Evan Link stood in the center of the Altoona Fieldhouse Saturday night holding the District 6 Class AA Outstanding Wrestler trophy and looked surprised.
"I didn't think I was going to get it," the Penn Cambria 112-pounder said. "I thought Ronnie [Garbinsky] would get it."
Link got it through a vote of the media by pinning Ligonier Valley's returning district champion Josh Patrick in 2:49. For Link, it was his third district title.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Penn?Cambria’s Evan?Link, named the Outstanding Wrestler, pins Joshua Patrick from Ligonier Valley in the 112-pound final Saturday.
"He's on a mission," PC coach Todd Niebauer said. "I'm convinced that Evan is wrestling really, really well. To win three district titles is saying something."
Garbinsky captured his fourth district title, becoming the first Tyrone wrestler to do so, by beating Juniata's Brandon Rowles, 13-4, in the finals.
He's only the 16th wrestler in district history to win four, and he's the first Class AA grappler to do it since Forest Hills' Jake Strayer captured his fourth in 2004. Garbinsky is the second Mirror coverage are wrestler to win four, joining Claysburg-Kimmel's Jarrett Musselman, who won his fourth in 2002.
"It feels awesome to be the first one to win four district titles for Tyrone," Garbinsky said. "It's a great accomplishment that I've worked for since I was little. Hopefully, I can finish this year off with a state title."
In all, eight area wrestlers won titles and 30 qualified for the Southwest Regional, which begins in two weeks. C-K's James Dodson (119), who came in second in the OW voting, and Cole Claar (130), Central Cambria's Ben Rager (125) and Tony Risaliti (152), Cambria Heights' Ryan Dupas (103) and Portage's David Kephart (189) also won district gold.
C-K had three runners-up in Josh Brown (103), Ty Dively (125), and Corey Aungst (145). Three PC wrestlers took second in Nick Szala (130), Justin Miller (140) and Tom Hanlon (152). Huntingdon's Kie Brown (119), Moshannon Valley's James Stodart (189) and CC's Shane Morris (285) also had to settle for second.
Juniata, which entered the tournament for the first time coming off the death on 125-pounder Tad Treaster, won the team title by six points over Forest Hills, 186.5-180.5. Huntingdon (174.5) and C-K (166) finished third and fourth, respectively.
"We had a good dual meet season," said Huntingdon coach Jon Mykut, who was voted the District 6 Coach of the Year by the coaches. His assistant, Neil Simpson, was named Assistant Coach of the Year. "We got through to regionals and eight or nine placed in the top six, and that says something about our depth."
Link, who won by injury default over Southern Huntingdon's Dison Myers without even wrestling, threepeated in convincing fashion, building a 7-1 first-period lead on Patrick and then 8-1 in the second when he pancaked Patrick to his back and pinned him in 2:39.
"I was a little stronger," Link said. "I'm a senior, and that had something to do with it."
Afterward, Link was thinking of some family bragging rights in regard to brothers Nathan and Ryan.
"It feels great," Evan said. "I beat my brothers. Nate only got one [district title], and Ryan didn't get any. I worked my butt off. It's coming down to the end of the season, and I'm happy."
Dodson, who earned his 100th win with a 3-1 victory over Bellwood-Antis' Jared Woomer in the semifinals, took a 2-0 lead over the previously unbeaten Brown into the second period, where he was awarded an interlocking point before he scored a reversal to take a 5-0 lead. Mykut questioned the referee about the penalty point, but the score stayed the same.
"I was questioning the technical violation," Mykut said. "I wasn't sure what he actually called. We didn't see it in the corner, but he's the official."
Brown reversed Dodson to his back for four points to make the score 5-4. Dodson rode the entire third period, and when the clock struck zero, the C-K fans erupted in celebration. After his hand was raised, Dodson jumped into Marko's arms.
"James won as much as anything because he wrestled for six minutes," Marko said. "He attacked every single second of the match."
A Dupas takedown was waved off in a scoreless first period, but he escaped in the second and took Brown down with 17 seconds left in the period. He rode Brown the entire third period for a 3-0 win.
Rager, who came in unbeaten, trailed Dively, 7-5, in the third period, but he took Dively down and scored two nearfall points. Dively escaped late, but Rager held to earn a wild 9-8 win.
"It feels awesome," Rager said, "especially coming off last year when I wasn't able to wrestle. I wrestled seven matches and tore out my knee. I knew it was going to be a tough match, but I pulled it out at the end."
Claar scored three takedowns, including the last one with 22 seconds left, in beating Szala, 7-4.
