Ridge, Bearcats off to strong starts

HERSHEY — Both Chestnut Ridge and Huntingdon went 3-for-3 with a combined three pins, a technical fall, major decision and decision on the first day of the PIAA Class 2A Championships on Friday at Hershey’s Giant Center.

Ridge’s top-ranked Justin McCoy (145), Morgan Deremer (160) and Jared McGill (170) advanced to today’s quarterfinals, which are set 9 a.m., while Huntingdon’s Seth Baney (160), state champion Jacob Oliver (170) and Landon Fisher (220) breezed to the quarters.

“I thought they wrestled well,” Huntingdon coach Jon Mykut said. “Seth wrestled great. He was in control the whole match. Jake was very workmanlike and was able to score the fall. Landon did what he’s capable of. So, I’m real happy with their efforts today.”

“Three-for-three is what you’re shooting for in round one,” Ridge coach Greg Lazor said. “We’ll take a look at what we did and didn’t do, try to fix some things and try to get it going for tomorrow.”

But it wasn’t all good news for the Lions. Dylan Williams, who captured the 113-pound title at the Southwest Regional Tournament two weekends ago, was ruled out of the tournament because of a skin condition that was apparently mis-diagnosed at home.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Lazor said. “He’s a senior who worked on getting to this tournament for 10-11 years, and he finally gets here and gets his opportunity and doesn’t get to wrestle. It hurts a lot on him, and it hurts even for us. We’ve talked about dreamed about (wrestling here) together.

“He’s been treating infantigo symptoms for a week or week-and-a-half. Down here, they said it was mat herpes, not infantigo. They said he’s been treating it with wrong medicine, and their opinion is the one that counts. That’s a real rough way to get out of the tournament.”

“It stings not having Dylan in the tournament,” Deremer said. “Everyone was pretty tore up about that. He’s worked really hard all year-long and finally accomplished his goal to get here, and now he doesn’t get to wrestle. We were sad at first, but we’ve just got to use it as motivation and wrestle for him this tournament.”

According to the Valley News-Dispatch, the same thing happened to Burrell’s Dillan Jeffrey (126).

Four other area wrestlers advanced to the quarters in Everett’s Garret Cornell (113), Central Cambria’s top-ranked Max Murin (138), Central’s Brock Biddle (152) and Moshannon Valley’s Larry Brown (160).

Still alive in the consolations are Everett’s Liam Flaherty (132), Mo Valley’s Jon Dale (152), Penn Cambria’s Derek Brown (160) and Central Cambria’s Nate Martin (285).

Everett’s Gavin Wills (170) and Kyle Peterson (285), Cambria Heights’ Allen Simmons (106), Mo Valley’s Alex Richner (126), Penn Cambria’s Jarred Stoy (170) and Central’s Jared Smith (195) were eliminated with losses in the first round of consolations.

As expected, Brown, Deremer and Baney all advanced at 160, but it wasn’t easy for Brown and Deremer, the regional finalists. Both won in the same fashion, 4-2 via reversals with 20 seconds left in the ultimate tiebreaker on adjoining mats. Brown defeated Delone Catholic’s Brian Shermeyer, while Deremer edged Shamokin’s Jacob Carpenter.

“I don’t think I wrestled my best at all,” Deremer said. “I couldn’t score on my feet, and that’s something I’ve got to fix for the rest of this tournament. It’s nice to win this round. Last year, I lost this round, and I had three straight wins coming back through the loser’s bracket.

“He scored when he needed to score,” Lazor said. “He obviously needed to do a little more on his feet, get some more angles, going, get a little deeper on his shots and get some finishes.”

The last we saw of Deremer, he was limping off the mat at IUP after his knee hit the concrete out of bounds when Brown hit a body lock throw. He said felt better, though, with the time off.

“It’s not 100 percent, but it’s a lot better than it was last week,” Deremer said. “I just had to rest with some secret remedies.”

What were the secret remedies?

“Horse liniment,” he said. “It works.”

