Port in second after first day of D-9 wrestling; eight Gators still chasing gold

After the first day of competition at the District 9 Class AA Wrestling Championships, there’s a familiar name at the top of the team standings, but a trio of Allegheny Mountain League teams remain within striking distance.

Brookville tops the table with 81 points, with 10 Raiders still in the championship chase and two more in the consis going into Saturday morning’s semifinal round at Clearfield High School. Port Allegany and Johnsonburg each advanced eight wrestlers and Kane seven into the semis, with the Gators (70.5 points) holding a slim lead for second place over the Rams (67.5) and Wolves (67). Defending champion Brockway (61) is in fifth, with Redbank Valley (54) rounding out the top tier.

Although all 28 first and second seeds are still alive, a No. 3 or 4 seed was no guarantee of a semifinal berth, with five No. 5 seeds (Kane’s Isaak Johnson and Luke Ely, Brockway’s Tanner Morelli, Brookville’s Wyatt Kulik, Redbank Valley’s Ray Schreckengost), a trio of sixes (Brookville’s Wyatt Griffin, Clarion’s Donavan Edmonds, Ridgway’s Jacob Kunselman), and one seventh seed (Cameron County heavyweight Timmy Hasselman) pulling the upsets over higher-seeded wrestlers.

Semifinal matchups (10:30 a.m.):

106: 1 Cayden Walter (Brookville) vs. 4 Alex Bechakas (Kane); 2 Chase Weimer (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Wyatt Shaffer (Johnsonburg).

Weimer eked out a 5-4 win over Shaffer in the Port-Johnsonburg dual meet. He’s faced Walter once, losing via fall, but owns a 3-0 record against Bechakas.

113: 1 Owen Reinsel (Brookville) vs. 5 Isaak Johnson (Kane); 2 Bryent Johnson (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Ridge Cook (Redbank Valley).

Johnson majored Cook, 13-3, last year. He’s 0-2 against Reinsel, 1-0 against the other Johnson.

120: 1 Brayden Kunselman (Brookville) vs. 4 Collin Porter (Johnsonburg); 2 Scott Fuller (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Mark Palmer (Brockway).

Fuller beat Palmer, 9-5, back in December. He lost 6-1 to Kunselman at D-9 Duals, and 4-2 to Porter in their lone meeting.

126: 1 Braedon Johnson (Port Allegany) vs. 4 Harley Morris (Kane); 2 Josh Popson (Brookville) vs. 3 Trenten Rupp (Redbank Valley).

Johnson pinned Morris to win the D-9 title last year. He’s also unbeaten against the other side of the bracket, beating Popson twice and Rupp once.

132: 1 Anthony Glasl (Brockway) vs. 4 Dalton Bish (Redbank Valley); 2 Isaiah Caden (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Nolan Shaffer (Johnsonburg). 

Caden, who leads the Gators in both wins (25) and pins (14) this season, dropped Shaffer, 5-2, in their only previous meeting. He beat Bish 6-1 at D-9 Duals, and has never faced three-time champ Glasl.

138: 1 Zach Holland (Curwensville) vs. 5 Luke Ely (Kane); 2 Eli Petruzzi (Port Allegany) vs. 3 Dalton Stahli (Johnsonburg).

Petruzzi (24-2), whose only losses this season came to a pair of defending state champions and Division 1 recruits in Gabe Willochell (Latrobe/Edinboro) and Brady Worthing (Tioga, N.Y./Clarion), is 2-0 against Stahli, notching a pin in their dual-meet bout. He’s never faced either Ely or the unbeaten Holland, who edged Port’s Issac Smoker in the D-9 finals last year.

145: 1 Ethan Wiant (Redbank Valley) vs. 5 Tanner Morelli (Brockway); 2 Lane Hilliard (Kane) vs. 3 Kaden Dennis (Johnsonburg).

Morelli, who lost to Port’s Montgomery Tanner early in the season, turned the tables with a late near-fall for a 7-5 win. ‘Monkey’ will face Cameron County’s Eyan Smith, who he pinned last month, in his first consi match. If he gets past Smith, he’d draw either Hilliard or Dennis in the ‘blood round.’

152: 1 Jake Wickett (Ridgway) vs. 5 Wyatt Kulik (Brookville); 2 Colton Gietler (Oswayo Valley) vs. 3 Aiden Zimmerman (Johnsonburg).

After falling to Kulik for the second time in three weeks, Port’s Ethan DeBockler rebounded with a second-period pin over Kane’s Addison Plants. He’ll face seventh-seeded Linkin Nichols in the next round.

160: 1 Noah Bash (Brockway) vs. 4 Cutter Boggess (Clarion); 2 Cole Casilio (Johnsonburg) vs. 6 Wyatt Griffin (Brookville).

Port’s Taro Tanaka, who lost to Griffin in the quarters, pinned Sheffield’s Jake Davidson in his first consi match and will face Nate Asp (Kane) next. Tanaka won via fall in their lone meeting, earlier this month.

170: 1 Teddy Race (Kane) vs. 4 Seth Stewart (Brockway); 2 Jack McCracken (Curwensville) vs. 6 Donavan Edmonds (Clarion).

Fifth-seeded Isaak Baumgarner lost to Stewart, then decked CC’s Dein Snyder in his consi opener. He’ll face Hayden Kramer (Brookville) next, who he pinned in the D-9 Duals.

182: 1 Ethan Finch (Sheffield) vs. 4 Elliot Park (Brookville); 2 Cameron Whisner (Kane) vs. 3 Tyler Watts (Johnsonburg).

Port’s Dalton Distrola tech-falled his opening-round foe, only to suffer the same fate against the unbeaten Whisner. Distrola pinned CC’s Connor Nolan to stay alive in the consis, and will face Curwensville’s Duane Brady in the next round.

195: 1 Eric Johnson (Brockway) vs. 4 Derek Kallenborn (Port Allegany); 2 Aiden Gardner (Redbank Valley) vs. 3 Cole LaBenne (Brookville).

Kallenborn dropped Kane’s Dakota Neal in 1:29 to advance to the semis. He’s never faced Johnson, a two-time D-9 champion.

220: 1 Nathan Taylor (Brookville) vs. 5 Ray Schreckengost (Redbank Valley); 2 Cale Ayers (Coudersport) vs. 3 Justin Young (Port Allegany).

The bottom semifinal in this bracket is the last of eight all-AML affairs, with both wrestlers advancing via bye following a late scratch. Young stopped Ayers in 1:54 last season, but the two haven’t faced each other this year.

285: 1 Colby Whitehill (Brookville) vs. 7 Timmy Hasselman (Cameron County); 2 Kobe Bonnano (Redbank Valley) vs. 6 Jacob Kunselman (Ridgway).

Hasselman surprised fourth-seeded Shawn Nystrom (Kane) 3-2 in the quarters to earn a meeting with Whitehill, who’s on a 70-match win streak.

Six scholarships awarded at 15th Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp


Team Bruno 2018.
(Courtesy BIWC)

Lori Chase
June 29, 2018

The Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp, now in its 15th year after being renamed in memory of the Ridgway/Pitt-Johnstown standout and its 22nd year overall, once again took over both gyms and the wrestling room at Port Allegany High School for the week of June 18-22.

