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Easter, Glorioso among season’s highlights

Commentary

March 17, 2013
By Todd Irwin (tirwin@altoonamirror.com) , The Altoona Mirror

Looking back on the 2012-13 season, it was quite a year - from Chestnut Ridge finishing fourth at the PIAA Duals to its coach, Greg Lazor, being named PIAA Class AA Coach of the Year to Altoona's T.J. Brandt and Ridge's Tyler Dibert winning their fourth district titles.

While area wrestlers came up short of winning a state title, there were other highlights to the season. Here's some of them:

Postseason performances of the year: This is a tie among the group of Brandt, Bedford's Ryan Easter and Huntingdon's Collin Glorioso.

Brandt not only won his fourth District 6 title, he became the first Altoona wrestler to be voted Outstanding Wrestler, won his second Northwest Regional Tournament title and finished sixth at the PIAA Class AA Championships. He certainly deserved a state medal in his fourth appearance at Hershey.

Easter, a junior, won his third District 5 title and nearly pulled off a tiebreaker win over Ligonier Valley's Josh Patrick in the Southwest Regional finals - his third loss in the those finals. Then, he made a run all the way to the 120-pound state finals, where he lost to Bethlehem Catholic takedown machine Darian Cruz, 16-4.

Glorioso showed a lot of promise during the regular season, but nobody expected the freshman to make a postseason run like he did. He lost to Forest Hills' Triston Law in the district finals, beat Law in the regional finals and finished third at states. The only thing that went wrong there was the public address announcer at states just couldn't pronounce his last name.

Dual meet of the year: There were closer matches - heck, Glendale wrestled in back-to-back tiebreaker meets - but the ones that stood out were the two Ridge-Bedford nailbiters that had so much on the line.

Dan Albright's 6-4 decision over Bedford's Michael Brett at 195 and Brad Winegardner's 2-1 win over Chance Williams were big for the Lions in their 34-30 in the District 5 Duals championship. The Lions won their first title and stopped Bedford's five-year run.

In the first meeting - a 39-32 Ridge win - the match swung on Bradie Bollman spladling Brett and pinning him in 19 seconds.

Stories of the year: That's a tie between Ridge's spectacular season and area stars being sidelined by injuries and academics.

A very balanced Ridge went 25-3, scored 50 or more points 15 times, won the District 5 Tournament for the second time, qualified three wrestlers to states and two placed in fifth-placer Austin Buttry (285) and seventh-placer Dibert (170).

Injuries ended the seasons of Philipsburg-Osceola's Chris Thompson (106) and Andrew Greenawalt (145), Tyrone's Jared Beckwith (182) and Northern Bedford's Eric Grace (220). A shoulder injury hampered Bollman into regionals, and Central's Kale Burket (113) finished sixth at regionals, despite having a knee injury that needed surgically repaired later.

Tyrone's D.J. Wunder (195) was cleared medically on the Tuesday before districts to wrestle after a bout with the skin disease impetigo, and then he was declared academically ineligible the next day. Wunder, a senior who scored a 1310 on his SATs, didn't turn in assignments in statistics and physics while he was sick, and his grades slipped. More on that later.

Best individual rivalry: No question that was Bedford's Garrett Thomas and Ridge's Trent Crouse. Thomas won all three bouts, but they were all entertaining, from his 5-3 overtime thriller to the 12-8 Thomas Subaru victory to his come-from-behind 6-4 win at districts.

Bout of the year: No question for me that it was the state semifinal bout between Claysburg-Kimmel's Josh Brown and South Fayette's Seth Carr. Brown stunned most by grabbing an early lead, and Carr rallied. A stall call on Carr tied with 7 seconds left. And then there was the apparent overtime slam by Carr, who won, 10-8.

Nice touch: My friend and wrestling legend Jim Butler, who died last year, was recognized with a page in the District 6 Class AA program and in the PIAA program. His son, Steven, an assistant at Glendale, handed out the Outstanding Wrestler trophies at states.

Looking forward

There will be things I'll be looking forward to seeing happening next season. Consider some of them.

n Again, I want to see somebody win a state title. Easter would obviously have the inside track at that feat. He's gained a lot of confidence, but you just never know from year to year.

Glorioso made a lot of improvement over the course of the season, but he was a big 106-pounder, and he could jump up a few weights next season. There's also Beckwith, Burket, Buttry, Altoona's D.J. Hollingshead, Bedford's Jonathan Gabriel and Thomas and Hollidaysburg's Damian Huff just to name a few.

n I want to see better communication between Tyrone's teachers, guidance counselors and athletic department and its athletes as far as grades are concerned. Wunder's comment of "I had no clue I was failing two classes" is very telling.

n I want to see Kennard Dale superstar Chance Marsteller commit to Penn State. Wouldn't he be a nice addition to that potent lineup?

Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at tirwin@altoonamirror.com. He can be followed on Twitter at ToddIrwin1.

 
 

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