(Ran short of room in the print version. Here’s the unedited story.)
Jake Kallenborn knew he needed a takedown.
Trailing top-seeded Gage Arnold by a point late in the third period of their District 9 Class AA 160-pound championship match on Saturday evening at Clearfield High School, the Port Allegany junior made his move. Arnold countered, but an instant before the buzzer sounded to end the contest, the referee’s arm shot up. Two points – and a 4-3 win for the gold – for Kallenborn.
“I didn’t have anything to lose, and he was undefeated and expected to win, so I guess that was in my favor,” he said. “I was just hoping that he would either let go of my leg or I would be in control long enough that I would get the 2. When I did, I was so happy. It was crazy.”
And after avenging two earlier losses to Arnold (33-1) by handing the Coudersport senior and returning state qualifier his first setback of the season, Kallenborn (28-4) picked up another piece of hardware in addition to his medal, sharing the Joseph J. Kata Most Outstanding Wrestler Award with Brookville three-time champ Gavin Park. He’s just the second Gator to claim the honor, joining two-time state medalist Isaac Greeley, who also split the award with a Brookville wrestler in 1993.
Reached via Twitter direct message later in the evening, Greeley was “glad we got another one!” He added, “That’s so awesome he won, he has had a great year. I’m really hoping he and Gage can get on the podium at states. I think they both can.”
“Pretty amazing,” Port coach B.J. Greenman said. “The kids work all year around just for the postseason, and to come out with that on top of a district title is amazing for Jacob.”
“I beat the only undefeated kid, but I certainly didn’t expect to get M.O.W. It was kind of crazy,” Kallenborn repeated. “This is the highlight of my varsity career, definitely. That and winning, being a district champ.”
Sophomore Reese Vollmer took third at 106 pounds and junior Trey Stiles placed fourth at 126 to join Kallenborn at this weekend’s Northwest Regional at Sharon High School, giving the Gators multiple qualifiers for the 19th consecutive year. It’s the second trip for Kallenborn and Stiles (14-6), with Vollmer (29-6) making his first appearance. The three medalists paced Port to a ninth-place finish in the 17-team field.
“When we looked at this weekend, we thought we could take anywhere from maybe one to five or six, so right there in the middle’s pretty good,” Greenman said. “The two kids that made it there last year, we kind of expected them to be able to make it again. And then Reese came up huge, winning some big matches against Dylan Pesock, and then the other one in the consi semis against a kid that beat him earlier in the season. That’s huge for him to get wins over those kids.”
In a matchup of state-ranked wrestlers, eventual 106-pound champ Anthony Glasl (Brockway) tech-falled Vollmer in the semifinals, but the Port sophomore rebounded with a 4-2 win over No. 3 seed Ethan Wiant (Redbank Valley), who he’d lost to at the season-opening Hickory Tournament, to move into the third-place match against Pesock, a longtime friend and practice partner who downed Vollmer 9-2 in the dual meet at Oswayo Valley.
“We see those guys a lot. They come over in the summer, they practice a lot with us,” Gator coach B.J. Greenman said. “So you know your opponent, but it’s not an advantage to either of them because they both know each other. They wrestle all the time, so their matches are always going to be close, but you don’t really know which way they’re going to go.”
The two traded reversals in the second period, with the Green Wave junior adding an escape to take a 3-2 lead into the third. Starting on the bottom, Vollmer got the escape he needed to send the match to overtime, and after a sudden-victory period and two rideouts failed to break the deadlock, the bout went into the ultimate tiebreaker. With Pesock deciding to start on top, Vollmer managed to wriggle free for the thrilling 4-3 win.
“Going into it, I’m kind of glad it was Coach Bloss’ decision on picking top or bottom, because I had no idea what we were going to do with Reese,” Greenman admitted. “Dylan’s really good on top, and he’s been getting out on Reese, so I’m glad that it was taken out of our hands and we just had to let Reese wrestle and he ended up coming out with the escape.”