Johnni DiJulius, a four-time NCAA qualifier at Ohio State, and former Bellator MMA fighter Jason Sampson were among the new additions to a staff of clinicians that once again featured several college coaches and a roster stacked with collegiate national champions and All-Americans, MMA experts, and jiu-jitsu black belts.

Matt McCutcheon, who recently joined the coaching staff at Life University in Georgia, was back for his second year in Port. The three-time Nittany Lion NCAA qualifier called the local camp “unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” a sentiment echoed by other recent arrivals.

Here’s something else new: SIX of those college wrestlers met the stringent qualifications for the Bruno Iorfido Memorial Scholarship. To apply for the $1,000 award, a student has to be going into at least his sophomore year of college, keep his grades above a certain level, have attended multiple previous camps, and write an essay about what the camp has meant to him.

So instead of trying to choose one or two from among that group, the BIWC board decided to give all six the scholarship.

“There’s a lot of hard criteria. That’s what makes it crazy, that we still have that many people qualifying and applying,” camp co-founder Isaac Greeley said. “They all qualified, they all did everything right. So we’re just going to hustle our butts off and raise the extra money to award them all.

“We’re more proud of not the money that we’re raising, but what we’re putting into these kids. It’s not like we’re giving them a lot of money, it’s really more a badge of honor that they can carry for the rest of their lives: ‘Hey, I got a Bruno scholarship.’ That’s what we want to have. We’re 15 years into this, and every kid that’s gotten a scholarship has went on to do great things. So that’s the kind of people we want to put into, people that were like Bruno.”

And as co-founder Sean Lathrop pointed out, “Maybe we’re doing something right here in Port to have these kids keep coming back. All of them now are clinicians, and they’ve come since sixth, seventh, eighth grade. It says something about the loyalty we have. All the clinicians we have, they’re coming here. We’re not going to them, they’re coming here, which means I think we’ve got something pretty good going on.”

The six 2018 recipients were St. Marys grad Cameron Resch (Gannon), and Corey Falleroni, Steve Edwards, Matt Siszka, Tyler Reinhardt, and Alex Delp, all from Pitt-Johnstown.

“This is a special one,” Greeley said before handing out the final envelope. Now a junior on the Mountain Cats squad, Alex Delp was back on the mat less than six months after surviving an eight-story fall from his dorm room window in January 2017, with Greeley recalling that the young wrestler’s first words to him after coming out of a coma were, “I’m going to be at camp this year.”

Said Delp, “The support system (from ‘Team Bruno’ after the accident) has been incredible. I could not have done it by myself. I truly believe Bruno was with me when I had my accident, and he’s part of the reason why I’m still here today.
“I love this camp. I look forward to coming up here every year. There’s nothing on earth like it, I think. The connection here is so strong. People from rival schools, at rival weights, come up here and become the best of friends. This camp is truly incredible, and it’s all for a great cause.”

The board also recognized three of the 122 campers for their “work ethic, heart, and drive,” with Port Allegany’s Holden Nance (youth) and Issac Smoker (high school) selected along with Armstrong’s Connor Jacobs (junior high).

“You reminded us of Bruno. I think it’s pretty cool to see that. You guys are getting it,” Greeley said as he handed out the awards. Of Smoker, he added, “This kid really kicked butt this week, and I grew up with his parents, which makes it even more special.”

It was an unexpected honor for Smoker, who will be entering his senior year at Port.

“It was only my second time coming to camp since I was in elementary school. When my name got called out, I was shocked, really. It came out of nowhere, but it means a lot to me,” he said. “Everyone’s been telling me that I’ve got the potential, I just need to work harder, work harder. I never saw it in myself, but now it’s coming to me and I can finally wrap my head around it. I’m thinking about trying to go to college for it and everything.”

The 2018 PIAA Northwest Regional qualifier added, “It’s been tough for me because I haven’t done anything since wrestling season, so I was out of shape, but it’s already helped a lot. The first couple days I was sore, but it feels awesome to be there again. I’m kind of upset that I never went the last few years. It’s a lot of hard work from everybody. The coaches, the college kids – they’re national champs coming and helping out people. They’re showing moves right, and when they see an error they come and help you fix it. I’ve been kind of looking around as I wrestled, and I can see the littler kids having fun with it and still learning quite a bit. The coaches know how to make it fun, and also make you work hard.”

One of those college coaches, Gannon’s Don Henry, took the day off from his own week-long camp to make the two-hour drive east for Tuesday’s session.

“I think that the excitement of the kids that are here, the electricity, that draws you. It’s not like you go to a camp and the kids aren’t paying attention. They want to learn,” he said. “Every time I come here, it’s like, man, this is just a great experience. I taught for two hours this morning, and it was like, really, I’m out of time already? It all depends on the excitement level of the kids. Every kid here was anxious to learn something. Their attention span was really there.”

While the senior high wrestlers worked out in the main gym and the younger group was in the auxiliary gym, Henry and one of his former Golden Knights, Port grad Adam Greenman, were demonstrating moves to the junior high grapplers in the Gator wrestling room.

“He didn’t have to take off work to come to this camp, but he also likes to be the kid that’s been here for 21 years,” Henry said of Greenman. “It’s part of that Port Allegany tradition where they want this camp to be successful. Because of Isaac, because of all the people that come back and care about Bruno, it is.”

Greenman, who attended the inaugural camp in 1996 as a four-year-old and hasn’t missed one since, said, “It’s a big part of my life. I have to make sure I’m here every year. I just started a new job in February, and I had to make sure I at least had Tuesday off, when Coach Henry was here. Hopefully next year I can be here all week.”

Now an assistant on older brother B.J.’s PAHS coaching staff, he added, “It’s just awesome to see how big it’s grown. Just in maybe the past five years, it’s gotten huge. There’s almost too many kids, we almost don’t have enough room, it’s so big now.”

Speaking at the traditional Thursday night cookout and ‘Lathie Olympics,’ Greeley and Lathrop thanked both their families and the town of Port Allegany for continuing to support the camp.

“The first thing I want to say before anything is how special Bruno was, not just to me, but to a lot of the people in this room. I’m going to speak for all 13 board members: For us to come back here and keep this going, to keep his legacy alive, is something very special … but it needs to be bigger,” Greeley said. “We try to make it bigger and better every year, we do our very best, because we never want that light to go out. Because he was that kind of person. Let’s never forget him. Let’s understand what this camp is truly about. It’s about being that kind of person. I try to live like Bruno to this day.

“A lot of people are selfless. They understand what we’re doing and they believe in it. The whole thing’s kind of grown; more and more people are Team Bruno. It takes an army to get this week to happen. It can be very stressful at times to put all of this together, but we love it. We wouldn’t change anything.

“Our goal is to help form fine young men that are going to be good, upstanding people in this world. They know the difference from right and wrong. People call us role models. We’re really not role models; we’re just here to show what people can be. Kids like Bruno, the way he was. Everyone should aspire to be like that.

