JOHNSTOWN - Central Cambria freshman Max Murin and Penn Cambria junior Nolan Link sure know how to keep things interesting at 106 pounds.
First, Link pulled off a stunner Saturday morning in the semifinals of the Southwest Regional Tournament at the Cambria County War Memorial, pinning Chestnut Ridge's Aaron Burkett in the third period when he was losing, 6-2.
Then, in the finals, in a rematch of the District 6 finals, the Youngs Guns workout partners battled for the fourth time this season and appeared to be heading toward overtime tied, 0-0.
Photo for the Mirror by Tami Knopsnyder
Central?Cambria’s Max Murin works during his victory over Penn?Cambria’s Nolan Link at 106.
But then Murin scored a reversal right before the final buzzer - or at least that's what the ruling was - to win, 2-0. Penn Cambria coach Todd Niebauer disputed the reversal with the referee, but the call stood, and Murin won a regional title.
"I just wanted them to be completely sure that the clock was completely out," Niebauer said. "It's a close call, could have gone either way. We ride him for that long, and we should have been able to ride him out, so maybe that's on us as the coaches. I thought we did an outstanding job riding him that third period."
"I can see where their argument would be," Central Cambria coach Bob Nikolishen said. "The clock was right there. I could see the whole thing. He cleared the hip, came around and covered. Anybody that taped it will be able to see that it was that close. It's just proof that every second, every half a second, really counts."
Murin hiked his season record to 35-0, and his record against Link (29-8) to 4-0, but this one was the closest and most intense, especially at the end.
"I just saw an opportunity, so I tried to take it," Murin said. "I don't know [about the time]. I wasn't looking at the scoreboard at the time. He's a tough opponent, and it's nice that we both made it to the finals again. We seem to make each other better, so that's real nice."
"It was a heartbreaker," Link said. "It's going to be a battle between me and him, and I really wanted that one. It's just going to make me hungrier for states. You can't let the ref decide it. It was questionable, but it was a call they made, so you've got to accept it."
Nikolishen was understandably proud of the school's first freshman regional champion.
"Maximas the gladiator," Nikolishen said. "He set a goal at the beginning of this season as to what he wanted to do, how he wanted to perform at this level. He did everything that he possibly could have to become a district champ and a regional champ. He won't eat fried food. He won't drink iced tea. When he's sleeping at night, he's going through matches in his brain and moves that are going to help him the next time he steps on the mat."
In the only other finals bout with an area wrestler, Cambria Heights' Levi Niebauer dropped a 2-0 decision to South Fayette's Jared Walker in the 160-pound finals. Walker reversed in the third period and rode the rest of the way.
"I thought I wrestled pretty good," Niebauer said. "I thought I was definitely sluggish and couldn't get to my feet in the third period. He just rode real tight. I made it to Hershey, and that's what I planned on."
"Levi wrestled a great tournament," Heights coach Mike Eckenrode said. "That Walker kid pinned him up at [the Thomas Subaru Tournament]. He had a couple scoring opportunities in the match."
A total of 17 area wrestlers were able to punch their tickets to the PIAA Championships by placing in the top five. Bedford's Ryan Easter (132) rebounded from his upset loss Friday to finish third, as did fellow senior teammate Garrett Thomas (138). Bedford sophomore Johnathan Gabriel (113) finished fourth.
"[Easter and Thomas] have been with us for four years," Bedford coach Brian Creps said, "and it's hard to believe they're seniors. Hopefully they can wrestle well at the state tournament and get medals."
Chestnut Ridge's Austin Buttry (285) finished third, while brother Conner Buttry (182) and Burkett took fourth.
"I think we didn't have quite the weekend we're capable of," Ridge coach Greg Lazor said, "but we've got three guys going, so you've got to be pleased with that. It's so awesome about [the Buttrys]. They're not the most athletic kids, but they're always wrestling. Everything they get, they've earned."
Huntingdon managed to get three to states in fourth-placers Devon Green (132) and Jacob Oliver (145) and fifth-placer Collin Glorioso (113).
Glorioso (36-2), the returning champ and state third-placer, suffered his first two losses - a 2-1 setback to Southmoreland's eventual champ Austin Griffiths and a 4-2 overtime heartbreaker to Westmont Hilltop's Logan Blackburn - before rallying for a 6-4 win over Jefferson Morgan's Brenden Howard.
