NEW PARIS - Chestnut Ridge and its followers could really get used to winning these District 5 Duals championships, but the Lions aren't at the point where it doesn't mean anything.
The Lions won their first last year, and they followed that up with another one on Saturday afternoon.
The top-seeded Lions, sparked by early wins from their talented middleweights Derrick Claar (138) and Trent Crouse (145), earned their second victory over third-seeded Berlin Brothersvalley this season, 36-20, to the delight of the home crowd.
"This feels amazing," Claar said. "I don't think you get used to it because you work so hard for this and to make it down to states is awesome. It never changes. It's always fun."
"This is absolutely something that we strive for and we're very excited for," Ridge coach Greg Lazor said. "It's one of our major goals of the season."
"They're a tough team," Berlin coach Jason Cornell said. "They deserve to be where they're at. They're not the returning district champs and the state fourth-place finishers for nothing. It's tough to come into this place and win.
The Lions (18-3) will face the District 4 runner-up on Thursday at the Giant Center in the first round of the PIAA Championships.
Morgan Deremer got the Lions going with a 5-2 win over Ed Custer at 126. Up 2-0 in the second, Deremer escaped and notched a takedown before Custer reversed. Deremer then rode Custer the entire third period.
Sam Shank followed with a 4-3 win over Kane McKenzie at 132, getting a reversal with 44 seconds left and riding the rest of the way for the win for the pumped up Lions. Claar (25-5) then really energized the Lions when he released Storm McDonald up 5-0 in third, hit a cement mixer and pinned McDonald in 5:26.
"It felr really good," Claar said. "I knew my team needed six, so going for it and it paying off is really nice."
Asked if he's seen Claar hit the move, coach Greg Lazor said "No, not that I'm aware of. He just knew that it was his job to get six for the team. That boy was doing a really good job of fighting and staying off of his back. I didn't know that was coming either, to be honest."
The 145-pound bout was a rematch of the Thomas Subaru Tournament finals between Crouse and Berlin's Braden Fochtman (30-4). Crouse (23-6) won the earlier meeting, and he won again, 3-1, by scoring a takedown at the edge of the mat with 16 seconds left in the bout.
"It felt pretty good. God definitely helped me again," Crouse said. "I knew I'd have to battle again. I knew he'd want to win. The coaches have been working with me in the practice room and I had a good week of practice. Coach said there were matches that could either way, and he likes us to win those battles."
"At the beginning of the year, we said we could be a great team if some of these guys got to that next level," Lazor said. "It's very enjoyable to watch Claar and Crouse hit that next level to not only where they can beat the good kids of the area, they can beat state qualifing-type kids."
A pin and a major decision by Berlin in the next two weights brought it to within one, 15-14, but Ridge's Colby Hillegass outlasted Brody Moore, 3-2, at 170 to extend the lead. Kyle Winegardner followed with a 2-0 win over Trevor Moore at 182, with a second-period reversal being the difference.
Conner Buttry, the area's top-ranked 182-pounder, moved up to 195, reversed Shane Pepper to his back and pinned him in 2:57, giving the Lions a 27-14 lead. Austin Buttry, the area's top-ranked 285-pounder who returned this week from an injury, made the dual meet win official by beating Anthony Collins, 8-2.
Aaron Burkett followed with a pin in 1:30 at 106.
"The district is so strong. We have all of these quality teams involved," Lazor said. "You really have to earn the championship, and that's what the boys have been doing the last couple years. I'm extremely proud to be a district champ. Our boys have been pushing that little extra, and they're looking tough. They're really buying into the program."
Ridge will now get ready for states.
"We feel confident that we can compete with anyone down there," Lazor said, "so I don't think we're going to be gun shy or in awe of anyone."
Berlin reached the finals with a 33-23 win over second-seeded Bedford.
The Bisons (9-2) got a pin from Johnathan Gabriel (113) and major decisions from Ryan Easter (132) and Daniel Brett (170). Jake Warren earned a 5-1 decision over Custer at 126, Garrett Thomas beat McDonald, 8-2, at 138.
