Altoona rallies for big win

Altoona Area High School wrestler Andrew Beach had his 15 minutes of fame Thursday night.

Actually, make that six minutes.

Beach scored a 9-3 decision over Philipsburg-Osceola’s Quinten Moslak at 145 pounds to seal the Mountain Lions’ 34-30 victory over the Mounties at the AAHS Fieldhouse.

P-O bolted to a 24-0 lead in the first five bouts before the Lions began pecking away and used falls by Nate Simmers (220 pounds) and Tyler Manley (285) to cut the deficit in half.

Nick Bryan’s pin at 106 gave the Mounties a 30-12 lead, but it was all-Altoona after that. The Lions won the last six bouts to pull out the victory. Cory McClellan’s 8-1 decision at 138 pushed Altoona on top for the first time, 31-30, and Beach followed with his win to lock it up.

“Exciting wasn’t it?” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert beamed. “You never know what you’ll get in a match like this.

“Our kids wrestled hard … wrestled for six minutes,” Gilbert said. “Where the matches were close, we pulled out some and that was the difference.”

Neither Gilbert nor P-O coach Brad Pataky was surprised at the outcome.

“We knew where we could get some wins and we knew where they were going to get some,” Gilbert said. “It so happened it started (152) where they had good horses and scored some early points. But, our kids adjusted, came back and scored where we needed to score.”

“Based on the lineup we had tonight, we knew it was going to be close,” Pataky offered. “In some matchups where we gave up falls it probably could have gone the other way.

“Even though we went up 24-0, we knew it was still anyone’s match.”

P-O’s Tristan Beaufeigneur (152) and Hunter Weitoish (160) won the first two bouts by falls. A decision by Ronnie Pinto (170), a pin by Parker Moore (182) and a decision by Dylan Yastro hiked the Mounties’ lead to 24-0.

After falls by heavyweights Simmers and Manley cut the margin to 24-12, a pin by Bryan gave the Mounties their final points and a 30-12 lead.

Decisions by Luke Hileman (113) and Damion Finnegan began a string of six straight wins by Altoona and pulled the Lions to within 30-19.

Matt Sarbo’s 57-second pin at 126 was followed by decisions from Jordan Wagner (132) and McClellan (138) to give Altoona its first lead, 31-30, and put the onus on Beach.

Beach had a 4-3 lead when Moslak was penalized for grabbing Beach’s head gear with 50 seconds left. Beach got a reversal and put Moslak on his back in the final seconds. The Altoona bench erupted and mobbed Beach for his effort.

“Andrew spends time in the weight room in the offseason,” Gilbert noted. “He’s a junior and it’s only his second year wrestling. That’s a lot of pressure on a young guy like that.

“I told him ‘you’ve worked hard and now it’s your turn to shine,'” Gilbert said. “He went out and it was his moment.”

Match notes: It was senior night and four Altoona wrestlers — Jonah Brandt, Corey McClellan, Nate Simmers and Jordan Wagner — were recognized prior to the match. … Lions visit Hollidaysburg on Tuesday, Jan. 15. … P-O travels to Central next Thursday, Jan. 17.

152–Beaufeigneur, P-O, pinned Schmidhammer, 1:09; 160–Weitoish, P-O, pinned Wagner, 3:20; 170–Pinto, P-O, dec. Zerbee, 8-2; 182–Moore, P-O, pinned Brandt, 3:54; 195–Yastro, P-O, dec. Keirn, 5-3; 220–Simmers, A, pinned Anderson, 1:51; 285–Manley, A, pinned J. Bryan, 2:20.

106–N. Bryan, P-O, pinned Carlucci, 1:12; 113–Hileman, A, major dec. Coudriet, 13-0; 120–Finnegan, A, dec. Au. Foster, 7-3; 126–Sarbo, A, pinned Aa. Foster, :57; 132–Wagner, A, dec. G. Dunkleberger, 8-3; 138–McClellan, A, dec. A. Dunkleberger, 8-1; 145–Beach, A, dec. Moslak, 9-3.

Referee–Doug Fogel.

Records: Philipsburg-Osceola (6-4); Altoona (6-4).