"It's not my best day," Glorioso said. "I came out short on two matches I just didn't get going on."
The Bearcats, who shared the lead with Burrell after the first day, finished tied with Ridge for sixth place in the team standings with 54 points. Bedford finished fifth with 56.5 points. Burrell won the team title by eight points, 98-90, over Jefferson Morgan. Fellow District 7 teams South Fayette (69) and Valley (62) were third and fourth, respectively.
Cambria Heights also advanced three. Joining Niebauer in Hershey are fourth-placer Aaron Gill (285) and fifth-placer Joe Davis (126), who placed sixth in last year's tournament. Davis, who had a late start to the year with a broken leg, actually avenged a district finals loss to Richland's Adam George, 5-4, to take fifth.
"Last year, I was devastated. It hurt so bad," Davis said. "I worked so hard to try to make it to states, and this year I almost did it again, but I just had it in my head that it wasn't happening."
"In this situation, with him having that injury, it's huge," Eckenrode said. "To come back and beat the kid that beat him for the district title is just awesome."
Central Cambria's Tom Opdenhoff (126) finished third, while Tyrone's Jared Beckwith (195) and Everett's Devin Reed (285) took fifth.
Beckwith finished fifth in an odd way. After he dropped a 2-1 loss to HOPE For Hydman's eventual champ James Bennett in the semis and a 3-1 loss to Valley's third-placer Marcus Davenport in the consy semis, Beckwith won by forfeit over Mount Union's Phillip Kyle. Kyle was disqualified in his consy semi bout against Elwood City's Brad Grinnen for biting, and under PIAA law wasn't allowed to wrestle in his next bout.
"That's definitely not how I wanted to make it, but it's making it," Beckwith said. "It went well the first day and bad the second day. A lot of close matches that didn't really go my way."
"He had some tough competition," Tyrone coach Blair Packer said. "I think the 195-pound weight class is just loaded."
Notes: Northern Bedford's Lucas Kolinchak (170), Bedford's Chance Williams (182) and Moshannon Valley's Jack Bunnell (285) placed sixth, a win shy of making it to the state tournament. It's the second straight time Bunnell, a senior, finished sixth. ... Kittanning's Jason Nolf, a Penn State recruit, won his fourth title and is 172-1 in his career. ... District 7 won 11 titles.
A-Avella; AVON-Avonworth; B-Bedford; BENT-Bentworth; BB-Berlin Brothersvalley; BC-Beth-Center; BL-Blairsville; BURG-Burgettstown; BURR-Burrell; CH-Cambria Heights; CAR-Carlynton; C-Central; CC-Central Cambria; CHART-Chartiers Houston; CR-Chestnut Ridge; CT-Conemaugh Township; DA-Derry Area; EC-Elwood City; E-Everett; FC-Fort Cherry; FH-Forest Hills; FA-Freedom Area; HIGH-Highlands; HFH-Hope for Hyndman; H-Huntingdon; J-Jeannette; JM-Jefferson Morgan; JUN-Juniata; KO-Keystone Oaks; K-Kittanning; L-Laurel; LV-Ligonier Valley; MC-Marion Center; M-Meyersdale; MV-Moshannon Valley; MP-Mount Pleasant; MU-Mount Union; NB-Northern Bedford; NS-North Star; PC-Penn Cambria; PV-Penns Valley; R-Richland; S-Somerset; SA-South Allegheny; SF-South Fayette; SOUTH-Southmoreland; SP-South Park; SS-South Side; TM-Tussey Mountain; T-Tyrone; U-United; V-Valley; W-Washington; WB-West Branch; WG-West Greene; WH-Westmont Hilltop; WS-West Shamokin; Y-Yough
TOP 20 TEAM STANDINGS
1.Burrell 98; 2. Jefferson Morgan 90; 3. South Fayette 69; 4. Valley 62; 5. Bedford 56.5; 6. Chestnut Ridge and Huntingdon 54; 8. Cambria Heights, Penns Valley and Southmoreland 49; 11. Central Cambria 48; 12. Kittanning 44.5; 13. South Park 43; 14. Berlin Brothersvalley and Blairsville 40; 16. Somerset 39.5; 17. Richland 39; 18. Derry Area 35.5; 19. Meyersdale 33.5; 20. West Branch 31.
