So far, so very, very good for Hollidaysburg in the Northwest AAA Regional Wrestling Tournament.
The Golden Tigers brought three wrestlers to the regional, which opened Friday night at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse, and all three - sophomore Damian Huff (106 pounds), senior Laret Miller (182), and junior Matt Barton (285) - swept two matches Friday to advance to today's noon semifinal round.
The Hollidaysburg trio will be joined in the semis by Altoona junior T.J. Brandt (126 pounds) and Philipsburg-Osceola senior Logan Walstrom (145).
Mirror photo by Darian?Somers
Hollidaysburg’s Damian Huff celebrates his win at 106.
Semifinal winners, as well as any wrestlers who finish third or better at this regional, will advance to the PIAA Class AAA state tournament next Thursday through Saturday at Hershey's Giant Center.
Hollidaysburg coach Mike Moore couldn't have asked for anything more from his three regional qualifiers in Friday's preliminary and quarterfinal rounds.
"We were undefeated on opening day,'' Moore said. "We got off to an impressive start.''
While Barton was bulldozing his way into the semifinals with two lightning-quick falls, Huff and Miller were advancing in workmanlike fashion.
Barton pinned Sam Davis of Allderdice in 40 seconds in the prelims, and needed only 49 seconds to clamp District 9 champion Kyle Dixon of DuBois in the quarters. Barton (27-3 this season) draws Bellefonte junior Garrett Poorman (34-5) in the semis.
"When he gets his underhook going, he's tough to deal with,'' Moore said of Barton. "He did a great job circling in on both his opponents and getting angles tonight.''
Huff finished fourth in the District 6-AAA tournament at 106, which is a loaded weight class in which all of the district's top four wrestlers were relatively equal as far as skill level is concerned. Huff (24-7 this season) proved that point Friday, coming up with a second-period escape to defeat District 6 champ Logan Blackburn of Westmont Hilltop, 1-0, and advance to a semifinal-round matchup with District 10 champion Jake Gromacki of Erie Cathedral Prep (23-3) today.
After escaping in the second period, Huff adroitly rode out Blackburn for the entire two minutes of the third to preserve the hard-fought victory. Huff opened the regional with a 12-2 major decision over Clearfield freshman Noah Cline in the prelims.
Huff's game plan against Blackburn was to try to keep the Westmont standout off the scoreboard.
"He's a good wrestler,'' Huff said. "I knew that it would be a good match. My game plan was to stay on the offensive and make sure that he didn't score.''
Moore saluted Huff for turning the tables on Blackburn, who beat Huff, 3-2 in last week's district tournament.
"He beat a kid who had beaten him last week,'' Moore said. "He wrestled hard, and he stayed focused. To ride an opponent for two full minutes at this level of competition is a very difficult thing to do.''
Miller (27-3) scored takedowns in the second and third periods for a 5-1 quarterfinal-round victory over District 9 champion Joe McLaughlin of St. Marys. Miller opened the tournament by blanking archrival Blaze Buckwalter of Central Mountain, 1-0 on a second-period escape in the prelims.
Miller will draw District 10 champion Khlique Harris (33-2) in what should be a riveting semifinal bout.
"Overall, he looked very solid,'' Moore said of Miller. "Buckwalter has been around quite a bit, and [Miller] beat a District 9 champion in the second round. He stayed in good position throughout the matches, and scored when the opportunities were there.''
Altoona's Brandt (27-3) and P-O's Walstrom (39-2) are both returning state tournament qualifiers who are bidding for another trip to Hershey today.
After receiving a bye in the prelims Friday, Brandt (27-3) carved out a 6-2 decision over General McLane's Ken Stoll in the quarters. Brandt will meet Clearfield junior Dylan Graham (22-10), a District 9 champ, in the semis.
"He wrestled a pretty tough kid in the quarterfinals, and he did what he had to do,'' Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said of Brandt, who has already been a regional finalist and state tourney qualifier twice in his career. "He got to the semifinals, and he's getting a pretty good opponent there. He has to continue to wrestle aggressively from all positions.''
Walstrom took awhile to get untracked Friday night. After slugging out a 10-5 decision over Erie Cathedral Prep's Daniel Krysiak in the prelims, Walstrom tech-falled Allderdice's Dillion Mulvihill 17-1 in 3:29 in the quarters.
Walstrom will draw DuBois sophomore Tom Sleigh (30-7), a District 9 champ, in the semis.
"He was much better in the second match today than he was in his first match,'' P-O coach Tim McCamley said of Walstrom. "He was a little sluggish in his first match, but he picked it up in the second.''