Risaliti, the second seed, remained unbeaten with a convincing 11-3 major decision of the fifth-seeded Hanlon. Risaliti scored five points in the second period and four more in the third, including a takedown at the buzzer.
"I wrestled a tough match," Risaliti said. "I could have done a little bit better. [The last takedown] is the Young Guns mentality, go whistle to whistle."
Kephart wasted little time in winning his first title, pinning Stodart in 1:47 with a headlock from the top position.
Central Cambria's run was stopped at 285 when Richland returning state John Rizzo edged Morris, 3-2.
"This was a great, great day for Central Cambria wrestling," CC coach Bob Nikolishen said. "There was some rumors out there that our program was taking some steps backward, and Tony, Ben and Shane wanted to step in and make sure that wasn't true."
DISTRICT 6 CLASS AA TOURNAMENT
KEY, TEAM STANDINGS
1. J-Juniata 186.5; 2. FH-Forest Hills 180.5; 3. H-Huntingdon 174.5; 4. CK-Claysburg-Kimmel 166; 5. MU-Mount Union 148.5; 6. PC-Penn Cambria 141; 7. T-Tyrone 100.5; 8. CC-Central Cambria 97; 9. CH-Cambria Heights 96; 10. BA-Bellwood-Antis and PV-Penns Valley 89.5; 12. MV-Moshannon Valley 84.5; 13. MC-Marion Center 80; 14. B-Blairsville 75; 15. LV-Ligonier Valley 71; 16. R-Richland 67.5; 17. U-United 63; 18. G-Glendale and WB-West Branch 55; 20. P-Portage 53; 21. SH-Southern Huntingdon 43.5; 22. NC-Northern Cambria 25.5; 23. C-Central 14; 24. JV-Juniata Valley 4.
THIRD ROUND CONSOLATIONS
103-Fink, BA, dec. Moist, MU, 4-1; D. Beitz, J, pinned South, B, :41; Albright, WB, pinned Bryan, 2:35; Wilson, H, dec. Knapic, U, 4-3; 112-N. Paronish, NC, dec. Russell, H, 1-0; White, J, pinned Albright, C, 2:23; Sell, CK, maj. dec. Bloom, MV, 9-1; Davis, CH, dec. Bumbarger, WB, 5-4; 119-Shields, SH, pinned Ohler, MV, 2:10; Nanna, J, dec. Long, CC, 3-2 OT TB3; Naglic, R, pinned Wagner, JV, 4:01; Aurand, MU, maj. dec. Fisch, WB, 12-0; 125-Sweitzer, G, pinned Morgan, SH, :55; Palmer, B, dec. Hammel, C, 12-0; Hayles, WB, tech. fall McFarland, BA, 16-0, 4:41; Norris, H, dec. Tozer, MC, 7-5; 130-Yahner, NC, tech. fall Reid, J, 18-2, 5:00; Corle, FH, pinned Pecora, R, :47; Long, MU, dec. Noye, BA, 9-3; Erwin, SH, maj. dec. Lowry, B, 8-0; 135-Decker, PV, pinned Smith, MU, 2:41; Kearney, PC, tech. fall Prokop, C, 19-1, 3:39; Claycomb, CK, dec. Baker, NC, 14-8; Wolfhope, FH, maj. dec. Mortensen, B, 8-0; 140-Speicher, R, pinned T. Thomas, CH, 4:31; Wunder, T, won by forfeit over Morder, MU; Weyant, CK, dec. Seese, CC, 8-3; Hosterman, PV, dec. Solecki, BA, 3-2.
145-Grove, MU, dec. Peters, H, 9-3; Brown, PV, maj. dec. Thompson, B, 16-6; Smeal, MV, pinned Emeigh, C, 1:29; Crook, MC, dec. Walters, SH, 4-1; 152-Boozel, MU, dec. Shertzer, J, 8-2; Kristofits, WB, tech. fall J. Ludwig, MV, 18-3, 5:00; Shaffer, FH, pinned Strayer, CK, :48; Stahl, U, dec. Confer, PV, 2-0; 160-Kylor, MU, pinned Tripodis, B, :48; Inzana, CH, maj. dec. Romano, H, 11-3; Pinkas, FH, maj. dec. Taylor, BA, 15-4; Matt Swartz, PV, pinned Cook, MV, 2:05; 171-Crawford, CH, pinned Rees, WB, 2:05; Rowe, MU, pinned Wisen, P, 3:07; Beckwith, T, pinned Schlosser, PC, 1:10; Gaston, B, dec. Davensizer, BA, 9-2; 189-De. Hornbake, FH, pinned Davis, B, 2:21; Stapleton, MU, pinned Geisbrecht, PC, 2:01; Na. Shope, H, pinned Curtis, J, 3:36; Pannebaker, T, dec. Beach, CH, 5-2; 215-Everhart, H, pinned English, WB, 1:41; Burns, MU, pinned White, B, 1:24; Pappal, MC, pinned Knisely, CK, 1:30; Howard, U, pinned Domanick, MV, :49; 285-Powell, J, dec. Shawley, LV, 3-0; Smith, MU, pinned Bunnell, MV, 3:01; Gongloff, BA, pinned McAfoos, B, 2:13; Feathers, CK, dec. Miller, CH, 9-4.
