Altoona wrestling rolls

This one was over before it even started.

No kidding.

Johnstown came to town Thursday with only seven wrestlers, assuring Altoona High of its quickest and easiest win of the season.

Less than 45 minutes after announcer Doug Rosenberry introduced the lineups, the Mountain Lions were rolling up the mats following a 70-4 victory at the AAHS Fieldhouse.

The Lions had seven forfeits, four falls and two major decisions against the outmanned Trojans, who managed only one win.

“In a match like this, we’re just trying to go out there and work our stuff,” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. “Looking to improve would be the best way to describe it.”

Altoona senior Nate Buckrop needed just 1:22 for a pin at 220 pounds and the Mountain Lions were on their way. Three consecutive forfeits boosted the Altoona advantage to 24-0 before Johnstown got its only win, a 9-0 major decision by Justin Rowe at 120.

Freshman Jerrell Kephart put the Lions back on the winning track with an 11-2 major at 132. Altoona won the next three bouts by forfeits and the lead ballooned to 52-4.

Altoona won the last three bouts by falls.

Junior D.J. Hollingshead and freshman Brinton Simington recorded back-to-back first period falls. Hollingshead got a takedown and pinned Austin Freeman in 21 seconds at 160 pounds. Simington needed a little longer, building a 4-0 lead before decking Nate Litvin in 1:24 at 170.

Sophomore Michael Doucette capped the short evening by pinning Kobe March with 15 seconds left in the 182-pound bout. Doucette picked up four takedowns and built a 14-5 lead before clamping March.

“I thought Mike Doucette did a nice job,” Gilbert said. “Brinton Simington, a freshman, looked a lot better and Jerrell Kephart, who is only a freshman, too, stepped it up against a senior.

“All the guys who were on the mat this evening really showed a lot of progression and a lot of poise and I was happy with their performance.”

With the team outcome decided before anyone stepped on the mat, Gilbert urged his wrestlers to improve, get better and get used to hitting their moves in front of a crowd.

“We were trying to improve on things we normally do in the wrestling room,” Gilbert said said.

The Altoona coach noted that Johnstown has been hurt by injuries all season.

“Normally, they’re a pretty good team and we have a pretty good match with them,” he said.

Johnstown coach Bill Bassett said his squad has been depleted by injuries from the get-go.

“We’re really relying on the future,” Bassett said. “We have a good junior high program and we just want to get through this year and learn as much as we can.

“We know going in we have no chance to win as far as the team aspect,” he said, “but if we can win some individual matches … that’s what we’re trying to do.”

220-Buckrop, A, pinned Loncala, 1:22; 285-Turner A, won by forfeit; 106-Bonsell, A, won by forfeit; 113-Manley, A, won by forfeit; 120- Rowe, J, major dec. Querry, 9-0; 126-Kephart, A, major dec. Walker, 11-2; 132-Rimbeck, A, won by forfeit.

138-Bender, A, won by forfeit; 145-Rendell, A, won by forfeit; 152-Boutilier, A, won by forfeit; 160-Hollingshead, A, pinned Freeman, :21; 170-Simington, A, pinned Litvin, 1:24; 182-Doucette, A, pinned March, 5:45; 195-no match.

Referee-Jim Rivello.

Records: Altoona (5-8); Johnstown (0-5).