Altoona's D.J. Hollingshead (120) and Markief Knode (160) stayed alive in Friday's late-evening wrestlebacks. So did P-O's Jared Smith (152), Jeffrey Thompson (160), John Prentice (170), and Nick Gray (220).
Eliminated in Friday's wrestlebacks were Altoona's Connor Lesniak (152) and Austin Rosenberry (285), as well as P-O's Brian Evans (120), Caleb Shively (126), and Andrew Greenawalt (138).
Erie McDowell leads the team scoring entering today's competition.
Northwest Regional, Class AAA?Tournament
Team key - Allderdice (ALD), Altoona (ALT), Bald Eagle Area (BEA), Bellefonte (BEL), Bradford (BRD), Brashear (BRS), Carrick (CAR), Cathedral Prep (CP), Central Mountain (CM), Central Tech (CT), Clearfield (CLF), Corry (COR), DuBois (DUB), Erie East (EST), Franklin (FRK), General McLane (GM), Hollidaysburg (HOL), Johnstown (J), McDowell (MCD), Meadville (MEA), Mifflin County (MIF), Obama Academy (OA), Perry (PER), Philipsburg-Osceola (PO), Punxsutawney (PUX), St. Marys (SM), State College (SC), Strong Vincent (SV), Titusville (TI), Warren (WAR), Westmont Hilltop (WH).
Team standings - 1. McDowell 45.5, 2. Central Mountain 40.5, 3. General McLane 38.5, 4. DuBois 33, 5. Bald Eagle Area 32.5, 6. Cathedral Prep 31.5, 7. Westmont Hilltop 31, 8. (tie) Bellefonte, Mifflin County 21, 10. Punxsutawney 20.5, 11. Philipsburg-Osceola 19.5, 19. State College 14.
106 - Logan Blackburn (WH) bye; Damian Huff (HOL) maj. dec. Noah Cline (CLF), 12-2; Jake Gromacki (CP) bye; Vinnie Mion (CAR) pinned Andrew Bullers (PUX), 5:31; John Haperez (BRS) bye; Mike Kauffman (SC) pinned Joe Wheeling (GM), 5:49; Bryce Swauger (DUB) bye; Travis Giedroc (BEA) dec. Benji Yates (MCD), 10-5; 113 - Trevor Corl (BEL) bye; Evan Smith (SM) dec. Steven Zipf (WH), 9-5; Coleman Cousins (MCD) bye; Joel Bowers (PUX) bye; Dorion Dvaugh-Long (ALD) bye; Keller Watkins (GM) maj. dec. Dan Sills (SC), 17-8; Anthony Vizza (DUB) bye; John Ciotti (CP) pinned Keanan Bottorf (CM), 3:46; 120 - Tom Traxler (BEL) bye; Paul Deitz (MCD) dec. Brian Evans (PO), 6-3; Christian Stone (CLF) bye; Dean Twitchell (GM) tech. fall Isaiah Slappy (ALD), 15-0, 4:33; D.J. Hollingshead (ALT) pinned Devan Snyder (PUX), 3:05; D.J. Fehlman (WAR) bye; Cole Hanley (CM) pinned Luke McMurtrie (BRD), 1:47; 126 - T.J. Brandt (ALT) bye; Ken Stoll (GM) bye; Dylan Graham (CLF) bye; Caleb Shively (PO) dec. Beau Coletta (CP), 4-2; Chris Moyers (PER) bye; Garrett Brown (DUB) dec. Lucas Besch (MC), 5-2; Nick Gibson (MCD) bye; Logan Bechdel (CM) pinned Josh Shuckers (PUX), :56; 132 - Malcolm Harris (J) bye; Noah Burkhart (MCD) default Rich Eubanks (CAR), 3:38; Zach Britton (BRD) bye; Daniel Yori (CP) maj. dec. Gavin Caprio (CM), 13-1; Ean DiSilvio (ALD) bye; Neko Cappella (PUX) dec. Cody Fisher (BEL) 5-1, SV; Levi Catalfu (COR) bye; Mike Walsh (WH) maj. dec. Alex Coudriet (SM), 10-0; 138 - Joey Miller (CM) bye; Tim Wheeling (GM) maj. dec. Andrew Greenawalt (PO), 9-1; Perry Arrington (PUX) bye; Jared Carlson (SV) pinned Leif Edwards (PER), 1:47; Darius Moore (ALD) bye; Ian Helsel (WH) maj. dec. Jake Lancaster (CLF), 13-4; Steve Spearman (MCD) bye; Matt Dillon (BEA) pinned Sam Miller (SM), :59; 145 - Leo Wortman (BEL) bye; Ryan VanGuilder (BRD) pinned Michael Adams (OA), 1:25; Ehrin Lee (TI) bye; Nolan Barger (CLF) dec. Joe Knarr (MC), 7-0; Dillion Mulvihill (ALD) bye; Logan Walstrom (PO) dec. Daniel Krysiak (CP), 10-5; Tom Sleigh (DUB) bye; Cody Nolan (MCD) dec. Will Leeth (J), 7-3.