“It’s easy to forget when someone passes how special they were, but we knew how special he was and we never want that to die. It’s like a light we don’t want to go out. It would’ve been easy, we could’ve just said every year we’ll do a toast for Bruno, but that wasn’t enough. We had to do it up for him. And in all honesty, as big as this is, I wish it was bigger in his memory.”

bruno winners

From left to right, Issac Smoker, Holden Nance (both from Port Allegany), and Connor Jacobs (Armstrong) show off the “Team Bruno” bags they were awarded at the Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp cookout on June 21. The three were chosen from among 122 campers for displaying a combination of “work ethic, heart, and drive,” according to camp co-founder Isaac Greeley.(Courtesy of BIWC)

From last month: “Team Bruno” continues to pay it forward

And while I’m dusting off the blog, I’ve been promising Sean Lathrop this story for about a month now. Finally…..

Team Bruno 2017

Team Bruno, 2017. (Courtesy of the BIWC.)

Lori Chase
July 13, 2017

They’ve reached the heights of their sport: NCAA champions and All-Americans, Hall of Fame college coaches, jiu-jitsu black belts, mixed martial arts fighters who’ve entered the UFC and Bellator cages – and, for a select few, even representing their countries in Olympic and world championship competition.

And for a week every June, they gather in the northern Pennsylvania mountains to remember a fallen comrade by sharing their knowledge with the next generation.
The 14th annual Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp, held from June 19-23 this year, once again combined top-level instruction in the sport with a variety of off-the mat activities for campers and clinicians alike.

“It’s a great experience. Some of these kids have never seen hills like this, or even put a fishing pole in the water, until they come here,” said Al Beattie, whose son ‘Little Al’ was one of three collegiate scholarship winners along with Port Allegany alumni Mac Tanner (Clarion) and Casey Vollmer (Gannon), bringing the total amount awarded to the $30,000 mark.

But while there’s time for fun and games, the main focus is to remember Iorfido, the former Ridgway standout who went on to become an All-American at Pitt-Johnstown before dying in an auto accident in 2003. The idea is to not just teach wrestling moves, but Bruno’s work ethic, dedication, determination and moral values to the young campers.

“We talk all week about leaving a legacy: What kind of person are you going to be when it’s your time? Are you going to be someone that’s going to be remembered for the type of person that you were, the type of person that was there to help people? Someone that someone would want to do something like this for you? That’s exactly why we have this going in Bruno’s name,” said Isaac Greeley, one of the camp’s co-founders along with Sean Lathrop, Aaron Rendos and Jared Kuleck.

Greeley, a Port High alum who went on to earn All-American status on UPJ’s 1999 national-championship squad, was an assistant coach when Iorfido was a Mountain Cat, while Rendos, a Brockway native, was both Bruno’s teammate and roommate.

“You’ve heard it year after year that a lot of the new kids don’t know what he was all about and what he meant to all of us,” Rendos told the young wrestlers. “We kind of want to instill that with you. I try to do that with my own kids, try to get them to grow up like Bruno, the type of person Bruno was. We miss him every day, but he’s here in spirit. Things that happen in my life, I’m always thinking of him and he’s with me.”

That mindset has stayed the same for the last decade and a half, witnessing the camp’s growth from a couple dozen kids to one which draws clinicians from around the country – and now the world.

“We’ve got a lot of younger kids coming here just to train, especially some of the fighters. Wrestling might not be their thing, but if you come to this camp you can roll around with some of the best guys in the country. It’s a special thing. I think a lot more people are coming from the outside, wanting to come in, which makes it easier for us to expand the camp and bring in some of these top guys,” Rendos said at one of the camp’s traditional events, a Thursday-afternoon picnic.

“I mean, yesterday we had a four-time All-American, two-time national champ (Penn State’s Quentin Wright) in the morning, and then in the afternoon you get an Olympian (Uzbekistan’s Bekzod Abdurakhmonov) that beat one of America’s best in the world at Rio. He showed some really cool stuff.

“It’s been amazing to see the growth of this, especially in the last five years. Kind of the Bruno spirit, bringing that back to where they got it from.”

Abdurakhmonov, an All-American at Clarion in 2012, claimed bronze at the 2014 world championships before stunning USA star Jordan Burroughs at Rio, knocking him out of the 2016 Olympic tournament.

“It’s good to have him. He’s part of the Bruno family,” Rendos said. “He came, I want to say, about five years ago, then took a couple of years off. Now he’s coming back and helping us out again. He brought one of his buddies, his countrymen, who’s going to Paris to wrestle the under-21 world trials. And Flo (Temengil, a two-time Olympian for Palau) brought one of his boys that’s going to wrestle in Paris as well.
“That’s cool to see, two world team members not even from the United States that are coming to Port Allegany to share what they have and train alongside some of the best kids in the country.”

So where does the camp go from here?

“We need more mats,” Rendos said, chuckling. “We bring in around the 120-140 range, and we’re pretty packed with the mats we have. We have our steadfast clinicians, the college kids that come in every year, but then we get the feature ones and the Olympians. We’re just kind of building on that, trying to give the kids a different variety during the week so they’re not seeing the same thing every year.

“On Wednesday, (Bekzod) had every single, not only camper, but clinician and coach saying ‘Holy cow’ and bringing back what he shows. He coaches at Harvard right now, so he’s showing us some things he shows his college kids and what he’s learning there. I was captivated by that. I thought it was pretty cool, stuff I don’t see on a regular basis. The sport evolves so fast it’s hard to keep up.”

While the mats are set up in the Port Allegany High School gyms, the real camp headquarters is the Lathrop house, where Laurie and daughters Becca, Allison and Hannah keep everything running smoothly.

“They all put us up every year. It’s amazing, what they do. Those four right there are the reason this camp actually works,” said Jon-Marc Burdick, a former scholarship winner who wrestled at Smethport and Edinboro and is now a board member. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. They make it work. They mean a lot to us. They’re like sisters.”

According to Allison, the feeling is mutual.

“It’s one big support system,” she said. “We’ll go watch them wrestle, and they came to some AAU games for Becca. A few of them, when I was in Shippensburg for states, they came to watch me jump, they’ve watched Hannah play softball. We’re their sisters, even if they have sisters. They call Mom ‘Mama Lathe’.

“Everything they say is, ‘Laurie is such a saint.’ Some people think Dad’s the boss, and then they meet Mom and they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s definitely her.’”

Working with the camp even helped lead to a career choice for Allison. Following in the footsteps of Greeley, a successful chiropractor who also happens to be her godfather, she’s now a licensed massage therapist at the Charles Cole Memorial Hospital Wellness Center.

“I knew that I wanted to do something along the lines of what he does, and this was the next best thing,” she said.

Like Lathrop, ‘Little Al’ Beattie plans to pay his Team Bruno experience
forward. Now a redshirt sophomore heavyweight at UPJ after winning a PIAA championship at Burrell High School, he’s working toward an education degree to become a teacher and coach.

“I love this camp. I’ll be coming here as long as I’m able to physically. When I’m 60 years old, I hope I’m able to do this,” he said. “It’s awesome. It’s great for the kids, and it’s great for the person that Bruno was. Bruno was an exceptional person, he was a good wrestler, he did everything the right way.

