HERSHEY — Clearfield Bison heavyweight sophomore Oliver Billotte didn’t let a lack of experience at the PIAA AAA State Championships affect his outcome, as he has rattled off three straight wins in the wrestlebacks, and assured himself of a state medal, after losing his opening round match.
And the fact that all of his counterparts were seniors makes the run even more impressive.
Billotte (37-5) got in high scoring affairs in both of his second and third round consolation bouts on Friday.
First he faced Nasier Spellman (23-6) of York Suburban where Billotte held a slim 4-3 lead heading into the final period. Spellman came off the bottom to tie the match at four apiece, but it was all Billotte from that point on. “OB” hit a five-point move to give himself some breathing room at 9-4, but gave up an escape to close the gap. A final takedown with 43 seconds remaining pretty much sealed it as Billotte moved on with an 11-6 win.
Next up, with a state medal on the line, was senior Charles Martin (33-10) of Garden Spot. After a scoreless opening period, Martin went up 2-0 on Billotte with a penalty point and an escape going his way. The last minute and a half of the second period was all Billotte has he took down, and let up Martin three times, closing out the period with a 6-5 lead. Billotte expanded his lead to 9-5 with another takedown and escape combo. Those four escapes would be the last of Martin’s career, as Billotte picked up one more takedown , which led to a pin at the 4:04 mark.
In the consy round of four on Saturday morning, Billotte will face his fourth consecutive senior, Adam Case (37-6) of Conrad Weiser. The loser will go to the seventh place match, while the winner will face a championship round semifinalist.
In his second state championship appearance, Mark McGonigal went 1-2. He was defeated 4-0 by Kiski Area’s Sammy Starr in the second round of the wrestlebacks. The match was scoreless after one period and Starr scored the lone points of the second period on a reversal. McGonigal took neutral to start the third, but was taken down with 39 seconds remaining, ending his sophomore season.
McGonigal finished the year 34-9 and will take a two-year mark of 64-19 into his junior season, potentially putting him on pace to end his career in the top-5 on the Bison all-time win list.
DuBois’ returning state champion Ed Scott is the lone District 9 wrestler in the semifinals.
Bethlehem Catholic with six semifinalists and 65.5 team points just about has the team title locked up, barring a complete Saturday collapse.
Complete results can be found here courtesy PA-Wrestling.com.