Westmont Hilltop knocks Bearcats from their perch

By Todd Irwin

tirwin@altoonamirror.com

TYRONE – The Huntingdon wrestling team had won four District 6 Class 2A Duals titles since 2011, including the last two.

But Westmont Hilltop didn’t look like a team that was intimidated by the Bearcats’ history on Saturday afternoon at Tyrone High School.

The second-seeded Hilltoppers started with a shocking pin by Max Yonko at 285, recorded two more falls in the first five weights, held a 30-point lead going into the last five weights and won their first Duals title since 200 with a 36-33 victory over the top-seeded Bearcats.

“Hats off to them. They outwrestled us today,” Huntingdon coach Jon Mykut said. “It’s as simple as that. We knew we had to weather the storm down below, where they were good, and we had to run the table from 160 to the top. When they took that one right away with the fall, that really hurt. (The dual meet loss) hurts because we put in a lot of work.”

The 12-0 Hilltoppers, who earned their fourth Duals title, defeated Forest Hills, 38-28, in the semifinals to advance and win the Laurel Highlands title. The Rangers pounded Bishop McCort, 51-15, in the consolation finals.

“All day, the boys wrestled tough,” Westmont coach Matt Beaujon said. “I always tell them to put 14 good efforts out there, and we put 28 out. That was just a spectacular effort on their part. Hats off to the boys.”

The 20-2 Bearcats, who defeated Bishop McCort, 52-18, in the semifinals, didn’t even have luck on their sides. They lost the pre-match disk flip, so sophomore Izzy Reed had to wrestle first at 285 against Yonko, the Hilltoppers’ 220-pounder, instead of 285-pounder Stefan Dean.

“The toss meant a lot,” Mykut said. “They won the toss, and that gave them the matchup right out of the shoot.

Yonko built an 8-2 lead before pinning Reed with a second left on the first period clock.

“He hit a nice headlock and a nice roll-through,” Beaujon said, “and that really got us with a foot in the right direction.”

After Westmont’s Tanner Kushner beat Cody Bilger, 7-0, at 106, Zane Blackburn eked out a 6-4 victory over Huntingdon’s Roland Mills at 113. Blackburn had two takedowns and a third-period reversal.

Back-to-back pins by Derek Christie and Conner Polacek gave the Hilltoppers a 24-0 lead and fired up their crowd even more.

“We gave up way too many bonus points,” Mykut said, “and we didn’t wrestle to our potential.”

“We knew we needed bonus against these guys because they’re going to score some points on you,” Beaujon said.

The Bearcats finally won a bout at 132. Izac Benson held a 5-0 lead over Jordan Malzi, who was trying to cradle the Bearcat in the third period when Benson forced Malzi’s shoulders to the mat from the bottom position. The defensive pin was called at 4:24, and Benson pumped his fists as the Huntingdon crowd roared.

But the excitement for Huntingdon was brief as Westmont’s Noah Korenoski defeated Jacob Wagner, 7-3, at 138. Korenoski reversed Wagner to his back for five points in the second period.

Westmont’s Hudson Holbay followed with a pin at 145, Clayton Dorian earned a 3-2 decision over Huntingdon’s Joey Bailey at 152. The Hilltoppers led, 36-6.

Huntingdon’s Andrew Finkle earned a 4-3 decision over Mason Muto, getting a stalling point with 14 seconds left at 160.

“We thought we had shots at 138 and 152, and we lost close matches there,” Mykut said.

With that loss by decision, though, the Hilltoppers began celebrating because they had clinched the title.

Huntingdon’s Braedon Knode followed with a pin in 2:41. And then Beaujon opted to forfeit the last three weights to Ryder Kocik (182), Alex Mykut (195) and Landon Fisher (285).

“They forfeited the last three, but more than likely, we were getting three pins there anyway,” Coach Mykut said.

While Westmont advances right to the PIAA Duals, which starts Thursday in Hershey, the Bearcats will host a wrestle-in match on Monday against the District 10 third-place team at a time to be announced.

“We’ll be ready to wrestle,” Mykut said. “It will be a tough match, I’m sure, but any match from here on out is a tough match. We’ll bounce back.”

SEMIFINALS

HUNTINGDON 52, BISHOP MCCORT 18

220–Walters, BM, dec. Fisher, 3-0; 285–Jones, BM, pinned Reed, :39; 106–Bilger, H, won by forfeit; 113–Mills, H, dec. Malcolm, 10-4; 120–Reamer, H, dec. Da. Boxler, 7-6; 126–Warshel, BM, pinned Kisiel, 5:59; 132–Benson, H, pinned Dempsey, 1:02

138–Wagner, H, pinned A. Andrews, 2:27; 145–Baney, H, maj. dec. Lichtenfels, 15-5; 152–Bailey, H, pinned De.Boxler, :48; 160–Marcozzi, BM, dec. Knode, 6-1; 170–Finkle, H, pinned Boyd, 2:41; 182–Kocik, H, pinned Meier, 1:15; 195–Mykut, H, won by forfeit.

Records: Bishop McCort (11-10), Huntingdon (20-1)

Referees: Aaron Gustkey, Gary Barger

CHAMPIONSHIP

WESTMONT HILLTOP 36, HUNTINGDON 33

285–Yonko, WH, pinned Reed, 1:59; 106–Kushner, WH, dec. BIlger, 7-0; 113–Blackburn, WH, dec. Mills, 6-4; 120–Christie, WH, pinned Reamer, 1:44; 126–Polacek, WH, pinned Kisiel, 3:27; 132–Benson, H, pinned Malzi, 4:24; 138–Korenoski, WH, dec. Wagner, 7-3

145–Holbay, WH, pinned Baney, :30; 152–Dorian, WH, dec. Bailey, 3-2; 160–Finkle, H, dec. Muto, 4-3; 170–Knode, H, pinned Moors, 2:41; 182–Kocik, H, won by forfeit; 195–Mykut, H, won by forfeit; 220–Fisher, H, won by forfeit.

Records: Westmont Hilltop (12-0), Huntingdon (20-2)

Referees: Kevin Clark, John Edgell

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