Ball gets things rolling for winning Black Knights

By Todd Irwin

For the Mirror

FLINTON — Joe Ball is known more for his exploits on the first day of the District 6 Class 2A Tournament, where he’s pulled off upsets of higher seeded wrestlers the last two seasons.

But on Tuesday night, the Moshannon Valley senior proved he can win big bouts in dual meets too.

Ball scored a key takedown early in the third period at 126 pounds, which was the first bout of the night, against Glendale’s Tristan Rutter and rode the rest of the way for a 4-3 win. That win and teammate Brandon Smith’s overtime victory over Dalton Gondek at 138 were crucial in the Black Knights’ 42-31 dual meet win over the arch-rival Vikings at Kitko Gymnasium.

“We knew we had to win those first three coming out or it was going to be a lot closer than what it was,” first-year Mo Valley coach Thad Walstrom said.

“We knew we had some crucial matches that we had to win,” Glendale coach Billy Dubler said. “We didn’t match up real well with them.”

Rutter took the early lead on Ball with a takedown with 12 seconds left in the first period. He rode for the first minute of the second period until Ball scored a reversal to tie the score.

The score remained tied until Ball nailed a takedown with 1:28 left in the bout. Ball was called for interlocking hands with 42.5 seconds left, giving a point to Rutter. Rutter tried hard to get the escape, but Ball clamped down and rode the rest of the way for the win.

“We were looking forward to Ball and Rutter,” Dubler said. “That’s a match that we thought we could win and Tristan thought he could win. He looked good early, got the initial takedown, and just made some technical errors. I know he’s kicking himself in the butt, that’s the way it goes.”

After Mo Valley’s Alex Richner’s fall in 53 seconds at 132, Smith built a 6-3 lead in the second period, although there was a long break as the coaches met with referee Aaron Gustkey at the scorer’s table concerning a scoring flurry.

Smith was up 6-4 in the third period, but Gondek cradled him to his back for two nearfall points with 10 seconds left in the bout to send it into overtime. Smith took Gondek down 13 seconds into the extra period to win, 8-6.

“That was a big win,” Walstrom said. “We were comfortable wrestling him on our feet.”

The Knights (5-3) forfeited to Brent Kuhn at 145 and moved Austin Sly up to 152 to face Cameron Fyock. Sly secured the first takedown, but Fyock was up 6-2 in the second period when he pinned Sly in 3:29.

After Mo Valley’s Jon Dale won by fall at 160, Glendale’s Isaac Krause moved up to 170. Krause injured his foot during football season, participated in his first full practice with the team on Monday and was cleared to wrestle on Tuesday.

The Viking star scored 12 nearfall points in a 16-3 major decision over Frank Warholic, who spent most of the bout fighting off of his back.

“I can’t say enough about the effort Frank gave us tonight,” Walstrom said. “Krause is a good wrestler, and Frank fought off of his back for more than four minutes. And he ended up only giving up a major. That was huge.”

Mo Valley’s Max Demko moved up to 182, built a 7-2 lead on Garret Vereshack and recorded the fall in 3:15. The Knights held a 24-16 lead.

“We thought it was going to be (Caleb) Kitko (wrestling Vereshack),” Dubler said. “It ended up being Demko, so that was a good move on their part. That was a big kick in the gut for us.”

At 195, Seth Dudurich was up 4-3 on Caleb Kitko when he reversed the Knight to his back for four points in the second period. Kitko came off of his back and reversed to make the score 8-5. Kitko released Dudurich in the third, but the Viking notched a takedown with 25 seconds left to win, 11-5.

The Knights only led by five, but returning Southwest Regional qualifier Nathan McDonald and Clearfield transfer Trae Kitko, a Northwest Regional qualifier, came through with pins to secure the dual meet win.

“We counted on bonus points from both of them,” Walstrom said. “If we get that from them every time, that helps us out and makes us a lot better team.”

The meet ended with forfeits in the last three bouts to Glendale’s Garret Misiura at 106 and Brock McMillen at 120 and Mo Valley’s Micah DeLattre at 113.

“This was a fun match,” Walstrom said. “This is a big rivalry. I know in football season they got the best of the kids. A lot of these kids on the wrestling team are on the football team, and they wanted to get revenge.”

“This was a lot of fun. We haven’t beaten them yet since I got the job,” said Dubler, who is in his fourth year as Glendale’s coach. “But we keep getting closer and closer and closer. I think if we don’t get them by the end of the year, I think we’ll get them for sure next year.”

126–Ball, MV, dec. Rutter, 4-3; 132–Richner, MV, pinned Seilhamer, :53; 138–Smith, MV, dec. Gondek, 8-6 OT; 145–Kuhn, G, won by forfeit; 152–Fyock, G, pinned Sly, 3:29; 160–Dale, MV, pinned Beeny, 1:28; 170–Krause, G, maj. dec. Warholic, 16-3

182–Demko, MV, pinned Vereshack, 3:15; 195–Dudurich, G, dec. C. Kitko, 11-5; 220–McDonald, MV, pinned Keith, 3:32; 285–T. Kitko, MV, pinned Jasper, 2:35; 106–Misiura, G, won by forfeit; 113–DeLattre, MV, won by forfeit; 120–McMillen, G, won by forfeit

Records: Moshannon Valley (5-3), Glendale (1-1)

Exhibition winner: Haigh, G

Referee: Aaron Gustkey