152 - Dillon Gavlock (CM) bye; Tyree Spearman (MCD) dec. Jared Smith (PO), 8-5; Seth Spack (PUX) bye; Garrett Chase (CP) bye; Bradley Labovick (ALD) bye; Tanner Patton (WH) maj. Dec. Alex Feldbauer (SM), 16-3; D.J. Myers (GM) bye; Connor Lesniak (ALT) dec. Mike Kennelly (DUB), 7-5, OT; 160 - Brian Brill (CM) bye; Tyler Hendricks (GM) maj. dec. Josh Cameroni (SM), 8-0; Neamia Hobdoy (OA) bye; Jimmy Paulson (MCD) tech. fall Kody Hepfer (CLF), 15-0, 2:58; Shane Marshall (DUB) bye; Jeff Thompson (PO) pinned Quinn Labicki (ALD), :58; Cody Brunst (TI) bye; Markief Knode (ALT) dec. Brandon Michael (MC), 3-1; 170 - Jake Taylor (BEA) bye; Cody Dunmire (FRK) pinned Dylan Lamberson (BRD), 1:18; D'Andre Caviness (OA) bye; Carl Langley (PUX) pinned Chris Laird (GM), 2:44; Geno Morelli (DUB) bye; Nathaniel Powers (CM) tech. fall Jay Prentice (PO), 15-0, 4:00; Zach Towers (MEA) bye; Harry Lowber (MC) bye; 182 - Ryan Bernheimer (WH) bye; Den Geer (FRK) maj. dec. Brady Haines (DUB), 12-0; Josh Reid (CAR) bye; Alex Thayer (GM) maj. dec. Josh Neal (PUX), 10-2; Joe McLaughlin (SM) bye; Laret Miller (HOL) dec. Blaze Buckwalter (CM), 1-0; Khlique Harris (MCD) bye; James Grieb (BEA) bye; 195 - Nick Shawley (BEL) bye; Devin Sinclair (CLF) pinned Mike Betz (CAR), 2:19; Zac Morris (COR) bye; Jack Haffner (SC) pinned Kyle Langdon (BRD), 5:35; Ahmed Turner (PER) bye; Aaron Varner (BEA) dec. James Shields (MEA), 9-2; Landon Hanna (DUB) bye; Gervon Simon (J) dec. Devin Dolan (FRK), 8-7; 220 - Tyson Searer (MC) bye; Pat Williamson (EST) pinned Tyler Titus (PUX), 1:21; Jesse Reid (CAR) bye; Nate Warner (TI) pinned Gary Fledderman (SM), 1:00; Nick Davido (DUB) bye; Nathan Sharkey (BEA) dec. Nick Gray (PO), 1-0; Andrew Welton (CT) bye; Cameron Porter (CM) bye; 285 - Josh Duplin (WH) bye; Nate Carlin (CP) dec. Jordan Lancaster (CLF), 3-1; NeOndre Harbout (OA) bye; Maxx Swoger (SV) pinned Dakota Serra (BRD), 3:41; Kyle Dixon (DUB) bye; Matt Barton (HOL) pinned Sam Davis (ALD), :40; Scott Augustine (MCD) bye; Garrett Poorman (BEL) pinned Austin Rosenberry (ALT), 2:30.
