2013-14 Mirror wrestling all-stars:Hollingshead, Mykut reach new heights

Altoona junior 152-pounder D.J. Hollingshead and Huntingdon veteran coach Jon Mykut accomplished a lot of firsts and things this past season that haven’t been done for a long time.

So, it’s only fitting that they have the lead honors on the 31st Mirror All-Star Team. Hollingshead has been named the Mirror Wrestler of the Year for the first time, while Mykut has been named the Coach of the Year for the first time. The Wrestler of the Year award covers the entire season, not just what a wrestler does at the state tournament.

Hollingshead’s firsts include:

n He captured his first Northwest Regional Tournament after winning his second District 6 Class AAA Tournament title, defeating Mifflin County’s Noah Stewart, 7-2, in the district finals and in the regional finals, 4-2.

n He placed for the first time in two appearances at the PIAA Championships, taking fourth after reaching the semifinals, where he lost to Cumberland Valley eventual state champion and pinning machine T.C. Warner, 12-2. The fourth-place finish is the best for an Altoona wrestler since Scott Wible took fourth at 160 in 2000, and it’s the fourth time a Mountain Lion has placed fourth.

n With his opening-round win at regionals, Hollingshead became the first Mountain Lion junior to reach the 100-win plateau. Hollingshead has a career mark of 106-15. If he stays healthy next season, he should break the program record of 125 set by former teammate and 2013 Wrestler of the Year T.J. Brandt.

Hollingshead finished with a 37-4 record, four major decisions and three technical falls. He placed third at the Powerade Christmas Tournament, losing only to Franklin Regional’s eventual 152-pound state runner-up Josh Shields, 18-6.

It was a banner season for Huntingdon and Mykut. Consider his and the team’s accomplishments:

n He was named the District 6 Class AA Coach of the Year by his peers for the first time, and it was the first time a Huntingdon coach earned the honor.

n He was named the PIAA Class AA Coach of the Year last weekend. No District 6 Class AA coach had been recognized like that since Bald Eagle-Nittany’s Biff Walizer in 1993. Mykut’s state award comes a year after Chestnut Ridge’s Greg Lazor was honored.

n The Bearcats, the top-ranked team in the Mirror rankings, went 21-3, won the District 6 Duals and obliterated the field at the district individual tournament, winning the team title by 75.5 points and qualifying nine wrestlers to the Southwest Regional Tournament.

Mukut is joined on the team by four of his wrestlers in sophomore 113-pounder Collin Glorioso, freshman 120-pounder Tyler Scott, freshman 145-pounder Jacob Oliver and sophomore 170-pounder Logan Fisher.

There’s three Bedford wrestlers on the team, including 113-pound state runner-up Jonathan Gabriel and four-time first-team all-star Ryan Easter at 132. There’s also three wrestlers from Cambria Heights who made the team.

The first, second and honorable mention teams follow the order of the Mirror rankings, with some exceptions at deep weights. Here’s the rest of the first team and its accomplishments:

106 pounds: Max Murin, Central Cambria: Murin had some success at the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling level, but not many thought he would have the outstanding freshman season he turned in at a weight class that was very deep in the area. Murin went 38-2 with 20 pins, and with a 35-0 record going into states, he was the last area wrestler to be undefeated.

Murin was the first Central Cambria freshman to win a District 6 Class AA and Southwest Regional title, beating Penn Cambria’s Nolan Link in fourth bouts. 4-3 and 2-0.

113 pounds: Jonathan Gabriel, Bedford: Gabriel rolled into the state finals with a technical fall and a pin, but then he lost to Bethlehem Catholic’s returning state runner-up Luke Karam, 5-0, after suffering an 11-0 loss to him at the King of the Mountain.

Gabriel, who was 29-6 with 11 pins, won his second Thomas Subaru title, his second District 5 title and qualified for states for the first time by placing fourth at regionals, despite dealing with a neck injury. Last year, he was an honorable mention pick with a 32-4 mark.

113 pounds: Collin Glorioso, Huntingdon: Glorioso returns to the first team after earning a fifth-place medal at states, which came on the heels of a third-place finish as a freshman. He’s the first two-time state placer at Huntingdon since Jason Shea in 1988.

