ DuBois 8 – 53 0 – 2
12/19 @ Central 45 – 30 1 – 2
12/22 @ Punxsutawney 61 – 17 2 – 2
01/03 PENNS VALLEY 37 – 32 3 – 2
01/05 & 06 @ Tool City Tourney (Meadville) 84.5 pts. 14th place
01/09 @ Huntingdon 18 – 46 3 – 3
01/11 @ St. Marys 43 – 28 4 – 3
01/16 BELLEFONTE ppd. 4 – 3
01/17 BELLEFONTE 30 – 35 4 – 4
01/20 vs. Port Allegany 38 – 31 5 – 4
01/20 vs. Altoona 43 – 30 6 – 4
01/20 vs. Freedom 35 – 37 6 – 5
01/20 vs. Union City 42 – 28 7 – 5
01/20 vs. James M Coughlin 39 – 32 8 – 5
01/23 TYRONE 65 – 10 9 – 5
01/26 & 27 @ WB Ultimate Warrior Tourney 95 pts. 12th place
02/03 D9 Team Duals @ DuBois
02/03 vs. Shikellamy 25 – 48 9 – 6
02/06 Takedown Cancer Match
02/06 vs. PHILIPSBURG-OSCEOLA 31 – 42 9 – 7
02/24 District 9 AAA Champs @Clfd HS
03/02 & 03 Northwest Region @ Altoona
03/08-10 PIAA Championships @ Hershey


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