Greenman was also pleased with Stiles’ performance, unsure how he’d come back after missing time due to injury and not wrestling in a dual meet since mid-January. Dropping a 3-0 decision to eventual champ Bryce Barclay (Ridgway) in one semi while Kane’s Noah Blankenship stunned top-seeded Kai Sorbin in the other, Stiles ended up facing the Brookville junior, who eased to a 12-2 major decision to earn the bronze.
“For Trey, that’s a complete style mismatch, to get a guy that’s really, really good on top and can really control your hands,” Greenman said. “He doesn’t do anything too exciting, just wrestles a solid, controlled match, and that kind of hurts Trey. He wasn’t able to get into his shots like he likes to, he wasn’t able to move on his feet until the third period. Once he got down and Kai started running some tilts, he got in trouble. But he still wrestled a good match and competed to the end, which is what we ask all our kids to do. Don’t give up, even if you’re down 10, 11, 12 points.”
Three other Port grapplers fell just short of qualifying, dropping tough matches in the consolation semifinals. Junior Payton Caden ran up against returning state qualifier Blake Passarelli, the second seed at 113, with the Curwensville sophomore earning a 7-1 decision. Freshman Montgomery Tanner also saw a No. 2 seed in the consi semis, as Coudersport’s Trevor Olney got the pin to advance. And at 132, an upset in the semis dropped top-seeded Bradford junior Tyler Thompson into the wrestlebacks, where he downed Port sophomore Issac Smoker.
“We had a couple bad-luck draws, where we needed to win the first match to be able to go and it didn’t fall our way,” Greenman said. “But it’s a learning experience, and everybody that wrestled here is going to be back next year, so that’s a great sign for us. We don’t have to say goodbye to any kids after they lose their last varsity match. It’s really, really nice that we get all of our kids back, and we get a really good group of eighth-graders coming up next year.”
Two-time defending Allegheny Mountain League champion Coudersport finished second to Brookville, which won its fourth consecutive D-9 crown, with 170-pound champion Isaac Wright leading Arnold, Olney, and five other Falcons (David Kudrick, Dustin Kudrick, Julian Smith, Eli Ayers, Corey Thompson) into Sharon. Bradford 145-pounder Dillon Keane won the only other AML gold in the Owls’ first foray into the Class AA division and will join his teammate Tyler Thompson, while Kane (Blankenship, Alec English, Aiden Hulings, Teddy Race, Ty Stahli), Oswayo Valley (Pesock, Isaiah Barney, Grant West), Smethport (Akete Kindle), and Johnsonburg (Devon Norlin) will also be represented.
District 9 Class AA Championships
At Clearfield, Feb. 24-25:
Brookville (Bkv) 242, Coudersport (Cou) 144, Ridgway (Rdg) 142.5, Kane 96.5, Brockway (Bkw) 81, Curwensville (Cv) 73, Cranberry (Cr) 64, Redbank Valley (RV) 63, Port Allegany (PA) 62, Bradford (Brad) 60.5, Clarion (Cl) 56, Oswayo Valley (OV) 50.5, Johnsonburg (J) 41, Keystone (Key) 30, Smethport (Sm) 28, Sheffield (Sh) 13, Cameron County 0.