He went 40-4 with 20 pins, hiked his career record to 79-9, won his first District 6 title, took an unbeaten record into regionals and finished fifth, giving him a first-round Hershey matchup with Karam, won he lost to, 3-1. His consy run was stopped in overtime by Brookville’s eventual third-placer Tyler Ortz.

120 pounds: Tyler Scott, Huntingdon: Another unheralded freshman, Scott went 33-8 with four technical falls. One of his wins was over Philipsburg-Osceola’s Class AAA state qualifier Chris Thompson. Scott finished fifth at districts at a loaded weight, one win away from advancing.

126 pounds: Joe Davis, Cambria Heights: Davis, a second-teamer last year, broke his leg during football season, bypassed surgery until after wrestling season, came back in January and finished his senior season at 27-7.

He was a district runner-up for the third straight year at a seriously deep 126, reaching 100 career wins during the tournament, and placed fifth at regionals by knocking off Richland’s district champ Adam George, 5-4, to qualify for states.

132 pounds: Ryan Easter, Bedford: Easter is not only a four-timer here, but he also became only won his fourth District 5 title, becoming only the fourth Bison to do so and the first since Eric Gibbons in 2002. He finished third at regionals to make states, where his seventh-place medal was the fourth medal at Hershey.

The Bloomsburg recruit and 2013 state runner-up went 32-6 and set the Bedford career win record with a 141-22 mark.

138 pounds: Garrett Thomas, Bedford: Thomas returns to the first team for the second time after finishing second at districts and third at regionals, where his only loss was to South Park’s eventual state third-placer Jake Wentzel, 5-0. The senior placed eighth in first state tournament.

Thomas, who won his second Thomas Subaru title, went 29-8 this season and was 121-30 in his career. He was also a Mirror soccer all-star.

145 pounds: Jacob Oliver, Huntingdon: A lot was expected of the 2013 PJW state champion in his freshman season, and he delivered, leading the area in wins with a 41-5 record and posting five technical falls at a weight where most freshmen don’t excel.

The Outstanding Wrestler of the Sheetz Holiday Classic, Oliver won his first district title, took fourth at regionals and placed fourth in Hershey, opening the tournament by avenging a PIAA Duals loss to Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer.

160 pounds: Levi Niebauer, Cambria Heights: After falling in the district finals last year, the junior captured a title, beating Mount Union’s Dylan Smith, 3-0, finished second at regionals, losing to South Fayette’s eventual state runner-up Jared Walker, 2-0, in the finals, and placing sixth at states. Niebauer, a second-team pick last season, went 35-6 and is 76-27 for this career.

170 pounds: Logan Fisher, Huntingdon: After going 19-11 as a freshman, Fisher turned it up a notch and went 31-10 this season. He placed fourth at districts and was a win away from making the medal round at regionals.

182 pounds: Conner Buttry, Chestnut Ridge: It was a breakout year for Buttry, who went 17-17 as a freshman to 36-9 with 20 pins at 182 and 195 as a sophomore. He finished second at the District 5 Tournament, fourth at regionals and went 1-2 at states. Meyersdale’s Gavin Berkley gave him three of those postseason losses.

195 pounds: Jared Beckwith, Tyrone: Beckwith had to sit out last year’s postseason with a kidney injury from an automobile accident, but this year, after winning a Thomas title, the senior placed second at districts and fifth at regionals to qualify for his second state tournament. He went 30-6 with 20 pins this season and was 93-38 in his career.

220 pounds: Nick Gray, Philipsburg-Osceola: An honorable mention selection his first two years, Gray makes the first team after going 30-5 with 15 pins as a senior. He finished third at the District 6 Class AAA Tournament and fourth at the Northwest Regional. coming up a win short of getting to Hershey.

285 pounds: Aaron Gill, Cambria Heights: A district runner-up last season, Gill captured a district title with an ultimate tiebreaker win over Mount Union’s Nik Smith and placed fourth at regionals.

He lost his first bout at states to Pen Argyl’s eventual runner-up Brady Mutton, avenged a regionals loss to Ridge’s Austin Buttry in overtime and went on a run though the consys to finish fourth. Gill went 35-5 after going 29-6 last year.