OW Murin claims fourth crown
Long, McClellan, Simington prevail
CRESSON — Central Cambria’s Max Murin had three Sheetz Holiday Classic titles on his glowing wrestling resume coming into the 2016 tournament at Mount Aloysius College.
All three of them, including two against Altoona’s Cole Manley, were really tough bouts. And it wasn’t a shock that he had to earn his fourth title in another hard-fought bout.
Murin, facing Hazleton returning Class 3A state runner-up and 2015 Sheetz Outstanding Wrestler Jimmy Hoffman in the 138-pound finals bout, rallied from 2-0 down entering the third period to capture his fourth title, 6-2.
Not too long after his came down off of the medals stand and accepted congratulations from fellow wrestlers, Murin was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
“Jimmy is a great wrestler. I think he’s ranked No. 1 in the state right now in 3A,” Murin said. “I knew it was going to be a tough match. I felt like only being down 2-0, I could come back and get the win.”
Three other area wrestlers won titles, including two from Altoona in Brinton Simington (182) and Parker McClellan (195). Hollidaysburg’s Dalton Long opened the finals by winning the 145-pound title.
“I believe they wrestled real well in the tournament,” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said of his champions. “Both of them took advantage of situations that were given to them.”
Altoona’s Hunter Hileman (126) took second, as did Everett’s Wes Graham (182) and Garret Cornell (113) and Portage’s Cole Sossong (152).
Altoona, wrestling without Manley until mid-January due to shoulder surgery in the offseason, had seven placewinners and came in fourth in the team standings 142 points. Woodbridge, Va., won the team title by a half point, 156.5-156, over St. Marys.
Altoona’s other placers were fifth-placer Jerrell Kephart (138), seventh-placers Hayden Boutiller (152) and Nate Simmers and eighth-placer Kobe Harr (145).
“It’s just a testament to the whole program in general,” Gilbert said. “We’ve been pushing these kids through the program. We’re reaping some of the benefits of our parents and the whole program. We’re real proud of our kids. Everybody wrestled tough.”
Hollidaysburg (108.5) finished in seventh place and had four placers. Nathan Swartz (138) and Hunter Gill (28-5) took third, while Mason McCready (182) was fourth.
Murin, who worked out with Young Guns teammate Manley before the finals, battled through a scoreless first period with Hoffman. He rode Hoffman for most of the second period, but Hoffman hit a Peterson roll and got a reversal with 3 seconds left. Murin, a returning 2A state runner-up and 2015 state champ, stayed away from back points, though.
“That was real nerve-wracking,” said Murin, who had three pins to get to the finals. “I got a couple one counts (for back points), but once he didn’t get the back points, I felt a little more comfortable.”
“He defended exactly the way he knows how,” CC coach Bob Nikolishen said. “There was absolutely no panic at the end of that period.”
In the third, Murin escaped quickly and took Hoffman down with 1:08 left. Not long after, Murin put Hoffman on his back with a Turk ride and kept him there until the move was whistled for potentially dangerous. The Iowa recruit kept riding hard, won the bout and raced out of the gym. He was the last wrestler to the medals stand. Rumor had it that he was doing wind sprints somewhere.
“I got the takedown, and I thought I could get the pin, but the ref wasn’t calling it,” Murin said, “so I had to finish in the Turk and get some back points.”
Simington, who made the finals with a 3-2 decision over McCready, took Graham down in the first period and led 3-1 entering the third. Graham escaped in the third, but Simington took him down for the deciding points.
“I think he kept in good position, controlled the ties, forced Wes to make a few mistakes out there,” Gilbert said. “He capitalized on a nice double-leg to basically seal the win.”
McClellan battled blood issues early as he built a 3-0 lead Hazleton top seed Carson Kinney. Kinney battled back to 4-4 in the third, but when he released McClellan, the Mountain Lion slipped a headlock for a takedown to win, 7-5.
“I thought he moved well out there and kept in good position the whole time,” Gilbert said. “He forced his opponent to make a few bad shots that he was able to score off of.”
Long, who knocked off South Park top seed Dallas Bulsak, 6-3, in the semis made a second-period escape stand up in a 1-0 win over Penns Valley’s Jared Hurd in the finals.
“I knew it was going to be a battle getting off the bottom,” Long said. “He was pretty tough on top. I probably didn’t want 1-0, but I’ll take it. I’m pretty satisfied with my semifinal win over a tough opponent.”
Everett (88) finished 14th, but the Warriors had five placers, including seventh-placer Liam Flaherty (138) and eighth-placers Gavin Wills (170) and Kyle Peterson (285).
Cambria Heights had four placers in sixth-placer Allen Simmons (106), seventh-placers Seth Link (145) and Cody Bogus (285) and eighth-placer Brody Mezzelo (152).
Penn Cambria had four guys place in the top eight in fourth-placer Jarred Stoy (170), sixth-placer Brock Talko (145), seventh-placer Derek Brown (160) and eighth-placer Chase Proudfit (126).
Other placers included Tyrone’s Sage Dixon (fourth, 152) and Devon Brown (sixth, 120), Central Cambria’s Caliber Castel (fourth, 195) and Isaac Thompson (seventh, 170), Bellwood-Antis’ Noah Schratzmeier (eigth, 182) and Portage’s Logan Shaffer (fourth, 126).
TOP 10 TEAM STANDINGS
1. Woodbridge, VA 156.5; 2. St. Marys 156; 3. Hazleton 152.5; 4. Altoona 142; 5. Archbishop Wood 135; 6. Penns Valley 111.5; 7. Hollidaysburg 108.5; 8. Tunkhannock 106.5; 9. Mifflinburg 105; 10. Forest Hills 104.
145–Long, Hollidaysburg, dec. Hurd, Penns Valley 1-0; 152–Law, Forest Hills, dec. Sossong, Portage, 3-2; 160–Patrick, Ligonier Valley, dec. Jenkins, South Allegheny, 5-0; 170–Burlew, Corry, dec. Noonan, Hazleton, 3-2 UTB; 182–Simington, Altoona, dec. Graham, Everett, 7-4; 195–McClellan, Altoona, dec. Kinney, Hazleton, 7-5; 220–Edenfeld, Laurel Highlands, dec. Zaynullaev, 3-2.
285–Cahill, BB, maj. dec. Rishel, Mifflinburg, 15-6; 106–England, Archbishop Wood, dec. Morales, Woodbridge, VA, 4-2 TB; 113–Boozel, Mount Union, dec. Cornell, Everett, 6-4; 120–Daubert, Forest Hills, dec. Dilley, St. Marys, 10-6; 126–Gaines, Woodbridge, VA, dec. Hileman, Altoona, 7-5; 132–Traver, Tunkhannock, tech. fall Miscovich, Mount Pleasant, 16-0; 138–Murin, Central Cambria, dec. Hoffman, Hazleton, 6-2.
Outstanding Wrestler: Max Murin, Central Cambria