Lions finish second at Thomas Tournament

BEDFORD — Bedford and Chestnut Ridge had no shot at winning the team title of the rugged Thomas Subaru Tournament entering the finals because Berlin Brothersvalley had a stranglehold on that. The battle in the team race was really for second place.

Both team’s finalists did their best in an attempt to push their teams to second place. The Bisons went 2-for-3 in the finals, while the Lions, wrestling without injured star Austin Buttry, went 1-for-4.

Ridge’s Trent Crouse (145) and Bedford’s Johnathan Gabriel (113) and Garrett Thomas (138) captured titles Saturday, as did Tyrone’s Jared Beckwith (195). But Bedford’s returning state runner-up Ryan Easter (132) placed second, as did Ridge’s Aaron Burkett (106), Derrick Claar (138) and Conner Buttry (182).

Central’s Brock Biddle (113) also finished second.

The Lions finished in second place by 49 points to Berlin, 20-6-156, while Bedford took fifth with 146. Burrell (156) and South Fayette (146.5) took third and fourth, respectively.

“I thought we had some letdowns here and there,” Ridge coach Greg Lazor said, “but it’s a very, very difficult tournament, so to come out in second, you can’t be disappointed.’

“Our goal coming in was to finish in the top five,” Bedford coach Brian Creps said, “because there were a lot of real good, solid kids here. I think a lot of people are overlooking us. We’re pretty solid too.”

Gabriel breezed through the tournament with two pins, a 10-4 decision in the semifinals over Berlin’s Thomas DeArmitt and a 12-2 major decision of Central’s Brock Biddle in the finals. Biddle pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend by spladling and pinning Jefferson-Morgan’s returning state qualifier Brendan Howard in 1:13 in the semis.

But, it was all Gabriel in the finals. He took a 4-0 lead into the third period, where he took Biddle down three times.

“It feels great,” Gabriel said. “I came into this tournament knowing it would be tough, and I’m just so happy I could win it a second time. I was kind of expecting to have a rematch of the finals last year [with Howard], but I’ve wrestled [Biddle] multiple times, and I knew I had a chance of winning, so I just went out there and wrestled tough.”

Thomas and Claar went through the first two periods scoreless, but the third was eventful in the Bedford senior’s 6-4 win. Thomas escaped and was in on a shot when Claar hit an elevator and took him down. Thomas, however, reversed Claar to his back for a 6-2 lead. Claar reversed, but he couldn’t get any more points.

“Once I got him on his back, I felt like I was getting loose, so I just bellied down,” Thomas said. “I knew I’d be up by two. I took the smart way out. It’s the second year for beating a Ridge kid, so it makes it a little better.”

Crouse earned his title with a 4-2 overtime decision over Berlin’s Braden Fochtman. With the score tied, 2-2, Crouse rode Fochtman the entire third period, and Fochtman had to take an injury timeout.

“When I got up during that one injury time, I knew he was starting to break down,” Crouse said, “and it just gave me a little more fire.”

In the overtime, after fending off a Fochtman takedown attempt, Crouse got the takedown with 6.3 seconds left on the clock.

“I knew I was running low on time,” Crouse said, “and I needed it bad. I just kept going and going until I got it.”

“I think Crouse wrestled awesome,” Ridge coach Greg Lazor said. “It was the toughest weight class in the tournament. Everyone was in awe of this weight class the whole weekend. To come out on top of it is a tremendous accomplishment.”

Beckwith, who reached the finals with a 3-1 overtime win over North Schuylkill’s Alek Hummel, was up 3-0 on Mount Union’s Phil Kyle in the third period when he reversed Kyle to his back and pinned him in 4:46.

“It feels good,” Beckwith said. “I wasn’t expecting to get a pin, but anything can happen.”

“I thought he had a great tournament,” Tyrone coach Blair Packer said. “He just seemed to get stronger as time went by and totally pleased. He has to be proud of himself.”

Easter, who won his first Thomas title last year, rolled into the finals with two pins and a major, but he dropped a 6-2 decision to South Fayette’s Mike Carr. Carr (23-0), who took numerous blood timeouts, took him down in the second for a 2-1 lead, got another in the third and scored two nearfall points when he caught Easter in a funk roll.

“It’s always tough to lose in the Thomas finals in your own gymn,” Creps said, “but he’s done it before, and he always come back like a house on fire.”

Burkett was beaten by Tri-Valley’s Sammy Hepler, 11-0, in the finals.

Placing third were Penn Cambria’s Nolan Link (106), Cambria Heights’ Joe Davis (126), Levi Niebauer (160) and Aaron Gill (285) and Bedford’s Chance Williams (182). Bedford’s Jake Warren (126), Central’s Nick Hoenstine (138) took fourth. Tussey Mountain’s Dylan Park (120). Tyrone’s Aleic Hunter (132), NBC’s Lucas Kolinchak (170), John Wilkinson (220) placed fifth. Central’s Mike Mock (152), Heights’ Dennis Link (182) and Everett’s Devin Reed (285) took sixth.

Ridge’s Blake Dunlap (113) and Sam Shank (132), Northern Bedford’s Jared Helsley (126) and Mason Guyer (182) and Tyrone’s Jason Schopp (138) finished seventh. Bedford’s Kyle Mehle (120) and Nate Shoemaker (285), Tussey’s Oaklee Brode (106), NBC’s Chris Eichelberger (152) and PC’s Jake Driskel (160) finished eighth.


