Port Allegany Reporter Argus
March 5, 2009
Port Allegany High School’s wrestling season officially ended at the Northwest Region Class AA tournament last Saturday, as no Gator grappler managed to secure a ticket to next weekend’s PIAA state championships in Hershey with a top-three finish. Then again, all of District 9 had a rough weekend at Sharon, with Ridgway’s Garet Pisani the sole individual champion and the Elkers, who dominated district competition again this year, managing only eighth place in the team standings. Nationally ranked Reynolds, the District 10 power which already owns the state duals championship, captured their eighth consecutive regional title.
Dylan Major’s attempt to repeat as a regional champion ended at the hands of District 10 champ Tim DeFrances (Commodore Perry) in the 189-pound semifinals, but not without controversy. Major (36-5) was leading in the third period when the referee signaled a pin for DeFrances at the 5:31 mark, a decision questioned by many observers. Grove City’s Nick Miller then defeated Major in the wrestlebacks, bringing the Gator senior’s glittering career to an end with 133 wins. Major is just the sixth member of Port High’s 100-win club, finishing second to Nick Nichols’ 168 on the school’s all-time list.
Battling injuries, both Chet Tanner (130 pounds, 31-5) and Zigmund Reichenbach (171, 26-15) also failed to place. However, the AML won’t be completely without representation in Hershey next weekend, as Coudersport’s Dirk Cowburn (3rd-152 pounds), Smethport seniors Tim Hubbard (3rd-125) and Jon-Marc Burdick (2nd-140), and Kane’s Ross Nicholson (2nd-215) all still have a shot at a state title.
Despite the disappointment of seeing the season conclude a week short of where he’d hoped it would, Port head coach Sean Lathrop is pleased with the results of his first year in the top job.
“Nobody really believed we had a chance to do anything this year – I mean, there were three teams in our league who were supposed to beat us – but the kids responded to challenge after challenge,” he said. “At the beginning of the year, we were young and inexperienced, but I thought we matured well.”
Lathrop will have a good group of wrestlers returning next season, including rising seniors Adam Greenman (29-9), Brandon Goodreau (18-14), and Koty Milford (19-13) and juniors-to-be Tanner, Ryan Kio (21-15), Brad Goodreau (7-5), Benn Baxter (7-9), and Zach Manning (17-12). But the loss of seniors Major, Reichenbach, Pat Lacher (9-24), Justin Lewis (15-10), and Damen Brodhun (22-17) – all team captains – will be felt.
“I’ll really miss them,” Lathrop said. “It’s going to be a shame to see them go.”
Class AA Regional Team Scoring:
Reynolds 106, Grove City 75, Commodore Perry 56, Greenville 52, Fort LeBoeuf 45, Harbor Creek 43, North East 42, Ridgway 36, Curwensville 31, Redbank Valley 31, Sharon 31, Smethport 28, Union City 24, Sharpsville 22, Hickory 20, Maplewood 20, Kane 16, Cochranton 15, Keystone 15, Jamestown 14, Coudersport 13, Saegertown 12, Brockway 10, Brookville 8, Fairview 7, Iroquois 7, Mercer 2, Johnsonburg 1, Northwestern 1, Port Allegany 1, Seneca 1, Sheffield 1, Cameron County 0, Eisenhower 0, Clarion –1.