D-9 AA Wrestling Championships ready to hit the mat in Clearfield

Shunk, Duffy, Budd claim top seeds from AML

Feb. 26, 2016

The road to a Class AA Pennsylvania state wrestling title begins at Clearfield High School this weekend, with District 9 crowning champions in 14 weight classes and the top four finishers in each advancing to the Northwest Regional at Sharon on March 4-5.

Leading a group of three returning regional qualifiers determined to improve on Port Allegany’s fourth-place team finish last year, defending 220-pound champ Ethan Budd will attempt to become just the seventh Gator grappler to win at least two D-9 titles, an exclusive club which includes three-timers Isaac Greeley (1991-93), Adam Rohrer (2001-03), Nick Nichols (2006-08) and Alex Gular (2010-12), along with Budd’s uncle, 1988 PIAA champion Dale Budd (1986, 88), and Dylan Major (2008-09).

Ethan’s fellow seniors, 152-pound runner-up Mac Tanner and 170-pound bronze medalist Josiah Ramadhan, also made it to Sharon last year before falling just short of earning a trip to Hershey.

Action in Class AA will get underway at 4 p.m. Friday with the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds and wrestlebacks, then resume at 10 a.m Saturday for the semifinals and consi semis. At 3 p.m., the District IX Chapter of the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame will induct its latest class, followed by the Parade of Champions and the district finals and third-place matches.

The eight-man Class of 2016 will have a strong Allegheny Mountain League presence, with former Port coach John Kriner, Coudersport two-time state champ Dirk Cowburn, and former Cameron County coach and local referee Jim Baker among the inductees. Kriner founded the Gator varsity program in 1973, compiling a 145-85-1 record during his two head-coaching stints from 1973-79 and 1986-94.

Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for students.

Local Class AA wrestlers:
106: No. 1 seed Keelan Kunselman (Brookville, jr., 22-10) will open against Darien Gregory (Smethport, fr., 11-12) in the quarterfinal round.
Port freshman Reese Vollmer (15-11) is seeded sixth, drawing No. 3 Kyle Bush (Ridgway, so., 22-6) in the quarters. The two met at the season-opening Hickory Tournament with Bush claiming a 10-3 decision.
AML: (4) Noah Blankenship (Kane, fr., 21-4) vs. the winner of (5) Brayden Altobelli (Redbank Valley, fr., 11-6) vs. Login Dehner (Clarion, fr., 18-10); (7) Dylan Pesock (Oswayo Valley, so., 12-10) vs. the winner of Brynen Kisiel (Coudersport, fr., 8-16) vs. (2) Blake Passaielli (Curwensville, fr., 23-6). Vollmer has beaten Pesock once (1-0 in OT) and Kisiel twice (pin at Hickory, tech-fall in the dual meet), but lost twice to Blankenship (7-0 at Kane, pin in finals at the Salamanca Tournament).

113: The reigning champion, Port High grad Casey Vollmer, went on to place fourth at regionals and qualify for states last year. He’s now wrestling for Gannon University. Top seed Gavin Park (Brookville, so., 13-2) starts against Christian Whisner (Kane, so., 11-13), with eighth-seeded Gator freshman Issac Smoker (18-11) awaiting the winner in the quarters.
AML: (5) Kole Holden (Sheffield, jr., 20-8) vs. the winner of (4) Alex Struble (Clarion, sr., 19-9) vs. Hunter Martz (RV, fr., 14-16); Austin Hartzell (OV, so., 14-7) vs. (2) Mitchell Overbeck (Brockway, sr., 23-4); Trevor Olney (Coudy, jr., 15-4) vs. the winner of Ravon Foltz (Cameron County, sr., 6-13) vs. (6) Bryce Barclay (Ridgway, so., 21-6). Smoker pinned Hartzell, lost via pin to Olney in AML action.

120: No. 1 seed Brockway senior Ryan Carlson (26-1) was last year’s runner-up to Vollmer at 113.
Fifth-seeded Port sophomore Trey Stiles (16-4) opens against (4) Dawson Wilson (RV, jr., 14-10) in the quarterfinals.
AML: (8) Bryce Hale (Smethport, jr., 16-13) vs. Caleb Wry (Cranberry, so., 5-7), with the winner to face Carlson; Patrick Rounsville (OV, fr., 5-14) vs. (3) Luke McClain (Ridgway, so., 19-5), with the winner to face (6) Brock Foltz (CC, sr., 12-10). Stiles pinned Hale at Hickory.