The Mountaineers then reeled off three straight wins before back-to-back wins by Brett and Chance Williams, a 7-4 winner over Pepper at 182. With Berlin holding a 24-23 lead, the 285-pound bout between Nate Shoemaker and Anthony Collins went to the tiebraker, but Collins got pinned Shoemaker to salt the win away.
"We had two things that we said this morning that we wanted to do when we came up here, and one of them was wrestle as tough as we could," Bedford coach Brian Creps said. "We wrestled as tough as we could. We saved a lot of bonus points at a lot of weights. Overall, it was a great high school dual meet.
"Any time the big guys are out there wrestling, one roll one way or another can make all the difference. So, we were close. I expected to win [the dual meet]."
CHESTNUT RIDGE 61, SOMERSET 12
113-Dunlap, CR, won by forfeit; 120-Ickes, CR, pinned Luteri, :48; 126-Deremer, CR, maj. dec. Foster, 11-2; 132-Shank, CR, pinned Hemminger, 3:07; 138-Claar, CR, dec. Fabian, 7-1; 145-McGill, CR, pinned Philips, 4:57; 152-Crouse, CR, pinned Wagner, 3:10.
160-M. Laue, S, dec. Be, Clark, 9-3; 170-L. Laue, S, dec. Winegardner, 7-4; 182-C. Buttry, CR, pinned Holto, 4:42; 195-Eller, S, pinned Br. Clark, :17; 220-Davis, CR, pinned Slayback, 1:47; 285-A. Buttry, CR, pinned Hause, 1:35; 106-Burkett, CR, pinned Cole, 3:02.
Records: Somerset (7-3); Chestnut Ridge (17-3)
BERLIN BROTHERSVALLEY 33, BEDFORD 23
113-Gabriel, B, pinned DeArmitt, 2:25; 120-Swank, BB, maj. dec. Mehle, 14-0; 126-Warren, B, dec. Custer, 5-1; 132-Easter, B, maj. dec. McKenzie, 12-2; 138-Thomas, B, dec. McDonald, 8-2; 145-Bra. Fochtman, BB, dec. T. Brett, 10-5; 152-Ta. Cahill, BB, maj. dec. Grimes, 14-3.
160-Bry. Fochtman, BB, dec. Collins, 6-1; 170-D. Brett, B, maj. dec. Moore, 16-5; 182-Williams, B, dec. Pepper, 7-4; 195-T. Cahill, BB, pinned Crawley, 4:34; 220-Zanoni, BB, maj. dec. Kline, 14-3; 285-Collins, BB, pinned Shoemaker, 7:21 OT TB; 106-Boyce, BB, dec. Baughman, 6-1.
Record: Berlin Brothersvalley (13-1); Bedford (9-2)
CHESTNUT RIDGE 36, BERLIN BROTHERSVALLEY 20
120-Swank, BB, maj. dec. Ickes, 16-3; 126-Deremer, CR, dec. Custer, 5-2; 132-Shank, CR, dec. McKenzie, 4-3; 138-Claar, CR, pinned McDonald, 5:26; 145-Crouse, CR, dec. Bra. Fochtman, 3-1; 152-Ta. Cahill, BB, pinned Beaver, :39; 160-Bry. Fochtman, BB, maj. dec. Be. Clark, 12-4.
170-Hillegass, CR, dec. B. Moore, 3-2; 182-Winegardner, CR, dec. T. Moore, 2-0; 195-C. Buttry, CR, pinned Pepper, 2:57; 220-To. Cahill, BB, dec. Davis, 3-1; 285-A. Buttry, CR, dec. Collins, 8-2; 106-Burkett, CR, pinned Boyce, 1:30; 113-DeArmitt, BB, dec. Dunlap, 3-1.
Records: Berlin Brothersvalley (13-2); Chestnut Ridge (18-3)