Deremer (36-6) faces Northern Lehigh’s Ryan Farber (23-3), who is ranked No. 1 but seeded second, in the quarters. Brown (37-1) faces Coudersport’s Gage Arnold (38-2).

Baney, who took third at regionals, breezed to a 9-0 major decision over Montoursville’s Kyle Bennett. Baney (35-5) took Bennett down to his back in the first period for five points, and he later added two nearfall points and a takedown.

“It feels good to get the first one out of the way, all the mistakes out of the way,” Baney said, “and get the ball rolling. The score didn’t reflect that I made any mistakes, but you can always improve on every performance. I wish I could have gotten the fall, but the kids at the state level are a lot better than what you see all year.”

Baney, who wrestles Reynolds’ Gavin Wilkerson (39-6) in the quarters, was also aware of Brown and Deremer gutting through their wins.

“They keep matches pretty close, and they win off of those matches,” Baney said. “They’re really good at what they do. I think that we’re all pretty evenly matched, and it’s going to come down who shows up and who wants it more.”

Cornell had the biggest win of the tournament for area wrestlers. After pinning Tri-Valley’s Cal Schoffstall in 4:46 in the preliminary round, the Southwest fifth-placer earned a 9-5 win over Ridgway’s fourth-ranked Kyle Bush (the wrestler, not the NASCAR driver). Cornell (34-4) was losing 3-2 to Bush (28-4) in the second when he reversed and scored two nearfall points for a 6-3 lead.

“We always knew Garret could do it,” Everett coach Rob Ripple said. “Garret just needs to put it all together and wrestle with confidence like we saw at the Thomas Chevrolet Tournament and at districts. Today, we saw that out of Garret, so we were pleased. Tomorrow, we need more of the same. Go out and score points, don’t give anybody too much respect and make them earn your respect.”

Cornell will wrestle Montoursville’s Wyatt Lutz (35-7) in the quarters.

Murin (37-0) only needed 40 seconds to pin Hanover’s D.J. Erickson. Murin faces Ridgway’s Logan McClain (34-4) in the quarters.

McCoy built an 8-0 lead on Line Mountain’s Kenny Boyer before pinning him in 1:19. McCoy (40-3) faces Palisades sophomore Nathan Haubert (34-2) in the quarters.

“McCoy looked dominant,” Lazor said. “He controlled it from the get-go. He wrestled smart, physical and had different transitions from one move to the next.”

Biddle scored two sets of nearfalls in the second period of his 10-1 major decision of Greenville’s Michael Lineman. Biddle (36-4) has a big bout next against Susquehanna Township’s top-ranked and top-seeded Edmond Ruth (37-0).

Oliver (41-1) need only 1:12 to deck Scranton Prep’s Bruce Parola and get a quarterfinal berth against Mahoney’s Matt Lewandowski (36-5).

At the bottom of the bracket, McGill rolled to a 17-2 technical fall in 4:48 over Jersey Shore’s Hunter O’Connor. McGill (39-5) wrestles Reynolds’ Joel Leise (40-5) in the quarters.

“He had a couple takedowns. We like to see that,” Lazor said. “He was working on his feet, getting some scored. He got quite a few turns. He dominated a good wrestler, and he’ll have to be ready for tomorrow.”

Fisher (34-11) pinned Lakeview’s Tyler Zebrovious in right before the second period expired to get a quarterfinal berth against Bishop McDevitt’s top-seeded Cole Nye (42-5).

“Each match you win, it gets tougher,” Mykut said. “They just have to focus on the task at hand. They’re all a win away from getting on the podium, so we have to take care of business.”

Notes: Huntingdon is seventh in the team standings with 17 points, while Ridge (15.5) is tied for ninth. Reynolds leads by 14 points, 39.5-25.5, over McDevitt. … Central’s Smith was leading Newport’s Brady Herr 11-6 in a prelim when Herr hip-tossed Smith and pinned him in 5:46. Smith forfeited his next bout.