126: Defending champ Tanner Altobelli (RV, sr., 25-1), the No. 1 seed, faces OV freshman David Duell (6-7) in the first round.
AML: (4) Dustin Kudrick (Coudy, so., 15-9) vs. Igor Kopytyak (Sheffield, sr., 2-12); Ethan Fields (CC, fr., 6-16) vs. (3) Drew Baumgratz (Ridgway, jr., 21-6); Chris Kennedy (Johnsonburg, sr., 9-16) vs. (2) Mason Lindenmuth (Brockway, sr., 25-3).

132: Eighth-seeded Port junior Devin Gustin (6-11) faces a tall task in the quarterfinals against unbeaten Taylor Ortz (34-0). The nationally ranked Brookville senior, who earned bronze at states last year after claiming the 120-pound D-9 and Northwest Regional championships, has signed to wrestle at Clarion University next season.
AML: (4) Devon Norlin (Johnsonburg, so., 17-9) vs. Shalil Wall (Sheffield, jr., 2-12); (7) Alex Sanderson (Smethport, so., 12-9) vs. the winner of (2) Logan McClain (Ridgway, so., 24-4) vs. Chucky Gardner (Kane, so., 5-9); John Fitzgerald (Coudy, so., 5-14) vs. (3) Josh Hanncock (Cranberry, jr., 27-6). Gustin decisioned Gardner and Fitzgerald and lost to McClain and Norlin during the regular season.

138: Last year’s runner-up, Smethport senior Adam Shunk (23-3), is the top seed. The returning state qualifier will face Austin Curtis (Keystone, sr., 9-16) in the prelims.
AML: (3) Kyle Holden (Sheffield, sr., 18-9) vs. Isiah Barney (OV, fr., 10-11), with the winner to face (6) Jake Zimmerman (Johnsonburg, so., 15-16); (4) Alec English (Kane, fr., 17-6) vs. CJ Shreffler (Cranberry, fr., 11-15); (7) David Kudrick (Coudy, so., 16-13) vs. Nate Wolff (Ridgway, sr., 7-17).

145: Shunk’s classmate, James Duffy (26-0), is the reigning district and regional champ and PIAA bronze medalist. Duffy, the seventh Hubber wrestler to place at states and first to make the top three since 1991, will face Mason Lancaster (Curwensville, jr., 2-9) in his opening match.
Port sophomore (6) Jacob Kallenborn (20-8) opens with Cody Marfink (Sheffield, jr., 4-10).
AML: (3) Aiden Hulings (Kane, fr., 16-6) vs. Hunter O’Neil (Cranberry, fr., 1-12); (2) Julian Smith (Coudy, so., 21-5) vs. the winner of (7) Colton Rapp (Clarion, so., 16-12) vs. William Russell (OV, so., 3-4). Kallenborn split a pair of matches with Hulings at the Salamanca tournament, tech-falled Russell, and dropped a 6-4 decision to Smith.

152: Top seed Shae Bloom (Curwensville, sr., 25-1), a three-time D-9 titlist who earned the Outstanding Wrestler award at last year’s championships, will join Ortz and Duffy at Clarion next year.
Gator senior Dylan Baumgarner (19-7), seeded fifth, faces John McSwain (Clarion, jr., 1-0) in the first round.
AML: (3) Gage Arnold (Coudy, jr., 23-5) vs. Justin Aharrah (Smethport, jr., 8-12); (6) Terrel Williams (Sheffield, jr., 15-3) vs. Simon Peter Couls (OV, so., 6-13); (7) Joey Elinski (Johnsonburg, so., 14-12) vs. Adam Sicher (Kane, fr., 9-13); Ethan Vislay (CC, so., 18-10) vs. (8) Jonathan Francis (Ridgway, jr., 19-10). Baumgarner has pinned Sicher and Couls, and battled Arnold to a draw through three periods before dropping a 9-7 decision in overtime.

160: No. 1 seed Paul Zacherl (Cranberry, sr., 30-0), last year’s runner-up at 152, hasn’t lost a match since states. Second-seeded Port senior Mac Tanner (26-1) has been almost as brilliant, with his only setback an overtime decision in the finals at Hickory on the opening weekend of the season. Tanner, seeking his second trip to regionals after earning D-9 silver last year, will open against Brookville senior Dom Palmer (11-9) in the quarterfinals.
AML: (4) Nick Ragosta (Coudy, sr., 25-6) vs. Tanner Barr (Sheffield, sr., 16-12), with the winner to face (5) Akete Kindle (Smethport, jr., 11-5); Jared Whiting (CC, so., 14-14) vs. Cody McClintick (Brockway, sr., 23-7). Tanner majored Ragosta, 20-7, in their match at Port.