“The tragedy that happened to his family and to our community… I feel like I knew Bruno, and I never met him. I feel like he’s there. Every single person that comes here that believes in the system, the lifestyle, doing everything the right way, is what Bruno would want. What we want to put onto the younger kids, and what we try to have the kids see in us. It’s just incredible.”


As usual, Lathrop posted a list of people he wanted to thank to the BIWC Facebook page after the event (with apologies to anyone he missed):

“John Caden, Barry and Donna Sauers, Perry and Jon-Marc Burdick, Mick and Sue Greeley, Ray and Janet Howard, my wife Laurie and my daughters, Pam Fischer, Lori Chase, the Port Allegany School District, the Carlson’s, Port Shop and Save, Port VMI, Isaac Greeley, Aaron Rendos and all board members.”

Web-only: Coudy sends eight wrestlers/OV three to regionals


Coudy medalists from District 9 Class AA wrestling championships at Clearfield High School, who will all be moving on to next weekend’s Northwest Regional at Sharon: Isaac Wright (1st), Gage Arnold, David Kudrick (both 2nd), Trevor Olney, Eli Ayers, Corey Thompson (all 3rd), Dustin Kudrick, Julian Smith (both 4th). Coudy finished second overall to four-time defending champ Brookville, setting school records for points (144) and regional qualifiers. (Photo: Lori Chase)

The Coudersport Falcons were ready to make some noise at last weekend’s District 9 Class AA individual wrestling championships, walking into Clearfield High School on Friday afternoon with seven top-four seeds and a team-championship silver medal in tow.

The bus pulled out of the parking lot the next evening with eight regional qualifiers, a gold medal for 170-pounder Isaac Wright, and a school record for team points. Defending state AA champ Brookville scored 242 points to cruise to its fourth-straight district title, but the Falcons’ superior depth allowed them to edge Ridgway for second place, 144-142.5, despite the Elkers coming away with champions in four weight classes.

“We brought 13 down here, and to get over half of those out is pretty outstanding. I think eight is the most Coudersport’s ever taken to regions,” said assistant coach Aaron Rendos, filling in while head coach John Bishel is temporarily sidelined with medical issues. “So proud of the guys. They stepped up this year. District runner-ups – they wanted to prove something, and they did.”

In addition to Wright, who outlasted top-seeded Garrett McClintick of Brockway, 2-1, in the final, the Falcons will send David Kudrick (second at 138), Gage Arnold (second at 160), Trevor Olney (third at 120), Eli Ayers (third at 182), Corey Thompson (third at 220), Dustin Kudrick (fourth at 145) and Julian Smith (fourth at 152) to Sharon this weekend. It’s the third year in a row for Arnold, who placed fourth there last year to qualify for states, while Olney, Dustin Kudrick, and Smith will each be going for the second time.

“We got eight through. Not the places I know some of these kids were hoping for, but it’s just a qualifier and we’re going to gear up for next week,” Rendos said. “It’s a whole new ballgame when we add District 10. I’m confident. We’ve wrestled twice in District 10, so we’re familiar with some of the kids and some of the styles they have. So the goal is to keep moving on. The top four from there go to states, so we’re hoping to get just as many through to the next level.”

Wright (28-9), starting from the No. 3 seed at 170, opened with a fall over Adam Sicher (Kane) in 3:48, then needed just 1:00 to flatten Seth Nellis (Clarion) in the quarterfinals. Facing sixth-seeded Braden MacBeth (Brookville) in the semis, Wright got the only takedown in a 3-2 decision, sending him into his first D-9 medal-round match.

“It was really intimidating, going up against a first seed. And Brockway, they’re so well-schooled, they have a great wrestling program,” he said of facing McClintick. “But I just knew if I wrestled my match and I kind of kept my head about me, I think the biggest thing was to not look at the outcome, to focus on the here-and-now inside the match. That’s what’s most important.”

In the final, Wright once again jumped out to an early lead, then held on for dear life to claim the top spot on the podium.

“We knew coming into that match, that kid was tough on top,” Rendos said. “So I told (Isaac), we’re going to keep it on our feet the whole time. I said, ‘You’re comfortable on your feet.’ Got the takedown in the second period, which put us up by two. Then he chose top in the third, so we had to fend him off pretty good to win a district title.”

For the final two minutes, McClintick tried everything he could to tilt Wright and get the back points he needed to flip the score in his favor, but the Falcon junior managed to thwart his attempts.

“I’ll definitely admit I was purposely stalling just a little bit,” he confessed, grinning. “I knew I was up, and I knew if I could just hang on, I’d be able to accomplish something that not a lot of people can say they’ve done. But you know, a win’s a win, as my coach just told me. So all in all, I’m just happy with the way it turned out. Actually, I didn’t know if I had won or not. I thought I had a lot more time, another 20 seconds. In fact, as soon as the buzzer rang, I stood up and looked at my coach and I said, ‘Did I win?’

“It was thrilling. It was something I’ve honestly never felt before. It was really incredible. I’m just happy for the opportunity to be here and wrestle with my team. All of our guys have come so far, and it’s such a big payoff for the work we’ve put into it. I’m definitely excited, and I’m not ready to stop working. I want to keep going, and I want to press as hard as I absolutely can and really show the guys at regionals what I’m made of, what our team is made of.”

Arnold (33-1), the only unbeaten wrestler entering the weekend, pinned his way to the 160-pound finals, decking Brent Rodney (Sheffield) in 1:30, Eben Wry (Cranberry) in 5:11, and fourth-seeded Teddy Race (Kane) in 2:56 in the semis. The championship match was against Port Allegany junior Jake Kallenborn, a longtime friend who Arnold had beaten twice in close matches earlier in the season. After a scoreless opening period, Arnold started the second on top, but Kallenborn managed to escape. A scramble led to an Arnold takedown, but Kallenborn wriggled free again, and the match went to the third tied 2-2. This time, it was the Coudy senior escaping from the bottom to go up 3-2, but with both wrestlers battling for position in the final few seconds, Kallenborn got the 2 just before the buzzer to hand Arnold his first loss.

“That’s the third time they wrestled this year, and it’s been one or two points each time, so you know it could go either way,” Rendos said. “It’s a tough loss for him. He’s been under the weather for the past couple days, but he’ll regroup, come back. He’s a tough kid.

“At the end of the match, we need to learn to close those matches out without getting into scrambles, getting put in a position where we have an opportunity to lose, put ourselves into a position where we have an opportunity to win. He’ll learn his lesson, and we’ll go into next week tougher than this week, and hopefully feeling a lot better.”

David Kudrick (30-7), the No. 2 seed at 138, earned his silver by pinning Josh Rees (Port A) and Jacob Cable (Brookville) to get to the semis, then rolling to a 7-1 win over third-seeded Oswayo Valley sophomore Isaiah Barney. In the championship match, No. 1 seed Logen McClain (Ridgway) managed the only takedown in a 3-1 decision.

Second-seeded Olney, Ayers, and Thompson each fell to the No. 3 seed in their semifinal matches but won out to take bronze, while Smith placed fourth to match his seeding and Dustin Kudrick knocked off fourth-seeded Tyler Watts (Johnsonburg) in the quarterfinals to put himself in medal contention.

So now it’s on to Sharon … and, after that, back to Hershey?

