McGill gets No. 4; Ridge rules again
JOHNSTOWN — The story line for the 2019 District 5 Wrestling Tournament was a redundant but very enjoyable one for the Chestnut Ridge wrestling team, its head coach Greg Lazor, and its star senior 170-pounder Jared McGill, Saturday night at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Sports Complex.
Ridge ran away with its eighth straight district team championship, racking up 250 points. Ridge moved 12 wrestlers in 14 weight classes on to next weekend’s Southwest AA Regional Tournament at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Kovalchik Center, including six district champions.
One of them was McGill, who became the fourth four-time District 5 champ in Chestnut Ridge history, while earning the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler Award after logging a 16-1 technical fall in 4:59 over Northern Bedford senior Austin Mowry in the 170-pound final.
Lazor was named the District 5 Coach of the Year for the eighth consecutive season.
“The boys in this program have been working hard and doing things right,” Lazor said. “I’m very proud of the boys and the coaching staff. It’s taken the whole program, from the elementary level on up, to make a streak like this (eight straight district team titles) happen.”
McGill, who will wrestle at the University of Pittsburgh next season, had no trouble in breezing to his fourth District 5 title. McGill, who has a 32-0 record this season, also has three PIAA state medals in his trophy case, including a third-place finish at 170 last year.
McGill is hoping that his fourth district title can be a stepping stone to a gold medal at Hershey in three weeks.
“It feels good,” McGill said of his fourth district title. “This isn’t my main goal, but it’s obviously part of it on the way to becoming a state champ, I feel like.”
McGill joined Justin McCoy (2015-18), Tyler Dibert (2010-13) and Lester McClucas (1958-61) as four-time District 5 champions for Ridge.
“He’s obviously an awesome wrestler, and he’s done really great things throughout the state,” Lazor said of McGill. “And not only does he do a great job of wrestling — he’s also been a real leader for the other kids in our wrestling room.”
McGill will be among a total of 28 area wrestlers advancing to next weekend’s regional with finishes of third place or better at the District 5 tournament.
Nine of those area wrestlers were District 5 champions. They included McGill, Ridge sophomore Kai Burkett (106 pounds), junior Nate Holderbaum (113), senior Austin Krouse (182), junior Duane Knisely (220), and senior Dalton Seace (285).
Tussey Mountain senior Brady Villa (126), Bedford junior Kaden Cassidy (132), and Northern Bedford junior Ian Sherlock (138) were the other District 5 champs from the Mirror coverage area.
Ridge also sent six more wrestlers to the regional with either second or third-place finishes. Juniors Gryphon Callihan (126) and Seth Holderbaum (160) both finished second, while freshmen Ross Dull (120), Trevor Weyandt (132), Luke Moore (138), and Daniel Moore (152) each placed third.
Along with Sherlock and Mowry, Northern Bedford also moved on seniors Alex Fouse (182) and Kyle Guyer (220) to the regional with second-place finishes.
Tussey Mountain moved five wrestlers to the regional. Along with Villa, Tussey’s other regional qualifiers are freshman Trevor Husick (second at 106), sophomore Hunter Horton (second at 120), senior Damon Lemin (second at 195), and senior Cole Weist (third at 170).
Everett has four regional qualifiers. Everett seniors Garret Cornell (132), Macen Akers (152), and Shane Clark (220) each finished second, while senior Evan Brennan (126) placed third.
Bedford has three regional qualifiers. Along with the 132-pound champ Cassidy, Bedford also moved on senior Nathan Gabriel (second at 145), and sophomore Camden Koontz (third at 113).
The third-place match at 285 pounds between Northern Bedford sophomore Jay Ebersole and Tussey Mountain freshman Matt Watkins had to be postponed because Ebersole wrestled his one-day limit of five matches Saturday under PIAA rules. The match will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at Bedford Area High School.
Ridge’s Burkett, Nate Holderbaum, Crouse and Seace all defended the district titles that they won last year at their respective weight classes.
Burkett (29-3) needed just 70 seconds to pin Tussey’s Husick in the 106-pound championship bout.
“It’s pretty exciting, winning two in a row,” said Burkett, who used an arm bar for the fall. “My game plan was to go out and score a lot of points and try to wrestle my best.”
Holderbaum (24-9) racked up an 11-0 major decision over Meyersdale freshman Trevor Donaldson in the 113-pound title bout.
“I knew that if I stayed loose, I’d be OK,” Holderbaum said. “If I tightened up, I knew that I would make dumb mistakes and give up easy points. I just wanted to let it loose and have fun.”
At 182, Crouse (26-8) won his second straight district title in dramatic fashion, pinning Northern Bedford’s Fouse 34 seconds into overtime after the score had been tied, 1-1 after regulation.
