Vikings solid at Panther Classic

CRESSON — Much is expected of Glendale this season, and the Vikings showed why the expectations are so high with their performance at the Panther Holiday Classic.

The Vikings finished second in the 43-team tournament with 181 points, a champion in Brock McMillen at 132, two runners-up and six placewinners on Saturday at Mount Aloysius College. Glendale finished in ninth place in last year’s tournament.

North Allegheny won the team title with 232.5 points and eight placewinners.

“I thought we had an awesome tournament,” Glendale coach Billy Dubler said. “The whole team did from top to bottom. We finished in second place, and that’s better than I expected.”

McMillen didn’t get a much anticipated rematch with Altoona’s former Young Guns practice partner Matt Sarbo, who was upset by Tunkhannock’s David Evans, 12-10, in the 132-pound semifinals. Sarbo, who lost to McMillen, 5-4, in last year’s finals, rebounded to finish third

But the returning Class 2A champion did earn his second Panther Classic title with a 6-1 win over Evans. Bedford’s Kaden Cassidy, a tournament runner-up last season, breezed to the 138-pound title with a 15-2 romp over North Allegheny’s Max Stedeford in the finals.

They were the only champions from the Mirror coverage area. Three other area wrestlers lost in the finals in Glendale’s Zeke Dubler (113) and Cory Johnston (220) and Huntingdon’s Myles Baney (182).

Evans took three shots on McMillen in a scoreless first period, but each time McMillen, as comfortable as always, draped over Evans’ shoulders, hung on to his opponent’s ankles and waited until the action was stopped.

“I see that every day in practice,” Coach Dubler said. “I’ve never seen anybody take him down in our practice room. He’s comfortable in those positions.”

McMillen tilted Evans for three nearfall points in the second period to take a 3-0 lead.

“I’ve been working on top a lot and have been able to ride more,” McMillen said. “I was able to get to that turn.”

McMillen, who went 5-0 with two pins and two technical falls, escaped in the third and took Evans down to solidify the victory.

“It feels good,” McMillen said. “It’s a goal I have every year, to start the season right. I don’t worry about the score in the match. I was trying to score points. Sometimes it’s closer than I like.”

Cassidy went 5-0 with three technical falls and two major decisions. Cassidy started his second major decision a takedown and a three-point nearfall off of a tilt in the first period.

The returning Class 2A state third-placer was taken down in the second period, but he escaped with a second left on the clock to make the score 7-2. Cassidy added a takedown and six nearfall points off of the tilt in the third period.

“I feel like I could have wrestled better,” Cassidy said, “but I feel good after that match. I’ve got to improve on top and neutral.”

Cassidy doesn’t even look like he got ACL surgery in the offseason.

“It feels 100 percent, no problem. Knock on wood,” Cassidy said as he reached down to knock on wood.

“He wrestled well,” Bedford coach Joel Easter said. “He’s a perfectionist. He’s on track. We wanted him to come here and put up points, and that’s what he did. I don’t know if anybody in the state is better than him on top.”

Freshman Zeke Dubler, who knocked off Woodbridge, VA’s No. 1 seed Brian Nguyen, 3-1, in the semifinals, dropped a 2-0 decision to Father Judge’s Sean Logue in the finals. Logue’s points came via a reversal in the second period.

“We call him Zeke The Freak,” Billy Dubler said. “He really surprised me. He came in as the eighth seed and knocked off some big guys. It’s nice to have both of my boys on the team.”

Dubler offered his leg to Nguyen in the third period in an attempt to get him to shoot, but Nguyen didn’t bite.

“I’ve never seen that in wrestling,” Coach Dubler said with a laugh. “I think a little bit of that was frustration. It was amusing if nothing else.”

Baney, who went 4-1, including a 3-2 decision to Corry’s Matt Petrilla in the semifinals dropped a 6-0 decision to Hazleton’s Jake Marnell. Marnell scored two takedowns in the win.

Johnston had three pins a 2-1 decision over Benton’s Zach Poust in the semifinals. Johnston, a returning state sixth-placer, dropped a 3-2 decision to Mount Union’s Jake Ryan, who took second in Hershey at 285 last season.

They were tied, 1-1, the third period when Ryan came out of a flurry on top for a takedown with about a minute left. Johnston escaped with a second left, but he had to settle for second.

“One point loss to a state runner-up,” Coach Dubler said. “That’s going to drive Cory. He’s going to train even harder. I expect to see him and Ryan to wrestle a lot this year.”

Twenty area wrestlers placed in the top eight at their weights.

Glendale had other placewinners in returning tournament runner-up Suds Dubler (fourth, 126), Seth Dudurich (fifth, 195) and Tristan Rutter (sixth, 145).

Joining Sarbo in getting a medal were teammates Trevor Manley (fifth, 285) and Adam Port (eighth, 285). Tyrone had two placers in Hunter Walk (third, 120) and Alex Weaver (eighth, 170).

Hollidaysburg’s Campbell Walls (fourth, 170), Huntingdon’s Roland Mills (fifth, 126), Bedford’s Jacob Dawson (fifth, 132), Bellwood-Antis’ Evan Pellegrine (third, 285), Central’s Ian Crouch (seventh, 120), Cambria Heights’ Ian Eckenrode (seventh, 182) and Everett’s Logan Propst (fifth, 220) also placed.

Top 20 Team Standings

1. North Allegheny 232.5; 2. Glendale 181; 3. Westmont Hilltop 167; 4. Dallastown 152; 5. Hazleton 149; 6. Corry 140; 7. Benton 133.5; 8. Canton 129; 9. Spring Grove 125; 10. Father Judge 124.5; 11. Woodbridge Senior (VA) 121; 12. Hempfield 119.5; 13. Tunkhannock 112.5; 14. Mount Pleasant 110; 15. Huntingdon 99; 16. Berlin Brothersvalley 97.5; 17. Conestoga Valley 93; 18. Douglas County (CO) 90.5; 19. St. Marys 88; 20. Mount Union 87.

Championship Finals

106–Gorman, North Allegheny, tech. fall Smyser, Spring Grove, 15-0, 3:15; 113–S.Logue, Father Judge, dec. Z. Dubler, Glendale, 2-0; 120–Coy, North Allegheny, maj. dec. Congleton, Woodbridge, 9-0; 126–Strickland, Benton, dec. E. Logue, Father Judge, 5-3; 132–McMillen, Glendale, dec. Evans, Tunkhannock, 6-1; 138–Cassidy, Bedford, maj. dec. Stedeford, North Allegheny, 15-2; 145–Pugh, Berlin Brothersvalley, pinned Chess, Mercer, 5:29.

152–Mackay, North Allegheny, dec. Gable, Dallastown, 4-3; 160–Lear, Benton, dec. Everdale, Hazleton, 3-2; 170–Dressler, Spring Grove, maj. dec. Ward, Canton, 11-3; 182–Marnell, Hazleton, dec. Baney, Huntingdon, 6-0; 195–Linkerhof, Corry, pinned Hunsinger, Hazleton, 5:14; 220–Ryan, Mount Union, dec. Johnston, Glendale, 3-2; 285–Yonko, Westmont Hilltop, pinned Grafton, North Allegheny, 1:44.

*Full results can be found Flo Arena