Mountain Lions, Tigers strong on day 1

Photo for the Mirror by Butch Miller

By Todd Irwin

For the Mirror

It was a pretty good opening night for 10 of the 15 area wrestlers in the Northwest Regional Class 3A Tournament on Friday at the AAHA Fieldhouse.

Altoona advanced five of its seven regional qualifiers into the semifinals, including 160-pounder Hunter Stoudnour, who entered the tournament with a 19-17 record.

Joining him are Hunter Hileman (120), two-time champion Cole Manley (132), returning champ Brinton Simington (170) and Parker McClellan (195).

The Mountain Lions are tied with General McLane for third place in the team standings with 34.5 points — half a point behind DuBois (35). Cathedral Prep, which brought 13 wrestlers, leads with 52 points.

“We did what we had to do out there,” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. “At times, we looked good, and other times, we didn’t look so good. Tomorrow is a new day, so hopefully we can turn it up tomorrow when it really counts.”

The tournament resumes at 10 a.m. today with the first round of consolations. Another round of consys will follow, and the semifinals will take place around 12:30 p.m. The championship finals and consolation finals are set for 6:15 p.m. The top four advance to the PIAA Championships.

Hollidaysburg advanced four wrestlers in Nathan Swartz (138), Dalton Long (145), Mason McCready (182) and Hunter Gill (285). The Golden Tigers are eighth in the team standings with 27 points.

“We had a good night,” Hollidaysburg coach Mike Moore said. “All four of those wrestled well, and they positioned themselves where they need to be positioned.”

Philipsburg-Osceola advanced Levi Hughes (138) to the semis. Micah Sidorick, P-O’s first District 6 champ since 2008, dropped a 2-1 decision to Punxsutawney’s Blake Bizousky in the quarterfinals.

Stoudnour, who opened with a 9-0 major decision of Brashear’s James Wagner, reached the semis with a 7-5 win over Clearfield’s Thayne Morgan. Stoudnour took a 3-2 lead into the third period, where he gave up an escape to tie the score.

Stoudnour scored a takedown with 1:08 left, gave up an escape and scored another takedown with 35 seconds remaining. Morgan escaped with 20 seconds left, and Stoudnour avoided any danger.

“That’s really great for Hunter,” Gilbert said. “He’s had some tough times this year, but he’s worked through them, and he’s slowly but surely has gotten better and better every time. To get to the regional semifinals is a great accomplishment.”

For his accomplishment, Stoudnour gets to wrestle Mifflin County’s 32-0 Trenton Hidlay in the semis.

Hileman only had to wrestle one bout, and he earned a 6-3 win over Clearfield’s Matt Ryan to set up a semifinal with St. Marys’ Tyler Dilley (22-4).

“Hileman did what he had to do out there,” Gilbert said. “He looked good in all of his positions. The Ryan kid has been coming on in the last few years, and he’s a tough wrestler.”

Manley (19-0) pinned Warren’s Alex Weston in 3:51 in his first bout and rolled to a 21-4 technical fall over Williamsport’s Cam Dickey in 4:00. Manley faces Cathedral Prep’s Spencer Staab (22-14) in the semis.

“He looked real good,” Gilbert said with a laugh. “He’s on a mission. There are no ifs, ands or buts about that. You can tell he’s excited. He’s in the back room doing back flips, which I didn’t like very much, but he’s excited.”

Swartz (138) and Long (145) didn’t spend too much time on the mat in the quarterfinals with two first-period falls.

Swartz, actually, had two first-period pins, decking Selinsgrove’s Drew Peterman in 54 seconds and putting away Meadville’s Austin Chess in 36 seconds Long, who survived a 6-4 overtime win over St. Marys’ Cameron Resch in the preliminaries, decked Meadville’s Nick Rinella in 56 seconds.

“The semifinal match is a big position to get yourself to,” Moore said, “and they went out with a purpose in that quarterfinal round to get to the semis.”

Swartz (30-4) will face St. Marys’ Alec Bitler (23-3) in the semis, while Long (29-5) gets Bald Eagle Area’s District 6 runner-up Gage McClenahan (29-4).

On the top half of 138, Hughes eked out a 9-7 win over Williamsport’s Richard Lowrie, and he followed with a 10-6 victory over Carrick’s Justice Jones. Hughes (22-7) faces BEA’s District 6 runner-up Seth Koleno (29-3) in the semis.

“Levi continues to buy into the program,” P-O coach Brad Pataky said, “and you see it pay off when Levi wrestles.”

Simington pinned General McLane’s Cayden Connolly in 2:59, and then he earned a 3-1 decision over Selinsgrove’s Garrett Campbell. Simington (30-5) faces Cathedral Prep’s Puigi Yates (35-12) in the semis.

“Brinton played his game,” Gilbert said, “and he ended up coming up victorius.”

McCready, who rolled to a 10-0 major decision over Clearfield’s Steve Sawyer in the prelims, won by disqualification due to a slam by Obama’s Darius Shields in the quarters. McCready used up his recovery time as medical personnel checked him out. McCready (23-10) is set to wrestle McDowell’s Jake Paulson (30-5) in the semis.

“The kid suplayed him, and he luckily landed on the upper part of his shoulders and not so much his head,” Moore said. “He should be good to go tomorrow. They didn’t clear him until after his recovery time expired.”

McClellan blazed to pins of Selinsgrove’s Blaise Zeiders in 1:38 and of Erie Strong Vincent’s Caprice Hall in 1:40. McClellan (32-4) will face Prep’s Michael Hughes (35-7) in the semis.

“Boy, he looked good out there in both matches,” Gilbert said. “He racked up a ton of points in the quarterfinals, and then he went for the fall.”

Gill followed up a pin of Erie Central’s Dominic Singler in 1:52 with a 3-0 decision over Bellefonte’s Sean Irvin. Gill (28-4)faces Perry’s Malik Townsend (16-4) in the semis.

“Gill is a grinder,” Moore said. “He’s tough to score on, is a big kid. He wears guys out, and we’ll expect the same thing tomorrow.”