The Allegheny Mountain Wrestling League championship banner in the Port Allegany gym is about to get a little more crowded.
The Gators (17-5, 7-0 AML) dropped an undermanned Bradford squad, 72-4, on Feb. 5 to clinch their 13th league title via tiebreaker over Smethport, with a chance to win it outright and run the table in the AML by beating Oswayo Valley on Tuesday (in a match which ended too late for this edition).
“It’s a great feeling (to win the league),” second-year Port head coach B.J. Greenman said. “I think it’s a goal of Port every season, no matter what the beginning of the season looks like. Last year, we came up short; we lost a close match to Kane and lost to Smethport, and ended up taking third. But I think it’s almost what’s expected – if you coach in Port and for the kids who go to Port, they expect to win the AML. No matter what the circumstances, that’s just kind of what’s expected and what the kids strive for.
“It’s good to get back on top and back to winning decisively like we have this year. I think that’s a great feeling for the kids to have, especially going into districts. It’s a good feeling knowing you’re on top of your league going into the postseason.”
The Owls sent just five wrestlers onto the mat, handing Port nine forfeits, and managed just one win in the five contested bouts.
“It’s really tough to see Bradford only having five kids,” Greenman said. “It’s kind of hard for me to even believe that a Triple-A school only has five kids on their team.”
For Port, Nick Budd ran his perfect record to 25-0 with a first-period fall in the 285-pound match. Six other Gator seniors also won in their final appearance on the PAHS mat, with Alex Gular (23-3) picking up another pin, Sam Kysor (22-5) and Trent Neal (14-13) earning decisions, and Dalton Caden (25-4), Lucas Manning (18-9), and Logan Warnick (14-8) winning via forfeit.
Following the trip to Shinglehouse, the Gators will have a short break before heading to Clarion University on February 22-23 for the District 9 individual championships.
After falling just two points shy of a trip to states in the team competition, Greenman sees good things ahead for his wrestlers.
“We lost two real, real close matches (at districts)”, he said. “If we wrestle Redbank 10 times, I think we win five of those matches. I think it’s a 50-50 shot on who wins that match every time. Brookville, our kids wrestled really well and we were right there in a close match with them as well. So we’re right there with the teams that go to states. They both had some bad luck when they got down to states, but they were still both in the top eight teams in the state even if they may not have placed this year. They’re up there talent-wise, so it’s good for our kids to see that we’re right there with some good teams.
“That’s what we told the kids that lost the close matches – hey, you get another shot at them down at districts, and that actually means more then. It’s always good to help out the team and have the team go to states, but the main reason why a lot of kids wrestle is to get to that state level in the individual.
So it was good to see some good matches. The ones where we didn’t come out on top, we’re planning on coming out on top when we wrestle them down at districts, and the ones we did win, we’re planning to win again when we get down there. There’s some good competition, and it’s good seeing guys that you don’t see normally throughout the season.”
At Port Allegany, Feb. 5:
Port Allegany 72, Bradford 4
106: Casey Vollmer (PA) forfeit; 113: Dylan Baumgarner (PA) forfeit; 120: Dalton Caden (PA) forfeit; 126: Hunter Freer (PA) forfeit; 132: Lucas Manning (PA) forfeit; 138: Eli Knapp (PA) forfeit; 145: Mac Tanner (PA) forfeit; 152: Sam Kysor (PA) 4-0 Josh Corignani (B); 160: Logan Warnick (PA) forfeit; 170: Alexander Gular (PA) 3:32 Matt Moonan (B); 182: Bryce Stahlman (PA) forfeit; 195: Kyle Langdon (B) 13-2 Ethan Budd (PA); 220: Trent Neal (PA) 10-6 Zach Zawatski (B); 285: Nick Budd (PA) 1:56 Steve Zawatski (B).