Wrestling: Budd repeats as D-9 champ

Port sends five, Coudy four, Smethport two to regionals

Lori Chase
Mar. 3, 2016

The dream of PIAA gold is still alive for five Port Allegany High School wrestlers following last weekend’s District 9 Championships.

Led by Ethan Budd, who swept through the 220-pound bracket to become just the seventh Gator grappler in school history to win multiple district titles, fellow seniors Mac Tanner (second at 160) and Josiah Ramadhan (third at 170) and sophomores Trey Stiles (fourth at 120) and Jacob Kallenborn (fourth at 145) each earned a berth in this week’s Northwest Regional with a top-four finish at the two-day meet held at Clearfield High School on Feb. 26-27.

“We were talking about that before we went down there,” Port coach B.J. Greenman said after Budd joined former Gator stars Isaac Greeley, Adam Rohrer, Nick Nichols, Alex Gular (all three-time champs), Dylan Major and 1988 PIAA champion Dale Budd with his second D-9 win. “Ethan said, ‘If I win, I’ll be like the seventh or eighth one to ever do it!’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, you would be. But you’ll be even more elite if you make it to states, because I think we’ve only had three or four multiple state qualifiers.’

“He’s in an elite group already. He and Mac are already in the top 10 in winning percentage for the school’s history, and Ethan’s climbing up the board for most wins. Both of those kids are in elite territory on how they wrestle.”

The defending champ and top seed at 220, Budd (27-2, 98-26 career) opened his title defense by pinning Mark Latuska (Brockway) in 1:10, then scored a 10-2 major decision against Steven McClure (Curwensville) before downing second-seeded Brookville sophomore Tyler Cook, 10-3, in the final to ensure Port would have at least one district champion for the 10th time in 11 years.

“He’s so quick on his feet and so strong when he gets to a leg, I think kids don’t know what to do. You could see it in the finals; he just completely frustrated the kid. (Cook) couldn’t do anything, and Ethan was taking him down, taking him down. Just a dominant performance,” Greenman said. “When our kids wrestle well, that’s what they do. They just keep putting pressure on the kid and keep scoring. That’s how you win big matches.”

Cook’s loss was a rare setback for the Raiders, who obliterated their own two-year old team scoring record with 257.5 points to runner-up Brockway’s 129.5, sent 12 of 14 wrestlers on to regionals, and tied another D-9 record by crowning six champions. Ridgway took third with 113.5 points, while Port compiled 92.5 to match last year’s fourth-place finish.

“I think we wrestled well, although we didn’t meet our goals. We wanted to take seven kids (to regionals), but we took five and had seven in the semis, second-most out of any of the teams down there. Five is still a big number,” Greenman said, “and it’s the most in the AML. We like to at least beat the teams around here, if we’re not going to be able to compete with some of the bigger schools down by I-80. I think we had a good showing, especially for a small school like we are.”

Budd and unbeaten Smethport 152-pounder Jimmy Duffy (30-0) were the only Allegheny Mountain League wrestlers to earn gold, with Tanner (28-2, 84-18 career), the Hubbers’ Adam Shunk (26-4), and Coudersport’s Julian Smith (23-6) each falling in the finals to claim silver.

Tanner had the misfortune of being in the same weight class with undefeated Cranberry standout Paul Zacherl (34-0), who Greenman thought merited serious consideration for the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award.

“Sometimes you wrestle a kid you just can’t do anything to,” he said. “He was wrestling at that level; he was just completely untouchable for the entire tournament.”

The M.O.W. award went to Brookville’s 132-pound star, nationally ranked Taylor Ortz (37-0), who pinned his way to his fourth-straight D-9 championship. Ortz’s future Clarion University teammate Shae Bloom also became a four-time champ, winning the first two at Class AAA DuBois before transferring to Curwensville.

Most of the brackets ran true to the seeding, with 12 of 14 finals featuring a 1-vs-2 showdown and all but two of the top seeds earning titles. Kallenborn and Stiles were two of the exceptions who outperformed their seeding, each upsetting a higher-ranked wrestler to open up their path to regionals. Dylan Baumgarner (21-9, 66-35 career) and Reese Vollmer (17-13) each came within a takedown of joining them before ending their seasons by dropping close decisions in the consi semifinals.

Now it’s on to Sharon for regionals, a return trip for all three seniors, with Budd placing third a year ago to punch his ticket to states.

“Looking at the brackets, I think we’re set up pretty well,” Greenman said. “Our three seniors have a really good shot at making it out, and even our two sophomores, going in as four-seeds, have a decent shot.”

As the No. 1 seed at 220, Budd earned a first-round bye and will open his tournament in Friday’s quarterfinal round against either D10-6 Joe Newara (Harbor Creek, jr., 18-19) or D10-4 Tyler Zebrovious (Lakeview, so., 24-13).

Other first-round opponents:

120: D9-4 Stiles (18-8) vs. D10-5 Sam Sallot (Harbor Creek, so., 34-6), who qualified for states as a freshman last year with a third-place finish at 106;

145: D9-4 Kallenborn (22-10) vs. D10-5 Dan Simmerman (Saegertown, sr., 22-13), a returning regional silver medalist;

160: D9-2 Tanner vs. D10-3 Tyler Burlew (Corry, so., 32-6);

170: D9-3 Ramadhan (25-7, 67-34 career) vs. D10-2 Joel Leise (Reynolds, jr., 34-7), one of 11 qualifiers from the District 10 team champs.

District IX Class AA Championships
Clearfield High School, Feb. 26-27:
Brookville 257.5, Brockway 129.5, Ridgway 113.5, Port Allegany 92.5, Clarion 86, Keystone 80, Coudersport 78, Redbank Valley 76.5, Cranberry 73.5, Curwensville 71.5, Smethport 54.5, Kane 36.5, Sheffield 34, Oswayo Valley 29, Johnsonburg 22, Cameron County 4.

Championship finals:
106: Keelan Kunselman (Brv) TF 17-0 Blake Passarelli (Cur)
113: Gavin Park (Brv) 4-2 Mitchell Overbeck (Bkw)
120: Ryan Carlson (Bkw) 6-0 Lukas McClain (Rdg)
126: Tanner Altobelli (RV) 5-3 Mason Lindenmuth (Bkw)
132: Taylor Ortz (Brv) 1:49 Logan McClain (Rdg)
138: Cole Aaron (Brv) 5:26 Adam Shunk (Sm)
145: James Duffy (Sm) 7-0 Julian Smith (Coudy)
152: Shae Bloom (Cur) 7-1 Caleb Hetrick (Brv)
160: Paul Zacherl (Cran) 15-5 Mac Tanner (PA)
170: Xavier Molnar (Brv) 3-0 Michael Martino (Bkw)
182: Noah Cieleski (Brv) 13-1 Evan Redding (Key)
195: Zach Sintobin (Clar) 5:50 Dane Clever (Brv)
220: Ethan Budd (PA) 10-3 Tyler Cook (Brv)
285: Tyler Beal (Key) 6-3 Brylee Shumaker (RV)

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