103-Brown, CK, dec. Ju. Patrick, LV, 4-2 OT; Dupas, CH, maj. dec. Heberling, MC, 10-2; 112-Link, PC, won by injury default over Myers, SH; Ja. Patrick, LV, dec. Wilson, MU, 1-0; 119-Brown, H, dec. B. Thomas, CH, 4-2; Dodson, CK, dec. Woomer, BA, 3-1; 125-Dively, CK, pinned Knable, MU, 3:55; Rager, CC, maj. dec. McMonagle, T, 12-4; 130-Claar, CK, maj. dec. Gutshall, H, 11-3; Szala, PC, dec. Weston, T, 4-1; 135-Garbinsky, T, pinned Helsley, 3:15; Rowles, J, maj. dec. C. Shope, H, 9-0; 140-Miller, PC, pinned Bafia, H, 3:49; Brydon, FH, dec. Tarr, B, 7-3.
145-Z. Beitz, J, maj. dec. Law, FH, 18-5; Aungst, CK, dec. Slovikosky, CK, 7-3; 152-Hanlon, PC, dec. Marter, H, 5-4; Risaliti, CC, pinned Shaw, BA, 1:42; 160-D. Treaster, J, dec. Peterson, MC, 5-1; Blankenship, U, maj. dec. Miller, LV, 11-2; 171-Gallaher, FH, maj. dec. D. Ludwig, MV, 12-0; Miller, J, tech. fall Miller, H, 22-6, 4:41; 189-D. Kephart, P, maj. dec. Lavan, MC, 11-2; Stodart, MV, dec. Speigle, WB, 6-2; 215-Dillon, PV, maj. dec. Campbell, J. 15-6; Meier, FH, pinned Nanassy, LV, 3:38; 285-J. Rizzo, R, pinned Ni. Shope, H, 1;26; Morris, CC, pinned Brown, G, :53.
103-D. Beitz, J, tech. fall Fink, BA, 17-1, 2:37; Wilson, H, dec. Albright, WB, 4-1; 112-White, J, dec. N. Paronish, NC, 6-3; Sell, CK, pinned Davis, CH, 4:39; 119-Shields, SH, dec. Nanna, J, 4-1; Aurand, MU, dec. Naglic, R, 2-1; 125-Sweitzer, G, pinned Palmer, B, 2:32; Norris, H, dec. Hayles, WB, 9-2; 130-Yahner, NC, dec. Corle, FH, 4-2; Long, MU, dec. Erwin, SH, 3-1 OT; 135-Kearney, PC, dec. Decker, PV, 9-2; Wolfhope, FH, maj. dec. Claycomb, CK, 9-0; 140-Speicher, R, dec. Wunder, T, 8-4; Hosterman, PV, maj. dec. Weyant, CK, 10-1.
145-Grove, MU, dec. Brown, PV, 11-7; Crook, MC, dec. Smeal, MV, 3-2; 152-Boozel, MU, dec. Kristofits, WB, 4-1; Shaffer, FH, dec. Stahl, U, 5-4; 160-Inzana, CH, maj. dec. Kylor, MU, 14-0; Pinkas, FH, dec. Matt Swartz, PV, 5-4; 171-Rowe, MU, dec. Crawford, CH, 9-3; Beckwith, T, pinned Gaston, B, 3:53; 189-De. Hornbake, FH, dec. Stapleton, MU, 7-2; Na. Shope, H, dec. Pannebaker, T, 6-4; 215-Burns, MU, dec. Everhart, H, 10-4; Howard, U, pinned Pappal, MC, 1:53; 285-Powell, J, dec. Smith, MU, 3-2; Gongloff, BA, pinned Feathers, CK, 2:34.