“We’ll be set to go,” Rendos said. “Our guys are really ramping up, they’re getting ready. They were pumped about this week and we did well, and I’m going to get them up for next week.”


Oswayo Valley District 9 wrestling medalists/regional qualifiers: junior Dylan Pesock (4th at 106), senior Grant West (4th at 182), sophomore Isaiah Barney (3rd at 138). (Photo: Lori Chase)

Oswayo Valley sent three top-four seeds to Clearfield, and the same number of Green Wave wrestlers will move on to Sharon.

“Not as good as we’d hoped, but it’s still good. Still going. That’s the goal, to get to the next round,” coach Denny Bloss said. “We’re okay. We had six into the second day, and the kids wrestled hard, wrestled well.”

Junior Dylan Pesock dropped a tough 4-2 decision in the 106-pound semifinals, then ran up against Port sophomore Reese Vollmer, a longtime friend and practice partner, in the third-place match.

“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.”

This one was their closest yet. After three periods and three overtimes, the score was deadlocked at 3-3, sending the match into the ultimate tiebreaker round. With Pesock starting on top, Vollmer managed the escape for the 4-3 win.

After falling to David Kudrick in the semifinals, sophomore 138-pounder Isaiah Barney didn’t lose another match, downing fourth-seeded C. J. Shreffler (Cranberry) for the bronze. At 182, West dropped a tough 8-4 decision to eventual silver medalist Kaleb Witherite (Curwensville) in the quarters, then wrestled his way back before being edged by Ayers, 2-1, in the third-place bout.

It’s the second consecutive trip to regionals for Pesock and West, a senior, while Barney (third at 138) will be making his first appearance.

“So if that means we get four next year, that would be pretty nice, but we’ll wait and see,” Bloss said with a grin.

District 9 Class AA
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.

Championship Finals:
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)

Third-place matches:
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)

Tentative regional matchups for Coudy/OV wrestlers:
106: 9-4 Dylan Pesock (Oswayo Valley, JR, 22-5) vs. 10-5 10-5 Logan Jaquay (Eisenhower, FR, 26-12)
– 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)
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: 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

D-9 wrestling: Kallenborn wins gold, three Gators headed for regionals


MEDAL RUSH: From L-R, Port Allegany medalists Reese Vollmer (3rd, 106 pounds), Jake Kallenborn (1st at 160/tie for Most Outstanding Wrestler Award), Trey Stiles (4th at 126) from the District 9 Championships held last weekend at Clearfield High School. (Photo: Pam Fischer)

(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.

Championship Finals:
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)

Third-place matches:
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

Gators, rest of AML ready to take the mat for D-9 wrestling

After wrapping up the regular-season with a 51-18 takedown of Smethport on the Hubbers’ mat last Wednesday, a pair of 2016 Northwest Regional qualifiers, Jake Kallenborn and Trey Stiles, will lead the Port Allegany wrestling team into this weekend’s District IX Class AA individual championships at Clearfield High School.

Both Gator juniors finished fourth at districts last season to earn their first trip to Sharon, where Kallenborn (25-4, 68-26 career) won a consi match before bowing out and Stiles (11-4, 49-24 career) shocked eventual state medalist Ryan Carlson with a first-period near-fall before the Brockway senior recovered to win by decision.
With Bradford High dropping from Class AAA to AA this season, ten other Allegheny Mountain League grapplers will seek another shot at regionals, with the Owls’ Tyler Thompson and Dillon Keane joining Oswayo Valley’s Dylan Pesock and Grant West, Kane’s Alec English, Johnsonburg’s Devon Norlin, and the quartet of Trevor Olney, Dustin Kudrick, Julian Smith and Gage Arnold from two-time league champion Coudersport.

Defending state champion Brookville seeks its fourth consecutive D-9 title and sixth in the last seven years, while Port (9-11 overall, 6-2 AML) hopes to match its fourth-place finishes from 2015-16. The tournament will get underway with preliminary and quarterfinal rounds at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25, followed by first and second-round consolation matches. The Class AAA wrestlers take the mat at 9:30 Saturday morning, while Class AA action will resume at 10:30 a.m. with semifinals and third and fourth-round consis. The Parade of Champions for both classes and District IX Hall of Fame induction is set for 3:30 that afternoon, with medal-round matches beginning at 4 p.m.

Ticket prices will be $6/adults and $3/students for each session, or $18/adults and $9/students for the entire championship.

106: Fourth-seeded Port sophomore Reese Vollmer (26-5) opens against No. 5 Ben Westerburg (Kane, fr., 16-5) in the quarterfinals, with the winner likely facing top seed Anthony Glasl (Brockway, fr., 26-6) in the semis. Vollmer downed Westerburg 6-0 in January.
AML: (2) Dylan Pesock (Oswayo Valley, jr., 19-3) vs. (15) Gary Emerick (Ridgway, fr., 14-11); (9) Chris Davis (Coudersport, fr., 6-22) vs. (8) Parker Fleming (Brookville, fr., 14-15); (16) Bryent Johnson (Smethport, fr., 19-5) vs. Glasl. Vollmer decisioned Johnson twice and decked Davis in 0:14, but lost 9-2 to Pesock, the returning D-9 fourth-place finisher, on Feb. 8.

113: The top two seeds in this eight-man bracket are both returning state qualifiers, with reigning D-9 106-pound champ Keelan Kunselman (Brookville, sr., 24-10) first and Curwensville’s Blake Passarelli (so., 24-3) second. Fifth-seeded Port junior Payton Caden (18-11) could see Kunselman in the semis if he gets past No. 4 Mason Songer (Redbank Valley, so., 17-6) in his first match.
AML: (6) Caden Smead (Sheffield, fr., 16-9) vs. (3) Kyle Bush (Ridgway, jr., 23-2); (7) Donovan Olney (Coudy, so., 16-14) vs. Passarelli. Caden pinned Olney in their only meeting; three of his losses were to Bush, who finished third at 106 last year to move on to regionals, with another to Passarelli in the Fred Bell Tournament.

120: Two-time state qualifier Gavin Park (Brookville, sr., 32-3) tops this bracket, with fifth-seeded Gator freshman Montgomery Tanner (16-10) drawing No. 4 Ridgway sophomore Luke Tomaski (11-11) in the quarters to determine Park’s likely opponent.
AML: (2) Trevor Olney (Coudy, sr., 22-10) vs. (7) Mason Gasper (Curwensville, so., 6-6); (6) Kole Holden (Sheffield, sr., 22-9) vs. (3) Hunter Martz (Redbank Valley, so., 18-11); (16) Patrick Rounsville (OV, so., 3-9) vs. Park. Tanner pinned Holden and Rounsville, lost via pin to Tomaski and was tech-falled by 2016 regional qualifier Olney during their dual-meet matchups.

126: The top seed is Brookville junior Kai Sorbin (23-10), who edged Stiles in last year’s 120-pound third-place match. Stiles, seeded third, will open his tournament against No. 14 Travis Crate (Cranberry, jr., 9-18).
AML: (4) Noah Blankenship (Kane, so., 17-5) vs. (13) Colton Gietler (OV, fr., 9-10), with the winner to face (5) Colby Keane (Bradford, fr., 20-5); (6) Aristotle Smith (Coudy, fr., 10-12) vs. (11) Jacob Disshon (Sheffield, fr., 9-16). Blankenship and Stiles split their two matches this season.