106: Anthony Glasl (Bkw) 3:46 Zach Holland (Cv)
113: Keelan Kunselman (Bkv) 7-5 Kyle Bush (Rdg)
120: Gavin Park (Bkv) 1:11 Hunter Martz (RV)
126: Bryce Barclay (Rdg) 3-0 Noah Blankenship (Kane)
132: Lukas McClain (Rdg) 11-0 Devon Norlin (J)
138: Logen McClain (Rdg) 3-1 David Kudrick (Cou)
145: Dillon Keane (Brad) 4-2 Alec English (Kane)
152: Caleb Hetrick (Bkv) 7-6 Aiden Hulings (Kane)
160: Jacob Kallenborn (PA) 4-3 Gage Arnold (Cou)
170: Isaac Wright (Cou) 2-1 Garrett McClintick (Bkw)
182: Noah Cieleski (Bkv) TF 15-0 5:49 Kaleb Witherite (Cv)
195: Xavier Molnar (Bkv) 0:55 Tyler Van Tassel (Key)
220: Tyler Cook (Bkv) 8-1 Tom Wurster (Cl)
285: Colton McClain (Rdg) 5-4 UTB Stephen McClure (Cv)
106: Reese Vollmer (PA) 4-3 UTB Dylan Pesock (OV)
113: Blake Passarelli (Cv) 8-3 Mason Songer (RV)
120: Trevor Olney (Cou) 2:52 Luke Tomaski (Rdg)
126: Kai Sorbin (Bkv) 12-2 Trey Stiles (PA)
132: Dontae Constable (Bkv) 2-1 Tyler Thompson (Brad)
138: Isaiah Barney (OV) 4-2 C.J. Shreffler (Cr)
145: Josh Hancock (Cr) 6-2 Dustin Kudrick (Cou)
152: Mike LeFay (Cl) 4-3 Julian Smith (Cou)
160: Caleb Peace (Bkv) 4-3 Teddy Race (Kane)
170: Braden MacBeth (Bkv) 2-1 UTB Akete Kindle (Sm)
182: Eli Ayers (Cou) 2-1 Grant West (OV)
195: Ty Stahli (Kane) 2-0 Ben Smith (Cl)
220: Corey Thompson (Cou) 9-7 Justin Smith (Bkw)
285: Timmy McCauley (Cr) 10-7 Colby Whitehill (Bkv)
Port/Coudy/OV first-round matchups at regionals:
106: 9-3 Reese Vollmer (Port Allegany, SO, 29-6) vs. 10-2 Steve McGarvie (Fort LeBoeuf, SR, 32-6)
106: 9-4 Dylan Pesock (Oswayo Valley, JR, 22-5) vs. 10-5 10-5 Logan Jaquay (Eisenhower, FR, 26-12)
– winner to face 10-1 Beau Bayless (Reynolds, SO, 27-4 )
120: 9-3 Trevor Olney (Coudersport, SR, 25-11) vs. 10-2 Kenneth Kiser (Saegertown, FR, 36-7)
126: 9-4 Treyton Stiles (Port Allegany, JR, 14-6) vs. 10-5 Aiden Thompson (Hickory, JR, 23-14)
– winner to face 10-1 Tye Varndell (Cambridge Springs, SO, 33-3)
138: 9-2 David Kudrick (Coudersport, JR, 30-7) vs. 10-3 Hunter Wagner (Titusville, SR, 30-4 )
138: 9-3 Isaiah Barney (Oswayo Valley, SO, 25-6) vs. 10-2 Mike Doerflinger (Slippery Rock, JR, 21-4 )
145: 9-4 Dustin Kudrick (Coudersport, JR, 28-10) vs. 10-5 Cole Ruffo (Hickory, JR, 26-12)
– winner to face 10-1 John Mott (Commodore Perry, SR, 32-5)
152: 9-4 Julian Smith (Coudersport, JR, 8-5) vs. 10-5 Spencer Head (Eisenhower, JR, 31-6)
– winner to face 10-1 Cameron Prebble (Sharpsville, JR, 30-4 )
160: 10-4 Dylan Proper (Maplewood, JR, 27-8) vs. 10-6 Gavin Henry (Union City, SO, 23-9)
– winner to face 9-1 Jacob Kallenborn (Port Allegany, JR, 28-4)
160: 9-2 Gage Arnold (Coudersport, SR, 34-1) vs. 10-3 Joe Galvin (Iroquois, JR, 28-4)
170: 10-4 Nick Enos (Sharpsville, SR, 30-9) vs. 10-6 Jarrett Ruhl (Saegertown, SR, 28-19)
– winner to face 9-1 Isaac Wright (Coudersport, JR, 28-9)
182: 9-3 Elijah Ayers (Coudersport, SO, 29-8) vs. 10-2 Julian Gorring (Fort LeBoeuf, SO, 35-6)
182: 9-4 Grant West (Oswayo Valley, SR, 20-8) vs. 10-5 Khalil Messai (Jamestown, JR, 30-4)
– winner to face 10-1 Cody Mulligan (Saegertown, JR, 39-3)
220: 9-3 Corey Thompson (Coudersport, SR, 27-10) vs. 10-2 Tyler Zebrovious Lakeview, JR, 28-6