1. BB–Berlin Brothersvalley 205; 2. CR–Chestnut Ridge 156; 3. BUR–Burrell 155.5; 4. SF–South Fayette 146.5; 5. BED–Bedford 146; 6. WB–West Branch 138.5; 7. MU–Mount Union 124.5; 8. NS–North Schuylkill 123.5; 9. JM–Jefferson Morgan 114; 10. NS–North Star 108; 11. S–Somerset 107.5; 12. TV–Tri-Valley 106; 13. M–Meyersdale 102; 14. C–Central 86; 15. CH–Cambria Heights 79; 16. PC–Penn Cambria 76.5; 17. R–Richland 73; 18. NB–Northern Bedford 68.5; 19. BC–Beth-Center 67; 20. T–Tyrone 59.5; 21. TM–Tussey Mountain and NG–Northern Garrett 46; 23. MP–Mount Pleasant 40; 24. N–Newport 39; 25. CK–Claysburg-Kimmel 37; 26. E–Everett 32; 27. CT–Conemaugh Township 24; 28. SH–Shade 13.

Seventh Place Finals

106–Couteret, WB, pinned Brode, TM, :22; 113–Dunlap, CR, won by injury default over Wolfe, SF; 120–O’Toole, N, dec. Mehle, BED, 4-2 OT TB; 126–Helsley, NB, dec. Ofsanko, CT, 8-4; 132–Shank, CR, pinned Sh. Brumbaugh, TM, 2:12; 138–Schopp, T, dec. Quick, WB, 8-6; 145–Naglic, R, maj. dec. Mostoller, NS, 10-0.

152–Charlesworth, MP, dec. Eichelberger, NB, 7-3; 160–Straiser, NS, dec. Driskel, PC, 3-2; 170–Charlton, NS, pinned Kylor, MU, 3:33; 182–Guyer, NB, dec. Culberson, SF, 8-3; 195–To. Cahill, BB, dec. White, TV, 6-4; 220–Patterson, JM, pinned Christoff, SF, 1:11; 285–Collins, BB, pinned Shoemaker, BED, 3:32.

Fifth Place Finals

106–Cole, S, dec. John, SF, 3-0; 113–Sankey, WB, pinned Clay, N, 2:02; 120–Park, TM, won by injury default over Jano, S, second period; 126–Boozel, MU, pinned Opel, NG, 2:00; 132–A. Hunter, T, dec. McKenzie, BB, 4-3; 138–Fabian, S, won by injury default over Schaeffer, TV; 145–Bumbarger, WB, won by injury default over Falleroni, BURR.

152–Snyder, TV, dec. Mock, C, 10-3; 160–D. Beattie, BURR, won by injury default over Zalar, JM; 170–Kolinchak, NB, dec. Pattock, BURR, 3-0; 182–Steinhilber, NS, maj. dec. Link, CH, 8-0; 195–Scharer, BURR, dec. Horner, NS, 2-1; 220–Wilkinson, PC, dec. Stapleton, MU, 2-1; 285–Selepack, WB, maj. dec. Reed, E, 13-3.

Third Place Finals

106–Link, PC, dec. Madden-Edwards, NS, 2-0; 113–Howard, JM, dec. DeArmitt, BB, 8-3; 120–Moist, MU, maj. dec. Rouser, R, 9-1; 126–Davis, CH, dec. Warren, BED, 5-2; 132–Andrejcik, BURR, dec. Hetrick, M, 4-3; 138–Osselburn, NG, dec. Hoenstine, C, 3-1; 145–Welsh, BC, dec. Diest, M, 5-3 OT.

152–Fetchet, SF, dec. Stay, BC, 3-0; 160–Niebauer, CH, won by injury default over Brown, BC; 170–Pecora, R, dec. Lohr, S, 6-4; 182–Williams, BED, dec. Connor, NS, 5-1 OT TB; 195–Hummell, NS, dec. Eller, S, 6-2; 220–Lind, MP, dec. Smith, M, 3-2; 285–Aa. Gill, CH, dec. Gadinski, NS, 1-0.

Championship Finals

106–Hepler, TV, maj. dec. Burkett, 11-0; 113–Gabriel, BED, maj. dec. Bro. Biddle, C, 12-2; 120–Swank, BB, dec. Bordner, TV, 10-7; 126–Demaske, JM, dec. George, R, 5-0; 132–Carr, SF, dec. Easter, BED, 6-2; 138–Thomas, BED, dec. Claar, CR, 6-4; 145–Crouse, CR, dec. Bra. Fochtman, BB, 4-2 OT.

152–Edwards, BURR, dec. Tay. Cahill, BB, 6-3; 160–Walker, SF, dec. Bry. Fochtman, BB, 4-2 OT; 170–Bowlen, JM, dec. Hummel, NS, 7-5 OT; 182–Berkley, M, dec. C. Buttry, CR, 7-1; 195–Beckwith, T, pinned Kyle, MU, 4:46; 220–Maines, WB, pinned Trulick, BB, 2:31; 285–A. Beattie, BUR, dec. Smith, MU, 2-1 OT TB.