170: No. 1 seed Xavier Molnar (Brookville, so., 21-8) draws Smethport sophomore Lukas Frontino in the quarterfinals. Third-seeded Gator senior Josiah Ramadhan (21-6) is the only returning placewinner in this weight class after finishing third last year to advance to regionals. He’ll start his tournament against Scott Toth (RV, jr., 3-15) in the prelims.
AML: (5) Isaac Wright (Coudy, so., 14-10) vs. Caleb Pifer (CC, fr., 4-8); (6) Cameron Rothrauff (Kane, sr., 10-9) vs. Ryder Howard (OV, sr., 9-12). Ramadhan faced Rothrauff twice during the regular season, pinning him both times, and earned a major decision over Howard.

182: Top-seeded Brookville junior Noah Cielski (26-5) will face Coudy freshman Eli Ayers (6-7) in the quarterfinals, where Gator junior Rob Arnett (9-3), the No. 7 seed, will wait for the winner of (2) Grant West (OV, jr., 16-6) vs. Logan Minich (RV, so., 11-11).
AML: (5) Ty Stahli (Kane, fr., 16-10) vs. Sam Moore (Cranberry, so., 8-14); Nate Munsell (CC, sr., 4-19) vs. (4) Alexander Burkhardt (Clarion, sr., 13-6). West edged Arnett, 9-8, in their lone meeting.

195: Defending champ and No. 1 seed Clarion senior Zach Sintobin (25-2) will face the winner of the first-round match between Port junior Tyler Bliss (1-0) and eighth-seeded Smethport senior Nick Dibble (13-12).
AML: (5) Joe Lawton (Coudy, sr., 12-11) vs. Jeff Harvey (Curwensville, sr., 7-8); Mike Good (Kane, so., 0-0) vs. (3) Tyler Vantassel (Keystone, fr., 14-6).

220: Gator senior Ethan Budd (24-2) returns as the No. 1 seed after claiming the district title in 2015, while runner-up Bryce Town has moved up to 285. Budd has a first-round bye and will face either (8) Mark Latuska (Brockway, jr., 7-15) or Dominik Mascho (OV, sr., 9-9) in the quarterfinals.
AML: Collin Alexis (Kane, sr., 5-7) vs. (4) RJ Fattler (Cranberry, sr., 12-11); (6) Nick Knowles (Sheffield, fr., 15-11) vs. Jeff Gunn (Coudy, so., 5-10); Matt Stratton (Smethport, so., 7-12) vs. (7) Tom Wurster (Clarion, so., 12-8). Budd is unbeaten against D-9 Class AA competition for the second-straight season, pinning Knowles, Gunn, and Stratton in league matches.

285: Cameron County’s Jack Karsten won the heavyweight class at Clarion last year, but the Northwest Region champ has moved on to play football at Edinboro University. Bronze medalist Brylee Shumaker (RV, sr., 29-1) moves up to the No. 1 line, where he’ll open against Jamis Lee (Curwensville, sr., 13-13).
Port sophomore Brock Veilleux (3-16) faces No. 6 seed Colton McClain (24-5) in the prelims. The Ridgway junior pinned Veilleux in their first meeting.
AML: (5) Keaton Rounsville (Kane, jr., 8-0) vs. (4) Timmy McCauley (Cranberry, so., 10-2); (7) Brendan Dickinson (Smethport, jr., 18-6) vs. (2) Tyler Beal (Keystone, sr., 24-2); (8) William Peluso (Johnsonburg, sr., 14-9) vs. Mike Vandergrift (OV, fr., 6-13); Ben Cochran (Coudy, sr., 13-12) vs. (3) Bryce Town (Brookville, sr., 18-4). Veilleux decisioned Vandergrift, 3-1, while losing via pin to Peluso, Cochran, and Dickinson.

Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic: Ethan Budd

Port Allegany OG/DT Ethan Budd

Port Allegany OG/DT Ethan Budd (Photo by Pam Fischer)

Lori Chase
Feb. 18, 2016

The latest list of additions to the Pennsylvania roster for the Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic includes another second-generation player from Port Allegany, Ethan Budd.

Donning the same No. 76 jersey worn by his father Greg (1983) and brother Nick (2013), both previous Big 30 Game participants, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound lineman earned a spot on the Allegheny Mountain League all-star squad for the second season in a row during Port’s run to the AML North title.

“Ethan has been an extremely reliable part of our team his entire career,” Gator coach Justin Bienkowski said. “I don’t think I remember him missing a single practice, which is rare in today’s era. I’m biased towards linemen anyhow, but Ethan was a staple for us as a two-way starter on both sides of the ball as an offensive and defensive lineman. He was a two-year captain and has grown up a ton in building character and showing his teammates the importance of the impact the weight room can have on the football field. I could always count on him leading our linemen drills in practice and being a role model for the younger guys.”

Already a District 9 wrestling champion, state qualifier, and Big 30 All-Star as a junior, Budd put his grappling skills to good use on the gridiron, averaging 7.6 tackles per game to tie for second on the team.

