Unstoppable: Altoona’s Sarbo captures third straight regional crown

Photo for the Mirror by Chuck Meyers Altoona’s Matt Sarbo takes down DuBois’ Trenton Donahue during his victory at 132 pounds Saturday.

Some of the 2010 movie “Unstoppable” — a story about a runaway freight train starring Denzel Washington — was filmed in Tyrone.

Another unstoppable story has been playing out at the AAHS Field over the last weeks.

The lead character has been Altoona’s Matt Sarbo.

The junior 132-pounder captured his third Northwest Regional Class 3A Tournament title with a 20-4 technical fall in 4:53 over DuBois’ returning state sixth-placer Trenton Donahue in the finals on Saturday night.

“Oh boy, he looked really tough out there, didn’t he?” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. “You take a state place finisher like Donahue and do that to him, that’s really impressive.”

Sarbo is only the second Mountain Lion to win three titles, joining 2017 graduate Cole Manley.

“It feels pretty good,” Sarbo said. “There were tough kids here, and it was a fun tournament. I’m wrestling hard, and I think performed pretty well.”

Sarbo went 3-0 in the tournament with two technical falls and a pin. That is coming off of the District 6 Tournament, where he pounded out two pins and a technical fall.

Hollidaysburg junior Campbell Walls is the only other area wrestler to qualify for the PIAA Championships, finishing third at 160 pounds. Walls went 4-1, including a 7-3 win over DuBois’ Gauge Gulvas in the pressure-packed consolation finals.

Altoona’s Damion Finnegan (126) and Trevor Manley (285) came up a win shy of qualifying for Hershey as they lost in the consolation finals.

Finnegan’s 5-4 loss to Central Mountain’s Taylor Weaver was a controversial heartbreaker. Manley suffered a 9-2 tiebreaker loss to Mifflin County’s District 6 champion Blaine Davis.

“The kids wrestled to their best of their abilities, and that’s all I can ask for,” Gilbert said. “Yeah, we ended up with two losses, and yes it is disappointing, but I’m real proud of the way they acted, the way they wrestled. They gave it everything they had.”

Sarbo, who is now 35-2, scored two takedowns in the first period and put Donahue on his back for three points for a 7-1 lead.

In the second, Sarbo used a variety of moves from his feet to notch four takedowns and a 16-4 lead heading into the third period.

“He goes from one move to the next,” Gilbert said. “He’s quick, and he finishes well. He tilts well on top. He really looks good.”

Sarbo took Donahue down for the seventh time in the third period, and then he tilted him for two points to get the technical fall.

Sarbo will look to continue his scoring onslaught in Hershey, where the competition gets a lot tougher and deeper.

“If he wrestles like that, he’s going to be really tough to beat, I can tell you that,” Gilbert said. “Each guy is good down there, but we have to keep that kind of tempo that we had here the past two weekends, and good things will happen.”

“There are good kids there just like there are here,” Sarbo said. “I’m not going to treat it any different. I’m just going to go out, wrestle hard and enjoy myself.”

After a scoreless first period, Gulvas escaped from Walls, but it wasn’t long before the Golden Tiger with the flowing locks of red hair responded with a takedown.

The score was tied, 2-2, entering the third period, but Walls escaped 12 seconds into the period. He slipped through a Gulvas offensive move for a takedown and a 5-2 lead. Gulvas escaped with 18 seconds left, and he attempted a headlock, but Walls slipped through it for another takedown.

Walls (25-8) flexed his muscles at the jubilant Hollidaysburg section when he won.

“It feels great,” Walls said. “It’s nice to rub it into my coach because he never got to punch his ticket (to states). I held up my Hershey bar and said ‘Sorry you never got one, Coach.’ I’m very excited.”

“Campbell had a great tournament,” Hollidaysburg coach Christian Harr said. “He wrestled up to his potential. He definitely has worked toward competing at the state level and can hang with these upper level guys.”

Finnegan, who was knocked into the consolations by Bellefonte’s eventual champion Jude Swisher, 10-1, the semifinals, earned a 6-0 decision in the consolation semifinals to reach the third-place bout.

Finnegan got a takedown against Weaver coming out of a long and entertaining flurry with 6 seconds left in the first period. He went up 3-0 when he escaped with 30 seconds left in the second, and he nearly got a takedown at the end of the period.

Weaver escaped in the third and took Finnegan down to tie the score. Finnegan escaped with 1:31 left before hitting a headlock at the edge of the mat with 1:06 left. It was ruled a takedown initially, but it was waved off when the referee and mat judge conferred.

