Sarbo captures NW title

Altoona freshman 106-pounder Matt Sarbo says he doesn’t pay attention to state rankings.

He certainly didn’t appear to give a hoot about General McLane’s Andrew Brest’s No. 3 ranking by PA Power Wrestling in the Northwest Regional Class 3A tournament finals on Saturday night at the AAHS Fieldhouse.

The 15th-ranked Sarbo built a 4-2 lead on the third-ranked Brest before hitting a cement mixer to pin the junior in 3:45 to capture his first regional championship.

“I was confident before the match,” Sarbo said. “Rankings are for the fans, not for the competitors, so I just went out there and treated him like I would anyone else.”

Sarbo was the only area regional champion as teammate Parker McClellan dropped a 9-3 decision to Selinsgrove unbeaten freshman Nate Schon in the 220-pound finals. Altoona junior Nate Simmers (285) also qualified with a third-place finish.

“We had a first, second and a third. I’ll take any year,” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. “That’s an awesome year.”

Six area wrestlers qualified for the PIAA Championships, which begin on Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Hollidaysburg senior Nathan Swartz (138) and junior Mason McCready (182) and Philipsburg-Osceola senior Matt Johnson (152) also finished third to advance to Hershey.

“Two qualifiers, two guys that showed a lot of heart today,” Hollidaysburg coach Christian Harr said. “They had a tremendous tournament. Those guys showed tremendous poise to come back and finish a great tournament.”

The Mounties had three wrestlers finish fourth, a win shy of qualifying for the state tournament, in freshman Hunter Weitoish (126) and seniors Ian Klinger (170) and Brandon Anderson (195).

P-O went 0-for-6 in the semifinals, but the Mounties were still able to finish fifth in the team standings with 80 points. Cathedral Prep won the team title easily with 189 points. Mifflin County (125.5) was second.

Weitoish dropped a 9-7 overtime heartbreaker to Cathedral Prep’s Tyler McKinney in the consolation finals. Klinger lost to Central Mountain’s Tanner Weaver, 10-5. Anderson was beaten by Prep’s Dorian Crosby, 7-2.

Sarbo (30-5) went 3-0 with a technical fall and two pins, including a 58-second fall over St. Marys’ Marco Paropacic in the semifinals.

In the finals, Sarbo notched a takedown in the first period, but two Brest escapes, tied the score. Sarbo scored another takedown in the second for a 4-2 lead. With time winding down, he hit a cement mixer, or what Gilbert calls “the cobra,” and decked Brest.

“I’ve been hitting it a lot this season,” Sarbo said of the mixer. “So, I just went out there and hit it and had fun.”

With a win over a highly ranked opponent, Sarbo has his sights set high for Hershey.

“The goal is ultimately a state title,” Sarbo said.

“He looked outstanding all weekend,” Gilbert said. “We just hope we can keep that ball rolling into next week. He’s going to be tough to beat at states.”

McClellan (27-5) got caught in a standing cradle and was put on his back twice by Schon in the first period and trailed, 7-0, after the first period. McClellan scored a takedown and kept shooting the rest of the bout, but Schon caught him in a standing cradle again in the third for another takedown.

The Mountain Lion had to settle for his second straight runner-up finish at the regional.

“I just made too many mistakes out there,” McClellan said. “It’s something I need to clean up. I was getting in on shots on him, but I had bad finishes.”

“He got in on numerous shots,” Gilbert said, “but you’ve got to finish if you want to beat the best wrestlers. The kid had strong hips, and he knocked us off our base on our shot, and he was able to turn the corner and cradle us up. Thaat’s something we have to work on this week.”

McCready (27-6) got his first state tournament berth the hard way – by going overtime against Bald Eagle Area’s Dylan Bisel in a rematch of the District 6 finals. McCready was losing 3-2 at the end of the second period, but he escaped 22 seconds into the period to tie the score.

McCready was the aggressor in the bout, but he just missed finishing on shots at the edge of the mat. But he converted on a shot at the edge of the mat with 27 seconds left in overtime to win, 5-3, and the Golden Tigers celebrated.

“That’s been a goal of mine forever,” McCready said. “I’m ready to go down and start competing already. (Bisel) is a tough kid, and we’ve gone around a few times, and each time, I find I have to wrestle harder every time. But, hey, that’s fine with me. That keeps me honest, keeps me having to push myself. It’s nice to have someone like that breathe down your neck every week.”

“He is always pushing the pace,” Harr said. “Sometimes he gets a little overzealous, but he stays in good position. At the end of the match, he got a call, and it ended up paying off.”

