P-O, Altoona start strong

It was a very good first day for Philipsburg-Osceola and Altoona at the Northwest Regional Class 3A Tournament on Friday night at the AAHS Fieldhouse.

The Mounties advanced six wrestlers to today’s noon semifinals, while the Mountain Lions pushed four into the semis, including District 6 fourth-placer Jordan Wagner.

Hollidaysburg’s Mason McCready (182) also advanced to the semifinals, as expected, to hike the Mirror coverage area’s semifinalists to 11.

McCready’s teammate, Nathan Swartz (138), dropped a somewhat controversial 7-4 decision to McDowell’s returning state placer Leno Ciotti in the quarterfinals after getting slammed at the end of the second period of their highly anticipated bout. Now in the consolations, Swartz won’t return to the finals for another expected bout against Seth Koleno.

“It’s not as disappointing or detrimental as you might think,” Hollidaysburg coach Christian Harr said. “It’s a bump in the road, a hiccup. There were points in that match where it could have gone one way or another. I’m hoping that tomorrow he responds well.”

P-O’s Nick Bryan (106), Chase Chapman (120), Hunter Weitoish (126), Matt Johnson (152), Ian Klinger (170) and Brandon Anderson (195) advanced to the semifinals.

The Mounties are in third place in the team standings with 45 points – 10 points behind leader Cathedral Prep (55) and 2.5 points behind second-place Central Mountain (47.5). Only Cathedral Prep has more in the semis with seven.

“I think we did pretty well,” P-O coach Brad Pataky said. “I know the guys wrestled really hard every single match. The amount of guys that we got into the semis was something that we expected.”

Joining Wagner in the semis are teammates Matt Sarbo (106), Parker McClellan (195) and Nate Simmers (285).

“It was a great night for Altoona wrestling,” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. “I think we had four pins and one tech. fall, so it was a great start to the tournament.”

“All three of our district champions made it,” Simmers said, “and we had a kid who placed fourth in our district, Jordan Wagner, make it, and that’s pretty impressive.”

Swartz held a 2-0 lead over Ciotti until Ciotti reversed with 55 seconds left in the second period. Ciotti scored three nearfall points near the edge of the mat in the final 10 seconds of the period.

“The back points at the end of the second period weren’t necessarily back points,” Harr said, “but you can’t let something like that in the referee’s hands.”

After an injury timeout for Swartz, the bout resumed and Ciotti continued to hold on for control. After the buzzer sounded, a standing Ciotti, with Swartz draped over his back, let go of the Golden Tiger senior. Swartz dropped hard to the mat, and the referee called Ciotti for a slam.

“He kind of just left him go,” Harr said. “That he did it blatantly or not is your own interpretation.”

Swartz could have used up his recovery time and won by disqualification, but he got up and continued.

“I’m assuming our athletes and our athletic community don’t like to take those cheap wins,” Harr said. “We came here to compete, and that’s what we did,”

Swartz escaped 20 seconds into the period to draw within one, 5-4, but he could never find the offensive solution to Ciotti’s defense. Swartz tried a desperation move with 11 seconds left, and Ciotti got the takedown to win, 7-4.

Sarbo (28-5) rolled to a 21-4 technical fall in 5:40 over Prep’s Jacob Brumett, while Bryan recorded pins in 3:29 and 2:29. Sarbo faces St. Marys’ Marco Paropacio (4-4), while Bryan gets General McLane’s Andrew Brest (26-3).

Chapman had a pin in 2:53 and a 19-7 major decision over Shikellamy’s Frank Quinones. Fellow District 6 champ Weitoish rolled to a 14-4 major decision over McDowell’s Hayden Butterfield, but he gets DuBois’ returning regional champ Ed Scott in the semis.

Wagner (13-13) pinned St. Marys’ Hayden Tettis (20-11) in 5:35, and then he earned a 7-1 decision over Carrick’s Devontey Cunningham.

“Jordan Wagner has been coming on as the season has gone on,” Gilbert said. “He had good practices this week, and this doesn’t really surprise me that much because I believe he’s a very good wrestler even though his record doesn’t show it.”

Johnson had a pin 1:24 and a 7-3 decision over General McLane’s District 10 champion Brett Mallory to earn a big semifinal matchup against Shik’s Noah Supsic (30-5).

Klinger, who had a pin in the first round, was losing, 4-3, to General McLane’s District 10 champ Jack Kaulis in the quarters when the Mountie senior hit a five-point move at the end of the second period. Klinger scored a reversal with 8 seconds left in the bout to win, 10-4.

“It’s always nice to see your teammates get a big win,” Anderson said. “It gets you fired up for your match too.”

McCready reeled off pins of 3:42 and 1:57 to earn a semifinal matchup against Shik’s Josh Krieger.

Anderson earned an 8-3 decision over Erie’s Caprice Hall and had a pin in 3:48 in the quarters. He faces Clearfield’s top-ranked Luke McGonigal in the semis.

McClellan and Simmers continue to prove that moving up a weight is no big deal. McClellan had a pin in 1:48 in his only bout, and Simmers had a fall in 5:19 in his only bout.

“Parker has probably been used to the 220 for awhile because I’ve been his practice partner,” Simmers said. “I’ve wrestled heavyweight before, and weight doesn’t bother me. I’m fast enough and strong enough to deal with anybody.”

The tournament resumes at 10 this morning with the consolations. No consolation rounds were wrestled on Friday. The semifinals are at 12:30, and the finals and consolation finals are set for 6:15 p.m.

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