Six area champions crowned
McClellan gets 100th
For Altoona Area High School senior wrestling standout Parker McClellan, it was the icing on a very sweet proverbial cake.
Along with winning his second District 6 Class 3A wrestling championship Saturday night at the Altoona Fieldhouse, McClellan captured his 100th career victory in the process while pinning Central Mountain senior Mahlik Houtz at the 3:09 mark of the 220-pound title match.
“This is what I’ve worked for my whole career,” McClellan said of the 100-victory milestone. “And getting it along with winning the district championship … it doesn’t get any better than that.”
McClellan was one of six wrestlers from the Mirror coverage area who will be moving on to next weekend’s Northwest Class 3A Regional Tournament as district champions. The others are his Altoona teammates, Matt Sarbo (106 pounds) and Nate Simmers (285 pounds), along with Hollidaysburg’s Mason McCready (182), and Philipsburg-Osceola’s Chase Chapman (120) and Hunter Weitoish (126).
A total of 19 area wrestlers in all advanced to the regional by capturing fourth place or better in their weight classes.
Along with Sarbo, McClellan and Simmers, Altoona advanced fourth-place finishers Jordan Wagner (132) and Colin Allmond (170). Hollidaysburg also advanced 138-pound runner-up Nathan Swartz, third-placer Cody Dively (126) and fourth-placer Colin Smilnak (106).
Philipsburg advanced a total of 10 to the regional, including runner-up Brandon Anderson (195), along with third-place finishers Nicholas Bryan (106), Matt Johnson (152), Kyle Taylor (160), Ian Klinger (170) and Jordan Smith (285), and fourth-placers Tristan Beauseigneur (145) and Josh Hubler (220).
Altoona coach Joel Gilbert watched McClellan (25-4 this season) build an 11-2 lead before locking up a cradle on Houtz for the fall.
“What an outstanding achievement,” Gilbert said of McClellan reaching the 100-victory plateau. “And what a great place to get it, and the perfect scenario. I’m real proud of Parker. He works as hard as anybody we’ve ever had in our wrestling room. He’s very deserving of this.”
Simmers, a junior, needed only 73 seconds to pin Central Mountain junior Jacob Edwards for the 285-pound title.
“My normal strategy is being aggressive, and doing whatever I have to do,” Simmers said. “I knew that he was going to go for a throw, and I loosened my grip and got a hold of his head and pulled down.”
Simmers — who logged three straight falls in the tournament in raising his season record to 24-6 — and McClellan are workout partners in the Altoona practice room.
“They work hard together, and they push each other,” Gilbert said. “Having a good workout partner makes a difference.”
Sarbo won the 106-pound title as an Altoona freshman by pounding out a 6-1 championship victory over Bald Eagle Area freshman Cooper Gilham.
Sarbo (27-5) built a 5-0 lead on a takedown and three near-fall points in the first period.
“I’ve worked hard all season, and this (the district championship) is a good goal on the way to states,” Sarbo said. “During the postseason, I want to go out there and wrestle hard, and not do anything crazy. It’s all about pushing your opponent, and trying to break him.”
Hollidaysburg junior McCready (23-5) had a similiarly sound championship victory at 182, scoring three takedowns and a reversal for a 9-1 major decision over Bald Eagle Area junior Dylan Bisel.
“I went out and wrestled a solid match,” McCready said. “I was definitely happy with my attitude and effort.
“It feels good, it really does,” McCready said of winning the district title. “It’s been a goal of mine for awhile. I come from a family of wrestlers — my uncle, Dane Delozier, and grandfather, (the late Dr.) Neil Delozier, were good high school wrestlers who went on to have successful college wrestling careers, and I want to follow the example that they set.”
Hollidaysburg coach Christian Harr said that McCready possesses a lot of energy.
“The kid’s got a motor,” Harr said. “He’s a hard worker, and it shows out on the mat. The expectation we have of him is that he’ll get the job done, and I’m sure that’s the expectation he has of himself.”
Philipsburg-Osceola’s Chapman, a sophomore, scored an 8-6 victory over Mifflin County sophomore Derek Burk in the 120-pound championship match, while Weitoish, a freshman, exhibited excellence from the top position in a 2-0 win over Bellefonte junior Ryan Smith in the 126-pound title match.
Chapman (25-6) built a 6-2 lead with a second-period takedown, held an 8-6 advantage after a third-period escape, and kept Burk from generating offense at the end of the match.
“It was a great experience,” Chapman said of winning the district title. “I’m glad to do it. My workout partner (Weitoish) also won, so this was a fun time for us.”
Weitoish came up with a third-period reversal for his victory over Smith, after preventing Smith from getting out from the bottom position through the entire second period and most of the third period.
“It is my go-to ability,” Weitoish said of his riding skill. “I wanted to score first and keep him down.”
P-O coach Brad Pataky had words of praise for both of his champions.
“I think they’re both great kids who are constantly looking to get better,” Pataky, a former Clearfield High School and Penn State standout, said. “They’re both peaking at the right time.”
Two area wrestlers made it to the championship match, but lost. At 195, Philipsburg senior Brandon Anderson was pinned in 65 seconds by State College junior Cole Urbas, and at 138, in a matchup of returning state qualifiers, Hollidaysburg’s Nathan Swartz dropped a 9-7 decision to Bald Eagle Area’s Seth Koleno.
Koleno hit a five-point move in the first period en route to building a 7-3 lead, then held on as Swartz reversed in the final seconds but came up short.
“Swartz had a game plan tonight, and, minus the five-point mistake, he executed his game plan,” Harr said. “We also got outstanding performances at 126 from Cody Dively and at 106 from Colin Smilnak.”
Meet notes: Mifflin County’s Trey Kibe won the 145-pound title and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, while Mifflin County coach Kirby Martin was named the District 6-AAA Coach of the Year … Central Mountain won the team championship with 205 points, while Mifflin County (190) was second … Damian Branas was named the District 6 Man of the Year, and District 6 Hall of Fame inductees included Philipsburg-Osceola’s Dave Bates, Ron Butterworth and Ralph Moore, as well as Tyrone’s Tony Scordo.