132: Bradford junior Tyler Thompson (26-3), the Class AAA runner-up at 126 last season, is the top seed. Port sophomore Issac Smoker (11-11) is sixth, and will open against third-seeded Dontae Constable (Brookville, jr., 19-12) in the quarters.
AML: (4) Devon Norlin (Johnsonburg, jr., 20-8) vs. either (5) Dawson Wilson (RV, sr., 15-12) or (12) Ethan Collins (Curwensville, sr., 3-8); (7) Nate Asp (Kane, fr., 12-10) vs. (10) Thomas Wilson (Coudy, fr., 7-17); (9) David Duell (OV, so., 5-9) vs. (8) Frank Weber (Clarion, jr., 18-10); (16) Ethan Fields (Cameron Co., so., 6-11) vs. Thompson. Smoker split two matches against Asp, and lost via decision to Thompson and Wilson.

138: Last year’s 132-pound silver medalist, Logen McClain (Ridgway, jr., 26-3), is the top seed. Port freshman Josh Rees (9-17), seeded 15th, will face No. 2 David Kudrick (Coudy, jr., 27-6) in the first round.
AML: (3) Isaiah Barney (OV, so., 21-5) vs. (14) Bryce Grecco (Brockway, so., 3-10); (7) Kyle Hartman (Bradford, so., 9-9) vs. (10) Jacob Cable (Brookville, so., 5-20); (8) Alex Sanderson (Smethport, jr., 11-9) vs. (9) Cole Bressler (Curwensville, so., 10-14); (11) Albert Haynes (CC, fr., 2-14) vs. (6) Colton Mohney (RV, sr., 15-8); (12) Cameron Whisner (Kane, fr., 5-10) vs. (5) Ryley McMaster (Clarion, jr., 17-12); (13) Tyler Dembinski (Sheffield, sr., 4-8) vs. (4) C.J. Shreffler (Cranberry, so., 18-10); (16) Josh Calla (Johnsonburg, so., 6-18) vs. McClain. Rees, who bumped up to 145 pounds for most of the season, majored Whisner while losing via pin to McClain and Kudrick.

145: Once-beaten Bradford sophomore Dillon Keane takes over as the top seed in this bracket, which was most recently ruled by Smethport two-time regional champ and PIAA medalist Jimmy Duffy. Keane will face Port freshman Devon Smoker (10-14) in the first round.
AML: (3) Alec English (Kane, so., 14-4) vs. (14) Bryce Walter (Brookville, so., 7-5); (4) Tyler Watts (Johnsonburg, fr., 17-10) vs. (13) Kevin Marfink (Sheffield, fr., 8-18); (5) Dustin Kudrick (Coudy, jr., 26-8) vs. (12) Billy Urmann (Ridgway, jr., 1-12); (11) William Russell (OV, jr., 11-8) vs. (6) Travis Crawford (RV, so., 17-15). Smoker lost via fall to Crawford at the Fred Bell Tournament.

152: Last year’s runner-up, Brookville junior Caleb Hetrick (33-3), is the top seed.
AML: (2) Aiden Hulings (Kane, so., 20-3) vs. (7) Jonathan Francis (Ridgway, sr., 15-12) or (10) Angelo Inzana (Brockway, jr., 9-8); (4) Julian Smith (Coudy, jr., 6-3) vs. (5) Jake Zimmerman (Johnsonburg, jr., 16-8) or (12) Simon Peter Couls (OV, jr., 4-16); (6) Jaron Ambrose (Bradford, so., 19-7) vs. (11) Cody Marfink (Sheffield, sr., 6-15).

160: With last year’s top two finishers at this weight, champion Paul Zacherl and Mac Tanner, now teammates at Clarion University, the No. 1 seed is unbeaten Coudy senior Gage Arnold (31-0). The second seed is Kallenborn, whose only two losses in D-9 this season have been via 3-1 and 7-2 decisions to Arnold. The Port junior will face either (7) Eric Johnson (Brockway, fr., 15-12) or (10) Eben Wry (Cranberry, fr., 4-8) in the quarterfinals.
AML: (5) Teddy Race (Kane, fr., 19-7) vs. (4) Clayton Peace (Brookville, sr., 14-9) or (13) Derek Sunafrank (Bradford, fr., 15-11); (6) Joey Elinski (Johnsonburg, jr., 12-5) vs. (11) Josh Summers (CC, so., 4-9); (16) Brent Rodney (Sheffield, fr., 2-3) vs. Arnold. Kallenborn tech-falled Elinski and majored Sunafrank during their AML matches.

170: Garrett McClintick (Brockway, so., 24-6) is the top seed. Port sophomore Wayne Shelley (7-7), seeded ninth, will open against No. 8 Jesse York (Cranberry, so., 18-11).
AML: (2) Akete Kindle (Smethport, sr., 21-4) vs. (15) Matt Berger (Johnsonburg, so., 6-18); (3) Isaac Wright (Coudy, jr., 24-9) vs. (14) Adam Sicher (Kane, so., 2-4); (4) Kevin Evans (Sheffield, jr., 17-11) vs. (13) Caleb Pifer (CC, so., 6-11); (10) Nate Shroyer (OV, sr., 11-6) vs. (7) Braden MacBeth (Brookville, so., 3-8). Shelley decisioned Pifer, and lost to Wright via injury default.

182: Brookville senior Noah Cielski (27-6) is back to defend his title, while the Gators will wait to see if senior Rob Arnett (16-7) can return from injury. If Arnett is ready to go, he’ll face fourth-seeded Redbank Valley junior Logan Minich (18-8) in the first round.
AML: (2) Eli Ayers (Coudy, so., 25-7) vs. (15) Eric Botwright (Brockway, sr., 6-11); (6) Grant West (OV, sr., 18-6) vs. (3) Kaleb Witherite (Curwensville, sr., 21-7); (8) Hunter Gray (Bradford, jr., 3-19) vs. either Cielski or (16) Nolan Nudd (Sheffield, so., 5-3); (10) Shayne Westfall (Smethport, fr., 8-3) vs. (7) Dylan Saltsgiver (Cranberry, so., 13-14). Arnett pinned Gray, and lost via decision to West, last year’s bronze medalist, and Ayers.

195: Brookville junior Xavier Molnar (30-6), last year’s 170-pound champ, is the top seed.
AML: (5) Matt Stratton (Smethport, jr., 16-8) vs. (4) Pierce Yahner (Brockway, jr., 5-12); (6) Ty Stahli (Kane, so., 16-7) vs. (3) Ben Smith (Clarion, fr., 16-8); (10) Troy McKeone (Coudy, sr., 12-13) vs. (7) Gavin Shilling (RV, 2-4).

220: With the Gators’ two-time champion Ethan Budd continuing his career at Gannon University, last year’s runner-up, Brookville junior Tyler Cook (32-4), moves up to the No. 1 line.
AML: (2) Corey Thompson (Coudy, sr., 24-9) vs. (7) Austin McCracken (Bradford, so., 9-12); (11) Michael Vandergrift (OV, so., 8-12) vs. (6) Dasan Manross (Cranberry, so., 7-5); (14) Dakota Menteer (Kane, jr., 3-5) vs. (3) Tom Wurster (Clarion, jr., 19-8).