Swartz (29-7), who was dropped into the consolations by McDowell’s eventual runner-up Leno Ciotti on Friday in a controversial bout, went 4-0 in the consolations on Saturday with two pins, a major decision and a 9-3 win over Carrick’s Justice Jones in the consolation finals.

Swartz was up 3-1 in the second period when he hit a slick double-leg shot for a takedown. He added another takedown in the third, gave up a reversal and got a reversal with 7 seconds left. A runner-up last season, he pumped his fists and celebrated with his coaches.

“Swartz wrestled the best two bouts of the year in those last two matches he wrestled,” Harr said. “In the consy final, that was the best match he wrestled all year.”

Johnson (21-6) was knocked into the consolations by BEA’s eventual champion Gage McClenahan, 10-0. Just months after breaking his left hand, he responded with a 7-1 win over Clearfield’s Caleb Freeland in the consolation semifinals and an 11-2 major decision over Meadville’s Nick Rinella in the consolation finals.

Johnson built a 5-1 lead on Rinella with two single-leg takedowns, and then he took Rinella down into a low-leg cradle for a four-point move and a 9-1 lead after two periods. He added a fourth takedown with 10 seconds remaining in the bout, and later he got hugs from head coach Brad Pataky and assistant Jeremy Weller.

“It feels great for all the hard work I’ve put in,” Johnson said. “I’m just happy I qualified, and I’m hoping to get a medal around my neck at states. My singles were working well all weekend, so I just kept hitting them.”

“Matt wrestled a great tournament,” Pataky said. “To suffer an injury halfway through the season and make it back for the postseason, he’s wrestled extremely well.”

Simmers (28-7) was stopped from making the finals by Meadville’s eventual runner-up Nick Morelli, 6-2, in the semifinals. But he responded with a pin in 1:56 of P-O’s Jordan Smith and a pin of DuBois’ Matt Starr in 2:08 in the consolation finals. Simmers raised his hands in celebration after the pin.

“Simmers had a tough semifinal match,” Gilbert said. “He was a little upset about it, but he showed a lot of resiliency. He had two pins to get his trip to states.

Weitoish came the closest of the fourth-placers to making his first state tournament trip. He was up 4-1 on McKinney in the second before McKinney hit a four-point move to take a 5-4 lead. Weitoish escaped in the third, but McKinney took him down for a 7-5 lead. Weitoish reversed with 18 seconds left to tie the score. McKinney got a takedown with 21 seconds left in OT to win.

“We’re extremely proud of Hunter,” Pataky said. “He’s come such a long way this year. We feel for him. He’s a tough kid, and he’s a hard worker. We know that he’s going to use this as his motivation. Hunter is not one to hang his head for very long, which is a good thing.”


ALL–Allderdice; A–Altoona; BEA–Bald Eagle Area; B–Bellefonte; BRA–Brashear; CAR–Carrick; CP–Cathedral Prep; CM–Central Mountain; C–Clearfield; D–DuBois; E–Erie; GM–General McLane; H–Hollidaysburg; M–McDowell; MEAD–Meadville; MC–Mifflin County; O–Obama; OC–Oil City; P–Perry; PO–Philipsburg-Osceola; PUNX–Punxsutawney; S–Selinsgrove; SHIK–Shikellamy; SM–St. Marys; SC–State College; W–Warren; WEST–Westinghouse; WILL–Williamsport


1. Cathedral Prep 189; 2. Mifflin County 125.5; 3. Central Mountain 122.5; 4. Bald Eagle Area 107.5; 5. Philipsburg-Osceola 80; 6. DuBois 80; 7. Altoona 75; 8. Meadville 63.5; 9. Clearfield 61.5; 10. McDowell 54.5; 11. Selinsgrove 53; 12. General McLane 51.5; 13. Shikellamy 51; 14. State College 44.5; 15. Warren 39.5; 16. Hollidaysburg 38


106–Sarbo, A, pinned Paropacio, SM, :58; Brest, GM, tech. fall Bryan, PO, 17-2, 5:08; 113–Fisher, MC, pinned Tirpak, CP, 5:03; Shreffler, CM, maj. dec. Madigan, W, 10-1; 120–Johnson, CP, maj. dec. Chapman, PO, 15-5; Leehan, GM, pinned Ryan, C, 4:43; 126–Scott, D, pinned Weitoish, PO, 1:22; Balestrini, SHIK, dec. McKinney, CP, 5-0; 132–Boyd, M, dec. Woodrow, D, 2-1; Andrus, CM, pinned Wagner, A, :56; 138–Koleno, BEA, pinned Chess, MEAD, 3:38; Ciotti, M, pinned Jones, CAR, 5:19; 145–Rigg, BEA, dec. Higgins, CP, 6-4; K. Ho, D, maj. dec. Long, CM, 22-8

