Bearcats rally at the end to beat Philipsburg

By Todd Irwin

PHILIPSBURG — The first eight bouts in Wednesday’s grueling wrestling battle between once-beaten Huntingdon and Philipsburg-Osceola were all decisions, which the teams split.

The Mounties rallied to win two of those, including Brandon Anderson’s 8-4 win over Alex Mykut at 195 and Aaron Foster’s 7-6 victory over Roland Mills at 113.

P-O almost got a third win, but after Jordan Smith notched a takedown of sophomore Izzy Reed with 10 seconds left to send the 285-pound bout into overtime, Reed got the takedown in OT to win, 7-5.

“It felt nice that I came out of a close match on top,” Reed said. “I knew my match was one that could decide the whole dual, so I went out with the mentality that I have to win.”

It turned out to be a pivotal win for the Bearcats, who were down by 12 with four bouts to go but swept those four with two pins and two major decisions. Joey Bailey’s meet-clinching 16-2 win over Tristan Beauseigneur in the final bout gave the Bearcats, ranked second in the Mirror rankings, a 31-24 victory over third-ranked P-O.

“I knew it was going to be a close match,” P-O coach Brad Pataky said. “It was going to come down to the wire. A lot of the matches that we lost, we easily could have won. The effort was there 100 percent, but we started going back to old habits. That’s what lost the match for us. It was a great match, lot of fight from both teams.”

“It’s never easy when you come to this gym.” Huntingdon coach Jon Mykut said. “It’s a tough place to wrestle, and those guys are always game. Coach Pataky had them ready to go. They had three losses, and the losses they have are to teams with one loss on the year. So, I knew it was going to be a match like that.”

The dual meet started with Huntingdon’s Braeden Knode slipping through two throw attempts by Ian Klinger, down to 160 for the first time, and winning, 8-4.

At 170, P-O’s Kyle Taylor notched a first-period reversal and second-period escape and takedown for a 5-2 lead over Andrew Finkle. Finkle got a takedown in the third and released Taylor, but he wasn’t able to get another takedown, as Taylor won, 6-4.

In a surprise at 182, Huntingdon’s 18-3 Ryder Kocik had all he could handle with senior Mason Martin, who was making his varsity debut. It was scoreless going into the third, where Martin escaped, but Kocik threw him for five points and an eventual 5-2 win.

“Mason Martin is a guy who continues to improve, a guy that continues to get better every single day,” Pataky said. “We knew he was a good athlete, but at this point in the year, he looks like he’s been on the mat for years.”

Alex Mykut held a 3-1 lead over Anderson in the third, but Anderson took him down with 1:13 left. He released Mykut with a minute left, but it looked like that strategy wouldn’t work as time wound down. But in the final 20 seconds, Anderson threw Mykut to his back for five points, and causing the P-O fans to erupt.

“Continuing to wrestle for the entire match is what we work on,” Pataky said. “He didn’t wrestle for 5:55, 5:56, 5:57, 5:58, or 5:59. He wrestled the full six minutes.”

Huntingdon returning state qualifier Landon Fisher, who has 17 pins, had a tough one against Josh Hubler at 220. Fisher took a 5-0 lead into the third, where he made shots, but Hubler defended them. Fisher had to settle for a 5-1 win.

Reed, who weighed in at 220, and Smith went to the third tied, 2-2. Reed escaped 53 seconds into it, and he notched a takedown with 35 seconds left for 5-2 lead. Smith escaped with 23 seconds left, and he got the takedown with 10 seconds remaining for a 5-5 score. Reed hit a slick duck-under 13 seconds into the OT for a 7-5 win.

“That was one of the ones that we expected to win,” Pataky said.

After P-O’s Nick Bryan edged Cody Bilger, 5-2, at 106, Foster trailed Mills, 6-3, with less than 10 seconds left in the bout. Foster, though, reversed Mills to his back for four points and a 7-6 win.

“We just did some silly things,” Coach Mykut said. “It’s a credit to their guys to keep wrestling through those positions.”

That was the last of the close bouts.

P-O’s Chase Chapman and Hunter Weitoish followed with pins at 120 and 126, respectively, both in 1:23. The Mounties held a 24-12 lead.

“I wouldn’t say I felt good,” Coach Mykut said of the situation. “I thought that had the upper hand in a couple of those spots. I knew we were going to have to step up and get some bonus, and those guys did that.”

At 132, Huntingdon’s Izac Benson had Noay Twoey on his back for much of the third period, but time ran out. Benson won, 13-1, but referee Jim Weston deducted a team point from the Bearcats for unsportsmanlike conduct, making the score 24-15.

Jacob Wagner and Myles Baney followed with pins for the Bearcats to give their team a 27-24 lead, exciting the Bearcat fans. Bailey clinched the Huntingdon win his 16-2 major decision at 152, where P-O is without injured 152-pounder Matt Johnson, who broke a bone in his hand against Bald Eagle Area, until February.

“Those guys stepped up big,” Mykut said of Huntingdon’s final four wrestlers. “They got us some big wins. The bonus points were definitely huge for us. I told our guys before we came up here that I knew it was going to be like this, and this would prepare us for the District 6 Duals.”

160–Knode, H, dec. Klinger, 8-4; 170–Taylor, PO, dec. Finkle, 6-4; 182–Kocik, H, dec. Martin, 5-2; 195–Anderson, PO, dec. Mykut, 8-4; 220–Fisher, H, dec. Hubler, 5-1; 285–Reed, H, dec. Smith, 7-5 OT; 106–Bryan, PO, dec. Bilger, 5-2

113–Foster, PO, dec. Mills, 7-6; 120–Chapman, PO, pinned Reamer, 1:23; 126–Weitoish, PO, pinned Kisiel, 1:23; *132–Benson, H, maj. dec. Twoey, 13-1; 138–Wagner, H, pinned Hoover, 1:04; 145–Baney, H, pinned A. Dunkelberger, 2:47; 152–Bailey, H, maj. dec. Beauseigneur, 16-2.

*Team point deducted from Huntingdon after 132 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Records: Huntingdon (16-1), Philipsburg-Osceola (5-4)

Exhibition winner: McDivitt, H

Referee: Jim Weston.