285: The 2016 bronze medalist, Ridgway senior Colton McClain (23-3), is the top seed. Port junior Brock Veilleux (1-21), seeded 15th, opens against No. 2 Timmy McCauley (Cranberry, jr., 14-5).
AML: (4) Billy Morrison (OV, sr., 14-8) vs. (13) Thomas McGuire (Kane, sr., 7-6), with the winner to face (5) Nick Knowles (Sheffield, so., 20-8); (7) Brendon Dickenson (Smethport, sr., 16-7) vs. (10) Jeff Gunn (Coudy, jr., 11-18); (9) Zach Hodgdon (Johnsonburg, jr., 6-13) vs. (8) Hayden Thompson (Brockway, so., 10-9); (11) Timmy Hasselman (CC, fr., 2-14) vs. (6) Colby Whitehill (Brookville, fr., 8-2). Veilleux lost via decision to Hodgdon and Morrison, and was pinned by McClain, Gunn, and Dickenson in league action.

Temengil ready to roll in Rio

Aug. 4, 2016

The sport of wrestling has taken Florian Skilang Temengil to just about every corner of the world.

From growing up in Dallas, the son of immigrants from the tiny Republic of Palau in the western Caroline Islands, to becoming an NWCA All-American at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, to a gold medal at the 2016 Oceania Championships in New Zealand and bronze at the Africa Oceania Olympic Qualifier in Algeria — and even a week-long visit to Port Allegany in June for this year’s Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp.

Now, it’s brought ‘Flo’ from a training session in Korea to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, site of the 2016 Summer Games, where he’ll lead the Palauan delegation into the opening ceremony tomorrow night before stepping onto the mat for his opening-round 125kg freestyle match on Aug. 20.

“Palau’s such a small country, there’s not a lot of funding. We’re building a sport; I’m only the second generation of wrestlers there. So if I don’t go, no one goes from my country,” he said during his stint at ‘Camp Bruno.’

“We’re trying to build it. That’s what I’m here for. I feel like it’s kind of a little bigger than me. I have to stick with it, keep the next kids coming up. I think it’s gonna be a good thing, staying with it, especially for the island.”

Reached via Facebook on Monday afternoon, a few days after Team Palau landed in Brazil, he relayed that “it’s been a hassle getting wrestling partners, but I was able to do a little live wrestling today and blew my lungs out with the Cuban team. It’s going to be a buildup to my match. Every day, I’ll push it a little more and feel a little better.

“The food is okay, the rooms are kind of like dorms, the people are very nice, and the facilities are big. Lots of traffic here, but Rio looks better over on the village side.”

And you’d better believe Temengil is looking forward to the Parade of Nations during the opening ceremony at the fabled Estádio do Maracanã.

“I’ll be the one holding the flag for Palau,” he said. “And maybe I’ll be wearing a surprise outfit.”

The opening ceremony will be carried on NBC (tape-delayed) at 8:00 p.m. on Aug. 5.

Camp Bruno continues to grow

Team Bruno 2016

Team Bruno, circa 2016.

Lori Chase
June 30, 2016

It’s becoming an annual tradition, and one which keeps growing every year.

For a week in mid-June, dozens of young wrestlers, coaches, and clinicians from all over the country — and this year, even an Olympian from the island nation of Palau — made the pilgrimage to Port Allegany for the 13th annual Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp.

Renamed in 2004 to honor the memory of the Ridgway High School standout and Pitt-Johnstown All-American who died in an auto accident shortly after working at the camp the previous summer, this year’s sessions boasted nearly 150 campers and more than three dozen coaches and teachers from the sports of wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and mixed martial arts.

“We’re pretty much at capacity for the number of kids we can handle, so that worked out perfect,” said Isaac Greeley, who co-founded the camp with Sean Lathrop, Aaron Rendos, and Jared Kulek. “Everyone’s got the ‘Bruno Spirit,’ where everyone gets into what Bruno was trying to accomplish, trying to carry on his legacy.”

Over at the registration table, Lathrop was already working on how to borrow more mats and find housing for more campers next year.

“That’s a tough problem to have,” he said, smiling. “Every year, things just seem to fall into place. We may have a hiccup here or there, but everybody steps in to help.”

One of the highlights of this year’s camp, in addition to a visit by two-time NCAA Division 1 champion Quentin Wright (Penn State), was Florian Temengil’s first visit to the mountains of northern Pennsylvania.

The 29-year-old Temengil, who lives and works in Dallas after becoming an All-American wrestler at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, will head to Brazil in August to represent Palau in the 125-kg freestyle division at the Summer Olympics. It will be the second Olympiad for Temengil, the reigning heavyweight champion in Oceania, who also wrestled at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

A conversation with an MMA fighter he was working out with in Dallas brought up Greeley’s name as someone who’s had success coaching in several different forms of combat sports, including current UFC fighter Chris Dempsey and Dom Mazzotta, who’s set to challenge for the Cage Fury Fighting Championships bantamweight title in Atlantic City in August.

“I texted Isaac, he invited me out, and it’s been a great idea. I needed to get away from working and focus for a little while for the Games. You have to prepare. So this has been amazing,” Temengil said. “The whole town’s been great. I’m really glad I came. It’s like 150 degrees in Dallas, and here, kids are swimming while their parents are wearing sweaters. It’s a little different up here, but it’s nice. I like it. Everyone’s been really friendly. A real good experience.”

Greeley explained, “I told ‘Flo’ I had some good heavyweights to wrestle with and some great coaches, so he made the trip up, and he stayed with Ray Howard. He’s been training with D.J. Sims (UPJ), Nick Budd (Gannon), and Al Beattie (UPJ), and Tom Storey (1989 Coudersport state champ and former college coach) has been working out with him too.”

At Thursday’s cookout at the Port Allegany Veterans Memorial pavilion, it didn’t matter whether you were from Port Allegany, Pittsburgh, or Palau, with the festivities taking on the appearance of a giant family reunion.

“I’ve just got to give credit to Isaac and Brandon (Newill, Iorfido’s UPJ teammate) and Sean, all the people that put this thing together,” said longtime UPJ coach Pat Pecora, who continues to make the trip upstate every year. “It’s just amazing. And, of course, the purpose is outstanding. What better way for a person to live on than have a memorial for them with a celebration? Not only the guys he wrestled with, but his family, his brothers, the wrestling community…To me, it’s a blessed event. I leave here every year feeling like I came from a revival meeting or something. It’s such a great feeling. I know Bruno would be so humbled and honored to see it: ‘All these people are getting together for me?’”

Iorfido’s family also comes up from Ridgway for the event. This year, camp organizers presented them with a plaque bearing the names of BIWC scholarship winners, with the current total of awards standing at $27,000.

“When I saw the team picture this morning, I knew this was the biggest camp yet. I was very proud. Proud of this staff,” said Iorfido’s father, ‘Big Bruno.’