106-Link, PC, pinned Burkett, CR, 5:01; Murin, CC, dec. D. Bulsak, SP, 6-2; 113-Griffiths, SOUTH, dec. Glorioso, H, 2-1; McDermitt, BURG, dec. Gabriel, B, 7-4; 120-Phillipi, SA, tech. fall Moist, MU, 17-0, 3:37; Law, FH, dec. Swank, BB, 3-1; 126-Demaske, JM, pinned Davis, CH, 2:52; Dewitt, V, dec. George, R, 1-0; 132-Carr, SF, dec. Hetrick, M, 3-0; Andrejcik, BURR, maj. dec. Green, H, 13-4; 138-Wentzel, SP, dec. Thomas, B, 5-0; Miller, JM, dec. McGinnis, CHART, 5-1; 145-Nolf, K, pinned Stewart, MC, 1:52; Falleroni, BURR, pinned Oliver, H, 3:05.
152-Edwards, BURR, dec. Wise, HIGH, 11-5; Doak, BL, dec. Fetchet, SF, 3-1; 160-Walker, SF, dec. Brown, BC, 3-0; Niebauer, CH, dec. Bry. Fochtman, BB, 5-2; 170-Hazel, PV, dec. Kolinchak, NB, 6-0; Bowlen, JM, dec. Pecora, R, 1-0; 182-Thompson, BL, pinned C. Buttry, CR, 4:29; Fields, V, pinned Berkley, M, 1:23; 195-Oliver, U, pinned Grinnen, EC, 4:19; Bennett, HFH, dec. Beckwith, T, 2-1; 220-Temple, A, tech. fall Hitchens, SA, 16-0, 4:05; Maines, WB, dec. Robb, K, 6-5; 285-A. Beattie, BURR, pinned Reed, E, 2:48; Beistel, SOUTH, dec. A. Buttry, CR, 4-3 OT TB.
106-Cole, S, dec. Couteret, WB, 8-2; Neely, BENT, maj. dec. Lambie, SOUTH, 12-3; 113-Blackburn, WH, dec. Ostrowski, CC, 6-3; Howard, JM, dec. Stoker, SA, 8-3; 120-Komara, FA, dec. Rothka, BENT, 7-4; Decker, PV, dec. Hernandez, SA, 7-2; 126-Kepple, DA, dec. Vickless, BENT, 2-1 OT TB; Opdenhoff, CC, dec. Boozel, MU, 8-2; 132-Easter, B, dec. Trimmer, AVON, 6-0; Hemminger, S, dec. Hunter, T, 9-4; 138-Heberling, MC, pinned Claar, CR, 4:43; Sanders, JEAN, dec. Fabian, S, 1-0; 145-Naglic, R, maj. dec. Mears, MP, 12-0; Welsh, BC, dec. Beltz, SF, 4-2.
152-Ta. Cahill, BB, dec. G. Bulsak, SP, 3-1; Mostoller, NS, dec. Wagner, H, 4-3; 160-Smith, MU, maj. dec. D. Beattie, BURR, 13-3; Zalar, JM, dec. Beitz, J, 1-0; 170-Lohr, S, dec. Fisher, H, 9-2; Carl, A, dec. Richardson, Y, 6-1; 182-Williams, B, dec. Norris, H, 4-2; Wildman, WG, dec. Glover, WS, 5-1; 195-Kyle, MU, dec. Lauer, H, 5-1; Davenport, V, maj. dec. Scherer, BURR, 13-4; 220-McLendon, U, dec. Smith, M, 3-2; Sever, Y, pinned McIntyre, FC, 1:17; 285-Aa. Gill, CH, pinned Wolfe, JM, 2:54; Bunnell, MV, dec. Shumaker, BENT, 7-3.
106-Burkett, CR, pinned Cole, S, 1:44; D. Bulsak, SP, dec. Neely, BENT, 5-1; 113-Blackburn, WH, dec. Glorioso, H, 4-2 OT; Gabriel, B, dec. Howard, JM, 5-4; 120-Moist, MU, dec. Komara, FA, 7-0; Decker, PV, dec. Swank, BB, 4-3; 126-Kepple, DA, dec. Davis, CH, 4-0; Opdenhoff, CC, dec. George, R, 3-0; 132-Easter, B, dec. Hetrick, M, 3-2 OT TB; Green, H, dec. Hemminger, S, 11-7; 138-Thomas, B, dec. Heberling, MC, 8-4; McGinnis, CHART, dec. Sanders, JEAN, 5-3; 145-Naglic, R, pinned Stewart, MC, 2:35; Oliver, H, maj. dec. Welsh, BC, 12-0.