106 - Huff dec. Blackburn, 1-0; Gromacki tech. fall Mion, 23-8, 3:55; Kauffman pinned Haperez, 1:40; Giedroc dec. Swauger, 8-6; 113 - Smith dec. Corl, 6-2; Bowers dec. Cousins, 2-1; Watkins pinned Long, 1:47; Vizza dec. Ciotti, 7-5; 120 - Traxler dec. Deitz, 7-2; Stone maj. dec. Twitchell, 9-1; Nyama dec. Hollingshead, 6-2; Fehlman dec. Hanley, 2-0; 126 - Brandt dec. Stoll, 6-2; Graham dec. Shively, 10-4; Brown maj. dec. Moyers, 10-2; Gibson maj. dec. Bechdel, 14-4; 132 - Harris pinned Burkhart, 5:07; Britton pinned Yori, 2:34; DiSilvio dec. Cappella, 5-3, OT; Walsh maj. dec. Catalfu, 8-0; 138 - Wheeling dec. Miller, 7-0; Carlson dec. Arrington, 9-7; Helsel dec. Moore, 3-2; Spearman maj. dec. Dillon, 12-4; 145 - Wortman dec. VanGuilder, 8-5; Lee dec. Barger, 8-7, UTB - Walstrom tech. fall Mulvihill, 17-1, 3:29; Sleigh dec. Nolan, 3-2, TB.
152 - Gavlock pinned Spearman, 5:32; Chase dec. Spack, 2-0; Patton dec. Labovick, 3-2; Myers maj. dec. Lesniak, 10-0; 160 - Brill pinned Hendricks, 5:10; Paulson maj. dec. Hobdy, 15-1; Marshall pinned Thompson, 5:53; Brunst dec. Knode, 7-0; 170 - Taylor tech. fall Dunmire, 19-4; Langley tech. fall Caviness, 20-4, 5:22; Morelli dec. Powers, 6-3; Towers tech. fall Lowber, 17-2, 4:28; 182 - Burnheimer pinned Geer, 1:45; Reid pinned Thayer, 3:03; Miller dec. McLaughlin, 5-1; Harris maj. dec. Grieb, 13-3; 195 - Shawley pinned Sinclair, 1:17; Haffner dec. Morris, 3-2; Varner pinned Turner, 1:45; Hanna pinned Simon, 1:13; 220 - Searer pinned Williamson, 3:43; Warner pinned Reid, 3:16; Sharkey maj. dec. Davido, 9-0; Welton pinned Porter, 1:35; 285 - Duplin pinned Carlin, 2:50; Swoger pinned Harbourt, 1:37; Barton pinned Dixon, :49; Poorman dec. McDowell, 4-0.
FIRST ROUND CONSOLATIONS
106 - Swauger dec. Cline, 5-2; Haperez pinned Bullers, 2:32; Wheeling pinned Mion, :55; Blackburn pinned Yates, 2:12; 113 - Ciotti dec. Zipf, 5-1; Long bye; Cousins pinned Sills, 2:43; Corl dec. Bottorf, 5-2; 120 - Hanley pinned Evans, 3:40; Hollingshead pinned Slappy, 2:16; Twitchell dec. Snyder, 8-2; Deitz pinned McMurtrie, 2:45; 126 - Bechdel bye; Coletta pinned Moyers, :54; Besch pinned Shively, 4:56; Stoll maj. dec. Shuckers, 15-2; 132 - Catalfu maj. dec. Eubanks, 9-1; Cappella dec. Caprio, 3-0; Yori pnned Fisher, 2:41; Burkhart dec. Coudriet, 4-1; 138 - Dillon dec. Greenawalt, 9-4; Moore pinned Edwards, :38; Arrington dec. Lancaster, 5-0; J. Miller dec. S. Miller, 2-0; 145 - Nolan pinned Adams, 2:05; Knarr pinned Mulvihill, 2:21; Krysiak dec. Barger, 5-1; VanGuilder dec. Leeth, 8-6, OT.
152 - Smith dec. Lesniak, 10-5; Labovick bye; Spack pinned Feldbauer, 2:11; Spearman dec. Kennelly, 11-4; 160 - Knode dec. Cameroni, 7-1; Thompson maj. dec. Hepfer, 8-0; Glabicki dec. Hobdy, 7-5; Hendricks dec. Michael, 7-0; 170 - Lowber pinned Lamberson, 3:59; Powers pinned Laird, :25; Prentice dec. Caviness, 13-6; Dunmire bye; 182 - Grieb pinned Haines, :40; McLaughlin dec. Neal, 3-0; Buckwalter pinned Thayer, 1:40; Geer bye; 195 - Simon pinned Betz, :23; Langdon pinned Turner, 2:40; Shields dec. Morris, 4-2, SV; Dolan pinned Sinclair, 2:09; 220 - Porter pinned Titus, 2:57; Fledderman pinned Davido, :43; Gray dec. Reid, 6-2; Williamson bye; 285 - Augustine pinned Lancaster, :54; Dixon pinned Sera, :55; Harbourt dec. Davis, 10-3; Carlin dec. Rosenberry, 8-3.