“When I see the guys that Bruno wrestled with, Brandon, Isaac, Aaron, Craig (Hight), I’m so proud to see you guys here every year. For all you new campers, you younger guys, this is going to be your family. Wrestling is gonna be your family. This is going to carry you through the rest of your life. These people that you’re with, your wrestling family, it’s going to be a very important part of your life.”

Greeley echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a pretty special thing. You just can’t create this in one night; it’s been 20 years in the making,” he said. “This is the 20th year having camp, the 13th year of it being the Bruno Iorfido scholarship camp. It’s just something special that we’ve created. It’s pretty amazing.”

A plaque containing the names of the Bruno Iorfido Wrestling Camp scholarship winners was presented to Iorfido’s family during a awards ceremony at the Port Allegany Veterans Memorial on June 16.
From left: Iorfido’s college coach at Pitt-Johnstown, Pat Pecora, camp co-founders Sean Lathrop and Isaac Greeley, 2016 Olympics wrestler Florian Temengil (holding plaque), Bruno’s parents, ‘Big Bruno’ and Val Iorfido, and his brothers Beau and Paul Iorfido.
(Photo: Pam Fischer)

In addition to Port Allegany High School, which has been “real hospitable letting us use their facilities,” Lathrop had a list of people to thank:

“Most important, my wife Laurie and daughters Becca, Allison, and Hannah.”

Mick and Sue Greeley, Ray and Janet Howard, John and Becky Caden, Brad, Jenny, B.J. and Jena Greenman, Barry and Donna Sauers, Mark, Phil, and Perry Carlson, Rod and Pam Rees, and Perry and Jon-Marc Burdick all helped house campers and clinicians for the week.

Also, Steve Crowe, the Port Allegany Veterans Memorial, Dave Frontino and the Port Shop ‘n Save, and Pam Fischer and Lori Chase of the Reporter Argus.

Kriner inducted into D-9 Wrestling HOF

Kriner PA

Former Port Allegany wrestling coach John Kriner (third from left) with the current Gator squad at last weekend’s District IX Championships, where he was inducted into the local chapter of the PWCA Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016.

Lori Chase
Mar. 3, 2016

Very few local high schools offered the sport of wrestling when a young teacher named John Kriner arrived in Port Allegany in 1970.
Kriner helped to change that, serving as the Gators’ first head coach from 1973-79, then taking the mantle again from 1986-94. When he retired from the school in 2004 following a three-year stint with the junior high squad, he’d compiled a 145-85-1 career varsity record and coached nine district champions, two Northwest Regional champions, eight state qualifiers and one PIAA state champion.
His efforts to teach and promote the sport were officially recognized last weekend, when Kriner was part of the District IX Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2016 inducted during the championship meet at Clearfield.
For Kriner, the honor was “very humbling.  It’s not like winning a district title or taking a kid and watching him become a state champion. It’s a humbling thing, because there are so many others that have been a part of that family or fraternity or whatever you might want to call it that have come before you, and there are so many others that are going to come after you. The unique thing is they’ve all worked to benefit the sport, and in the process, to benefit kids. I’m humbled to be a part of that.”
So how did someone who never wrestled in high school or college get involved with the sport, anyway?
“I went to Lock Haven University after graduating from Emporium in 1966 — boy, that seems like a long time ago,” he joked. “When I was at Lock Haven, they were a powerhouse wrestling school, and I just became enthralled with the sport as a spectator. It was one of those combinations of watching those young men participating, and perhaps the fantasy in my own mind: ‘Boy, I wish I’d have had a chance. I wish that this would’ve been available for me.’
“When I was hired at Port Allegany in 1970, I worked with Frank Robinson for a year or maybe two in Junior Olympics. He had a background in wrestling, and he wanted to be able to create something for not only his kids, but other kids in the sport. Frank was more or less the motivating force in getting the Junior Olympic program started, and certainly was very instrumental in helping to push for the beginning of a varsity program in Port Allegany.”
The school decided to try the sport on a trial basis in 1972. Kriner applied for and got the coaching job, working with “a half-dozen or eight kids” the first year before going ahead with a full schedule in 1973.
“To tell you the truth, I was so naive at the time, one of my very first goals with wrestling was to develop a state champion within the first five years of the program.” he said. “Well, that didn’t happen, but we did have a young man who placed at districts. Mike Freeman was actually our very first placewinner at the district tournament (in 1975), so he has his place in history for Port Allegany wrestling.”
After stepping away following the 1978-79 season, Kriner returned to the helm of the program in 1985-86, just in time to see a promising sophomore win a district title.
Two years later, Dale Budd stood atop the podium at Hersheypark Arena, a PIAA gold medal draped around his neck. To this point, he remains the only Gator wrestler to win a state championship.
“That was a remarkable experience,” Kriner said. “It was following the loss of my son, and Dale and my son Rick were good friends. Most of the kids on that team were all good friends with Ricky.
“One of the things I’ll always hold very dear to my heart is Dale’s first words when he came off the mat after winning a state title and grabbing a big bear-hug back and forth. With all the emotion of the victory and everything else, his first words were, ‘Coach, that one was for Bonecrusher.’ That’s what the kids called Ricky. That was really, really important to me.”
Budd, himself a District IX Hall of Famer after a career which went on to include earning NCAA Division I All-American status at Lock Haven, made the trip from near Philadelphia to be there for the ceremony on Saturday afternoon. A similar show of respect was evident on a Facebook post Kriner wrote to thank everyone involved with the program, which garnered more than 400 ‘likes’ and dozens of congratulatory comments, including many from his former wrestlers.
Another former Gator standout echoed their sentiments when contacted earlier in the week.
“Coach Kriner was a huge influence on my life. He really started to plant the seed of not only developing a passion for the sport of wrestling, but also for helping others and being selfless. He was a great role model for me at a young age and without his guidance I would not be where I am today,” said Isaac Greeley, a four-time state qualifier who went on to become a two-time NCAA Division II All-American at Pitt-Johnstown. “I’m very proud that he is being inducted into the D-9 Hall of Fame and happy that someone who put so much into others is being recognized for all that he has done for the sport and his wrestlers.”
Greeley is one of several former Port wrestlers who decided to follow Kriner’s lead into coaching, from Steve Crowe, Denny Bloss, Mike Borro and Greg Budd (to name a few) from those early teams to current Gator varsity coaches B.J. Greenman and Chad Saltsman.
“That circle of life continues to go on,” Kriner said. “I appreciate watching B.J. and Chad and the work they do, the other local guys like John Bishel and Aaron Rendos, all of these different men and their contribution toward helping kids. Because to me, the extracurricular activities in a school are the window that the community can see what’s going on within the school system. Not just wrestling or football or basketball, but all of the activities, be it in athletics or the performing arts. The coaches, mentors, advisors … all those people who involve themselves in the lives of kids. That’s important. That helps to mold those young people in moving forward.
“That’s a legacy. That, to me, that’s a part of what you do. The most important thing in what I did was to create the program. The concept is to create a program that’s more important than any one individual, whether it’s the coach or any one star on the team. The ideal situation is to be able to take those principles that you teach, and to have them mean enough to someone else to want to take the same concept and carry it on by doing it with others. There’s no greater thanks you could ever receive.”


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)