According to the Big 30 release, Ethan “is looking forward to playing in the game his father and brother both played in. His most memorable moments playing football were making it to the final four in the state playoffs, and running in a two-point conversion” in the regular-season finale against Sheffield.

Budd, who plans to major in engineering in college, listed hunting, fishing, boating and lifting among his favorite leisure-time activities, and cited the Pittsburgh Steelers and James Harrison as his favorite football team and player.

Ethan Budd run

Budd takes the handoff from Tre Garzel and rumbles into the end zone for a two-point conversion against Sheffield. (Photo by Pam Fischer)


Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic: Bryan Stahlman


Port Allegany OT/DE Bryan Stahlman (Photo by Pam Fischer)

Lori Chase
Feb. 18, 2016

As a two-way lineman, Port Allegany senior Bryan Stahlman earned a spot on the Allegheny Mountain League all-star team on offense and raised havoc in opposing teams’ backfields on defense for the North Division champions.

As a two-way lineman, Port Allegany senior Bryan Stahlman earned a spot on the Allegheny Mountain League all-star team on offense and raised havoc in opposing teams’ backfields on defense for the North Division champions.

Now, he’ll get a chance to do the same for the Pennsylvania squad in the 43rd annual Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic, slated for Aug. 6 at Parkway Field in Bradford.

“Bryan really came into his own this season as a starter upfront on both sides of the ball,” Port coach Justin Bienkowski said of the 6-foot-2, 210-pound offensive tackle/defensive end. “His technique was something that allowed him to have a lot of success. Bryan is one of those guys we all really wish we could have one more year with. He has grown exponentially as a young man through being a part of our football team. He always wanted to take what he was told and do his best to apply it.

“The success he had on the field was attributed to his attention to detail and understanding how the game works. He has a high sports IQ and really was a ton of fun to coach. His appreciation for the game and being part of a team really showed during this past season. There’s not enough good things I can say about coaching Bryan.”

Stahlman, a National Honor Society member, plans to major in criminal justice at Mansfield to prepare for a career in law enforcement. Also a member of the Gator track and field team, he finished second in the javelin at the North Tier League meet last spring before placing eighth at districts.

According to the Big 30 release, Bryan “is looking forward to playing alongside the players he has faced for a long time.” The Gators’ backup quarterback as a sophomore before moving to the line, he mentioned the two-point conversion pass to Mac Tanner against Sheffield as his most memorable football moment, and listed golf and boating with the family among his hobbies. An Indianapolis Colts fan, he cited punter Pat McAfee as his favorite player.

Stahlman Sheffield

Stahlman closes in on one of his five tackles against Sheffield. (Photo by Pam Fischer)




Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic: Nate Lowery


Nate Lowery

Port Allegany OL/LB Nate Lowery (Photo by Pam Fischer)

Feb. 11, 2016

The Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic is a family affair for Nate Lowery.

His father, Scott, played nose guard in the 16-14 Pennsylvania victory in 1983, and older brother Seth helped the Keystone State to a 28-3 win in 2011.

This year, Nate hopes to make it three-for-three, as the first Port Allegany player named to the Pennsy roster for the 43rd annual rendition of the charity football game against a squad from New York. The Empire State has won the last two meetings to hold a 22-18-2 edge in the series, which began in 1974. This year’s game is slated for the evening of Saturday, Aug. 6, at Parkway Field in Bradford.

The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Lowery played left guard on offense and strong-side linebacker on defense, earning back-to-back selections as an Allegheny Mountain League North Division all-star. According to the press release sent out by the Big 30 committee, he is “looking forward to playing in the Big 30 Charities Classic because his father and brother both played in the game. He is also looking forward to playing with the best talent in the area. His most memorable moments in football were beating Smethport and winning the AML North.”

A high honor roll student and National Honor Society member, Nate’s future plans include enrolling in the pharmacy program at Duquesne University. The release lists his favorite NFL team as the Indianapolis Colts and receiver T.Y. Hilton as his favorite player.

“Nate ‘Reggie’ Lowery has been part of our football program since he was in the 3rd grade. He was one of our managers who happened to be very good at all things unrelated to football. I often thought he might end up an architect due to his abilities building structures out of tackling dummies and blocking pads,” joked Port coach Justin Bienkowski.

“On a serious note, Nate was one of our captains during his senior season. Nate exemplified what is was to be versatile. We asked him to make the switch from the defensive line to outside linebacker. He made a seamless transition and in fact allowed us to be more flexible on defense. Offensively, he has played all three lineman positions throughout his career.”

He concluded, “Nate has been extremely reliable for us his entire career. He was a kid that put the time in during the off-season both physically and mentally to be a better student-athlete. He is an honor student that has set a great example for guys on how to be polite, hardworking, driven, and successful, both on and off the field.”