“I threw him down and went for the fall to give us more team points,” Crouse said. “I always wrestle to the whistle.”
Seace (29-7) hit a five-point headlock against top-seeded Meyersdale sophomore Jalen Stephens (32-3) late in the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie for his 6-1 championship victory at 285.
“He’s a really good wrestler,” Seace said of Stephens. “He made a mistake, and I countered it.”
Knisely (31-5) built a 7-0 lead before pinning Everett’s Clark 10 seconds into the third period of their 220-pound championship bout.
“I knew he was getting pretty tired, and I kept pushing him,” Knisely said.
In one of the more interesting bouts of the night, Bedford’s Cassidy came up with a third-period takedown to break a 3-3 tie and post a 5-3 win over Everett’s Cornell in the 132-pound title match. Both have earned state medals in the past, and in three closely-contested meetings between the two wrestlers this year, Cassidy has now won two.
“Cornell is a really good wrestler,” said Cassidy, now 30-1 this year. “Hopefully, we’ll end up in the finals again at the regionals and/or states.”
Northern Bedford’s Sherlock (21-3) used a cradle to record a 56-second fall against Berlin Brothersvalley junior Clayton Lee in the 138-pound title match.
“It’s a good way to end the day,” Sherlock said. “My game plan was to be aggressive, and when I saw that cradle, I hit it as quick as I could.”
Tussey Mountain’s Villa (27-4) won the 126-pound championship with a 1-0 win over Chestnut Ridge’s Callihan. Villa made a second-period escape stand up by riding out Callihan in the third.
“It’s a great feeling,” Villa said. “I knew coming in here that I was going to have some great opponents.”
Meet notes: District 5 Hall of Fame wrestling inductees honored Saturday included Bedford’s Brian Kendall, John Straub and the late Jeff Sciranko, Chestnut Ridge’s Paul Davis and Dave Imler, Northern Bedford’s Brent Bowser, Tussey Mountain’s John Husick, North Star’s John Baker, and Conemaugh Township’s Mike Swank.
KEY, TEAM SCORING: 1, CR–Chestnut Ridge, 250; 2, E–Everett, 118; 3, NB–Northern Bedford, 117; 4, TM–Tussey Mountain, 115.5; 5, MEY–Meyersdale, 114; 6, BED–Bedford, 112; 7, NS–North Star, 111; 8, BB–Berlin Brothersvalley, 86.5; 9, SOM–Somerset, 44; 10, HY–Hope for Hyndman, 7; 11, CT–Conemaugh Township, 4.
(Winners and losers advance to the Southwest AA Regional Tournament)
106–Burkett, CR, pinned Husick, TM, 1:10. 113–N. Holderbaum, CR, maj. dec. Donaldson, MEY, 11-0. 120–Brougher, NS, dec. Horton, TM, 6-4. 126–Villa, TM, dec. Callihan, CR, 1-0. 132–Cassidy, BED, dec. Cornell, E, 5-3. 138–Sherlock, NB, pinned Lee, BB, 1:04. 145–Pugh, BB, dec. Gabriel, BED, 3-1.
152–Supanick, NS, dec. Akers, E, 3-2. 160–Moody, MEY, dec. S. Holderbaum, 9-2. 170–McGill, CR, tech. fall Mowry, NB, 16-1, 4:59. 182–Crouse, CR, pinned Fouse, NB, 6:34 OT. 195–Tremain, NS, tech. fall Lemin, TM, 15-0, 1:34. 220–Knisely, CR, pinned Clark, E, 4:10. 285–Seace, CR, dec. Stephens, MEY, 6-1.
(Winners advance to the regional tournament)
106–Pelesky, NS, dec. Steinbrunner, BED, 7-1. 113–Koontz, BED, dec. Cornell, BB, 5-3 OT. 120–R. Dull, CR, major dec. Pepple, NB, 11-0. 126–Brennan, E, dec. Ackerman, MEY, 3-2. 132–Weyandt, CR, pinned Snoeberger, NS, 2:35. 138–L. Moore, CR, maj. dec. Habinyak, BED, 9-0. 145–Broadwater, MEY, maj. dec. Younker, E, 12-2.
152–D. Moore, CR, maj. dec. Lingenfelter, BED, 11-3. 160–Rios, SOM, dec. Spade, E, 5-0. 170–Weist, TM, pinned A. Dull, BED, 2:12. 182–Krause, SOM, pinned B. Most, MEY, 2:45. 195–Boburchock, BB, pinned Propst, E, 4:22. 220–Guyer, NB, dec. J. Most, BB, 9-7 OT. 285–No match. (Match between Northern Bedford’s Jay Ebersole and Tussey Mountain’s Matt Watkins for third place will be held Monday at 7 p.m. at Bedford Area High School).