103-Ju. Patrick, LV, pinned D. Beitz, J, 2:06; Heberling, MC, dec. Wilson, H, 6-0; 112-Myers, SH, maj. dec. White, J, 14-4; Wilson, MU, dec. Sell, CK, 7-1; 119-Woomer, BA, maj. dec. Shields, SH, 10-2; B. Thomas, CH, dec. Aurand, MU, 10-3; 125--McMonagle, T, pinned Sweitzer, G, 1:29; Norris, H, dec. Knable, MU, 4-3; 130-Weston, T, pinned Yahner, NC, :46; Long, MU, dec. Gutshall, H, 6-5; 135-Helsley, BA, pinned Kearney, PC, 4:58; C. Shope, H, pinned Wolfhope, FH, :28; 140-Tarr, B, dec. Speicher, R, 6-3; Hosterman, PV, maj. dec. Bafia, H, 11-0.
145-Grove, MU, dec. Slovikosky, PC, 4-2 OT TB3; Law, FH, pinned Crook, MC, 1:34; 152-Boozel, MU, pinned Shaw, BA, 4:58; Marter, H, dec. Shaffer, FH, 2-0; 160-Inzana, CH, dec. Miller, LV, 4-1; Peterson, MC, dec. Pinkas, FH, 4-1; 171-Miller, H, pinned Rowe, MU, 4:17; D. Ludwig, MV, dec. Beckwith, T, 4-2; 189-De. Hornbake, FH, won by forfeit over Speigle, WB; Lavan, MC, dec. Na. Shope, H, 8-2; 215-Nanassy, LV, pinned Burns, MU, :44; Howard, U, pinned Campbell, J, 2:09; 285-Brown, G, pinned Powell, J, 1:21; Gongloff, BA, pinned Ni. Shope, H, 3:22.
103-Wilson, H, dec. D. Beitz, J, 8-6; 112-White, J, dec. Sell, CK, 7-4; 119-Aurand, MU, dec. Shields, SH, 7-3; 125-Sweitzer, G, dec. Knable, MU, 7-4; 130-Gutshall, H, pinned Yahner, NC, 2:48; 135-Wolfhope, FH, dec. Kearney, PC, 7-1; 140-Speicher, R, dec. Bafia, H, 11-5.
145-Crook, MC, dec. Slovikosky, PC, 6-1 OT; 152-Shaw, BA, dec. Shaffer, FH, 3-2; 160-Pinkas, FH, dec. Miller, LV, 6-5; 171-Rowe, MU, pinned Beckwith, T, 1:26; 189-Na. Shope, H, won by forfeit over Speigle, WB; 215-Campbell, J, pinned Burns, MU, 1:37; 285-Powell, J, dec. Ni. Shope, H, 3-1 OT.
103-Ju. Patrick, LV, dec. Heberling, MC, 6-0; 112-Wilson, MU, won by injury default over Myers, SH; 119-B. Thomas, CH, dec. Woomer, BA, 8-6; 125-McMonagle, T, dec. Norris, H, 8-4; 130-Weston, T, dec. Long, MU, 5-3; 135-C. Shope, H, pinned Helsley, BA, 2:03; 140-Hosterman, PV, won by injury default over Tarr, B.
145-Law, FH, dec. Grove, MU, 5-3; 152-Marter, H, dec. Boozel, MU, 2-1 OT TB2; 160-Peterson, MC, dec. Inzana, CH, 8-6; 171-Miller, H, pinned D. Ludwig, MV, 3:26; 189-De. Hornbake, FH, dec. Lavan, MC, 3-2; 215-Howard, U, pinned Nanassy, LV, 4:22; 285-Brown, G, pinned Gongloff, BA, :44.
103-Dupas, CH, dec. Brown, CK, 3-0; 112-Link, PC, pinned Jo. Patrick, LV, 2:49; 119-Dodson, CK, dec. Brown, H, 5-4; 125-Rager, CC, dec. Dively, CK, 9-8; 130-Claar, CK, dec. Szala, PC, 7-4; 135-Garbinsky, T, maj. dec. Rowles, J, 13-4; 140-Brydon, FH, dec. Miller, PC, 4-3.
145-Z. Beitz, J, dec. Aungst, CK, 5-4; 152-Risaliti, CC, maj. dec. Hanlon, PC, 11-3; 160-Blankenship, U, dec. D. Treaster, J, 8-3; 171-Gallaher, FH, dec. Miller, J, 7-4; 189-D. Kephart, P, pinned Stodart, MV, 1:47; 215-Meier, FH, pinned Dillon, PV, 5:26; 285-J. Rizzo, R, dec. Morris, CC, 3-2.
Outstanding Wrestler: Evan Link, Penn Cambria. Coach of the Year: Jon Mykut, Huntingdon.