152–McClenahan, BEA, maj. dec. Johnson, PO, 10-0; Kibe, MC, pinned N. Rinella, MEAD, 1:08; 160–Starocci, CP, dec. Barr, SC, 5-1; Bastian, S, dec. Balas, W, 8-3; 170–Becker, SM, dec. Klinger, PO, 8-4; Hidlay, MC, pinned Pulliam, E, 4:31; 182–Krieger, SHIK, dec. McCready, H, 6-3; Yates, CP, maj. dec. Bisel, BEA, 14-2; 195–McGonigal, C, pinned Anderson, PO, :58; Urbas, SC, pinned Kerner, D, 3:52; 220–Schon, S, pinned Todaro, MC, 3:06; McClellan, A, tech. fall Young, S, 16-0, 4:25; 285–Morelli, MEAD, dec. Simmers, A, 6-2; Deboe, CP, pinned Edwards, CM, 1:34.


106–Gilham, BEA, dec. Paropacio, SM, 5-2; V. Rinella, MEAD, maj. dec. Bryan, PO, 8-0; 113–Tirpak, CP, dec. Leidy, SC, 7-5; Madigan, W, pinned Zartman, SHIK, :57; 120–Burk, MC, dec. Chapman, PO, 7-2; Ryan, C, dec. Stewart, B, 4-3; 126–Weitoish, PO, dec. Smith, B, 4-0; McKinney, CP, maj. dec. Butterfield, M, 12-4; 132–Stark, CP, dec. Woodrow, D, 7-2 OT; Wise, MC, pinned Wagner, A, 4:15; 138–Swartz, H, pinned Chess, MEAD, 3:23; Jones, CAR, dec. McClorin, CP, 3-1; 145–Higgins, CP, dec. Richner, B, 5-4; LCHAong, CM, dec. Abbott, E, 7-6

152–Johnson, PO, dec. Freeland, C, 7-1; N. Rinella, MEAD, dec. Taylor, CP, 5-2; 160–Barr, SC, dec. Corl, CM, 4-3; Wright, C, pinned Balas, W, 3:49; 170–Klinger, PO, pinned Nash, WEST, 1:32; Weaver, CM, maj. dec. Pulliam, E, 14-2; 182–McCready, H, dec. Krepps, MC, 3-0; Bisel, BEA, maj. dec. Powley, WILL, 10-2; 195–Anderson, PO, dec. Riggle, CM, 4-2; Crosby, CP, dec. Kerner, D, 3-2; 220–Todaro, MC, pinned Hubler, PO, 1:07; Houtz, CM, dec. Young, SHIK, 4-3; 285–Simmers, A, pinned Smith, PO, 1:56; Starr, D, dec. Edwards, CM, 3-2.


106–V. Rinella, MEAD, dec. Gilham, BEA, 7-1; 113–Tirpak, CP, dec. Madigan, W, 7-1; 120–Burk, MC, dec. Ryan, C, 3-2; 126–McKinney, CP, dec. Weitoish, PO, 9-7 OT; 132–Stark, CP, dec. Andrus, CM, 3-2; 138–Swartz, H, dec. Jones, CAR, 9-3; 145–Long, CM, dec. Higgins, CP, 5-1

152–Johnson, PO, maj. dec. N. Rinella, MEAD, 11-2; 160–Wright, C, pinned Barr, SC, 2:08; 170–Weaver, CM, dec. Klinger, PO, 10-5; 182–McCready, H, dec. Bisel, BEA, 5-3 OT; 195–Crosby, CP, dec. Anderson, PO, 7-2; 220–Houtz, CM, dec. Todaro, MC, 3-1; 285–Simmers, A, pinned Starr, D, 2:08.


106–Sarbo, A, pinned Brest, GM, 3:45; 113–Fisher, MC, dec. Shreffler, CM, 8-1; 120–Johnson, CP, maj. dec. Leehan, GM, 13-3; 126–Scott, D, dec. Balestrini, 7-2; 132–Boyd, M, dec. Andrus, CM, 3-2; 138–Koleno, BEA, dec. Ciotti, M, 5-2; 145–K. Ho, D, dec. Rigg, BEA, 9-4

152–McClenahan, BEA, dec. Kibe, MC, 5-1; 160–Staroccci, CP, pinned Bastian, S, 3:09; 170–Hidlay, MC, tech. fall Becker, SM, 23-8, 4:18; 182–Yates, CP, dec. Krieger, SHIK, 11-4; 195–Urbas, SC, dec. McGonigal, C, 1-0; 220–Schon, S, dec. McClellan, A, 9-3; 285–DeBoe, CP, pinned Morelli, MEAD, 1:16.