152-Ta. Cahill, BB, pinned Wise, HIGH, 2:05; Fetchet, SF, pinned Mostoller, NS, 1:41; 160-Brown, BC, dec. Smith, MU, 2-1; Zalar, JM, pinned Bry. Fochtman, BB, 1:37; 170-Lohr, S, dec. Kolinchak, NB, 5-4; Pecora, R, dec. Carl, A, 3-1 OT; 182-C. Buttry, CR, dec. Williams, B, 2-0; Berkley, M, pinned Wildman, WG, :50; 195-Grinnen, EC, won by disqualification over Kyle, MU, 4:10; Davenport, V, dec. Beckwith, T, 3-1; 220-Hitchens, SA, dec. McLendon, U, 4-1 OT TB; Robb, K, maj. dec. Sever, Y, 12-0; 285-Aa. Gill, CH, dec. Reed, E, 6-2; A. Buttry, CR, pinned Bunnell, MV, 2:43.
FIFTH PLACE FINALS
106-Neely, BENT, dec. Cole, S, 5-0; 113-Glorioso, H, dec. Howard, JM, 6-4; 120-Swank, BB, dec. Komara, FA, 4-0; 126-Davis, CH, dec. George, R, 5-4; 132-Hemminger, S, dec. Hetrick, M, 5-4; 138-Sanders, JEAN, dec. Heberling, MC, 6-4 OT; 145-Welsh, BC, dec. Stewart, MC, 7-2.
152-Wise, HIGH, dec. Mostoller, NS, 6-4; 160-Bry. Fochtman, BB, dec. Smith, MU, 6-3; 170-Carl, A, dec. Kolinchak, NB, 4-2; 182-Wildman, WG, dec. Williams, B, 3-2; 195-Beckwith, T, won by forfeit over Kyle, MU; 220-Sever, Y, dec. McLendon, U, 2-1 OT TB; 285-Reed, E, dec. Bunnell, MV, 7-2.
THIRD PLACE FINALS
106-D. Bulsak, SP, dec. Burkett, CR, 4-2; 113-Blackburn, WH, won by injury default over Gabriel, B; 120-Decker, PV, pinned Moist, MU, :28; 126-Opdenhoff, CC, maj. dec. Kepple, DA, 10-0; 132-Easter, B, won by injury default over Green, H, 1:29; 138-Thomas, B, dec. McGinnis, CHART, 2-0; 145-Naglic, R, dec. Oliver, H, 3-1.
152-Fetchet, SF, dec. Ta. Cahill, BB, 9-4; 160-Brown, BC, dec. Zalar, JM, 1-0; 170-Pecora, R, dec. Lohr, S, 4-2; 182-Berkley, M, dec. C. Buttry, CR, 6-2; 195-Davenport, V, dec. Grinnen, EC, 7-2; 220-Robb, K, dec. Hitchens, SA, 4-2; 285-A. Buttry, CR, dec. Aa. Gill, CH, 2-1.
106-Murin, CC, dec. Link, PC, 2-0; 113-Griffiths, SOUTH, dec. McDermitt, BURG, 7-1; 120-Phillipi, DA, dec. Law, FH, 8-2; 126-Demaske, JM, dec. Dewitt, V, 4-2; 132-Carr, SF, dec. Andrejcik, BURR, 5-0; 138-Wentzel, SP, pinned Miller, JM, 3:30; 145-Nolf, K, pinned Falleroni, BURR, 2:58.
152-Edwards, BURR, dec. Doak, B, 3-2 OT UTB; 160-Walker, SF, dec. Niebauer, CH, 2-0; 170-Hazel, PV, pinned Bowlen, JM, 3:05; 182-Fields, V, dec. Thompson, BL, 7-3; 195-Bennett, HFH, dec. Oliver, U, 3-2; 220-Temple, A, dec. Maines, WB, 3-2 OT UTB; 285-A. Beattie, BURR, dec. Beistel, SOUTH, 3-0.