On balance, Altoona enjoyed the lion's share of thrills in its dual meet with archrival Hollidaysburg on Thursday night.
The Mountain Lions benefited from five forfeit victories, but also scored four falls and a hard-fought decision, en route to a 57-21 win over the Golden Tigers at the Altoona Area Junior High School gymnasium.
Altoona, which improved to 7-9 in dual meets, got falls from Josh Price at 126, Connor Lesniak at 145, Nick McCarthy at 160, and Markief Knode at 170.
Mountain Lions junior Mante Barnes improved his season record to 21-5 by parlaying a third-period takedown into a 3-2 victory over Matt Milardo in the night's final bout, at 195.
Altoona freshman D.J. Hollingshead (28-2 this season) and junior T.J. Brandt (22-3) took forfeit victories at 120 and 132 pounds, respectively, as did Brad Sinclair leading off the night at 220, Dan Pennington at 138 and Brennan Luciano at 152.
"Hollidaysburg has some outstanding individuals, but they just don't have a full lineup,'' Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. "It was a good night for us. Mante Barnes got a nice win at 195 for us, and Price, Knode, Lesniak and McCarthy all had falls. I'm happy with the performance of our team tonight.''
Price, a senior, broke out of a scoreless tie by reversing Lewis Gromiller to his back and pinning him 18 seconds into the third period at 126 to give Altoona the lead in the bout for good, 18-15.
"Price did an excellent job there of taking advantage of an opportunity when it presented itself,'' Gilbert said.
At 170, Knode pinned Ian Bilofsky with a cradle in 2:51, and Lesniak ran up a 9-0 lead on Caleb Walls before scoring a fall with 38 seconds left in their 145-pound matchup. In a battle of sophomores at 160, McCarthy had a 13-1 second-period lead before pinning Devin Crawford at the 2:56 mark.
Forfeits continued to be a problem Thursday as they have been all year for Hollidaysburg, which dropped to 0-9 in dual meets.
"It's a tough situation when you're giving up four of five forfeits and 30 points going into the match,'' Hollidaysburg coach Mike Moore said. "We're focusing on the individual aspect, and trying to keep a positive attitude there and build some momentum for the district tournament.''
Hollidaysburg standouts Damian Huff (113 pounds), Laret Miller (182) and Matt Barton (285) all won their bouts Thursday.
Miller (17-2) pinned Nate Buckrop in 80 seconds, while Huff (19-3) needed just 57 seconds to pin Jay Rimbeck. Barton (16-1) came up with four third-period points on a penalty point, escape and takedown to top Austen Rosenberry, 4-1. Miller is a senior, Huff is a sophomore, and Barton is a junior.
"Miller is having a great senior year, and Matt Barton has been solid for us,'' Moore said. "He's coming along.''
Hollidaysburg also got an impressive outing from Mark Kociola, who pinned Daniel Querry in 2:24 in a matchup of sophomores at 106.
"Mark is making the transition from junior high to varsity this year, and he's been working very hard in practice and improving every day,'' Moore said. "We're excited about Mark.''
Meet notes: In an exhibition match preceding the varsity dual meet, Altoona's Damien Smith came up with an overtime takedown to top Clark McCready, 3-1 in a battle of 285-pounders ... Altoona fashioned a 6-4 edge in overall takedowns in the varsity match .... Altoona travels to Westmont Hilltop next Tuesday night, while Hollidaysburg visits Bellefonte next Wednesday.
220-Sinclair, A, won by forfeit. 285-Barton, H, dec. Rosenberry, 4-1. 106-Kociola, H, pinned Querry, 2:24. 113-Huff, H, pinned Rimbeck, :57. 120-Hollingshead, A, won by forfeit. 126-Price, A, pinned Gromiller, 4:18. 132-Brandt, A, won by forfeit.
138-Pennington, A, won by forfeit. 145-Lesniak, A, pinned Walls, 3:22. 152-Luciano, A, won by forfeit. 160-McCarthy, A, pinned Crawford, 2:56. 170-Knode, A, pinned Bilofsky, 2:51. 182-Miller, H, pinned Buckrop, 1:20. 195-Barnes, A, dec. Milardo, 3-2.
Official: Dick Wood.
Records: Altoona (7-9); Hollidaysburg (0-9).