The wrestlers got into a flurry in the final 15 seconds of the bout, and when Weaver slipped behind Finnegan for a takedown, the clock read 0:00. Weaver was given the takedown, and Gilbert and Finnegan’s teammates objected to the call.

“I feel terrible about the whole situation,” Gilbert said. “He works as hard as anybody in the wrestling room, puts a lot of time and effort into the sport. I feel as if the officials took that one away a little bit. I didn’t get to see the end because the official was in my way, so I’m not sure if the kid had the takedown or not, but I do know the official took the one away on the headlock.

“It looked like we almost had another one at the edge of the mat. I feel for the kid. He had a great weekend of wrestling. To lose like that is pretty tough, hard to swallow.”

Manley, who was knocked into the consolations by Meadville’s eventual champ Thomas Pollard, 8-1, in the semifinals, reached the third-place bout with a 4-2 win over Erie’s Dominic Sigler.

Manley fired first against Davis by getting a takedown with a hip toss. Davis avoided giving up nearfall points and escaped. Davis rode the entire second period and escaped early in the third to tie the score.

The score remained 2-2 the rest of regulation and overtime. Davis scored two nearfall points in the first 30-second tiebreaker. Manley cut him to begin the next tiebreaker period and tried to throw Davis but wound up on his back.

“He hit that first lateral drop, and if he holds him there a few more seconds, gets a few back points, maybe it turns into a different match,” Gilbert said. “I think Trevor Manley will be back next year, and I think he’ll be fired up and ready to go.”

Hollidaysburg’s Colin Smilnak (113) and Aaron Sleeth (152) and Altoona’s Colin Allmond (182) made it to the consolation semifinals before they were eliminated. Others who were eliminated on the second day were Altoona’s Ray Boose (1-2 record at 220) and Adam Zerbee (0-2 at 152) and Hollidaysburg’s Nicholas Burkey (1-2 at 145).

Bellefonte had four champions and won the team title by 18 points, 184.5-166.5, over Cathedral Prep. Altoona (65) finished tied for 10thwith Clearfield, while Hollidaysburg (32) was 15th.


ALL–Allderdice; A–Altoona; B–Bellefonte; BRAD–Bradford; BR–Brashear; CP–Cathedral Prep; CM–Central Mountain; C–Clearfield; CRAN–Cranberry; D–DuBois; CAR–Carrick; E–Erie; H–Hollidaysburg; JO–Johnstown; J–Juniata; MCD–McDowell; M–Meadville; MC–Mifflin County; O–Obama; PER–Perry; P–Punxsutawney; SM–St. Marys; S–Selinsgrove; SH–Shikellamy; SC–State College; WAR–Warren; WEST–Westinghouse; W–Williamsport


1. Bellefonte 184.5; 2. Cathedral Prep 166.5; 3. Mifflin County 146; 4. Central Mountaain 118.5; 5. DuBois 114.5; 6. Meadville 96; 7. State College 95.5; 8. Williamsport 92.5; 9. Selinsgrove 68.5; 10. Altoona and Clearfield 65; 12. St. Marys 43.5; 13. McDowell and Shikellamy 41; 15. Hollidaysburg 32; 16. Bradford 28; 17. Cranberry 17.5; 18. Warren 15; 19. Carrick and Punxsutawney 14; 21. Allderdice and Erie 11; 23. Juniata 7.5; 24. Obama 7; 25. Johnstown 2; 26. Brashear, Perry and Westinghouse 0.


106–Allison, MC, pinned Nasdeo, W, :28; Vandee, CP, pinned Cunningham, SC, 1:55; 113–Keen, CM, pinned Stark, CP, 2:42; O’Shea, B, dec. Rinella, M, 2-0; 120–Aikey, B, dec. Crockett, CP, 3-0; Weaver, W, dec. Butterfield, MCD, 13-11; 126–Swisher, B, maj. dec. Finnegan, A, 10-1; Smith, CP, maj. dec. Harris, W, 16-7; 132–Sarbo, A, pinned Dellaquilla, SM, 2:52; Donahue, D, dec. Woolcott, SC, 3-2; 138–Bower, W, dec. Leidy, SC, 4-1 UTB; Ho, D, dec. Everly, MC, 1-0; 145–Johnson, CP, maj. dec. Morrone, W, 21-7; Balestrini, SH, dec. Kauffman, MC, 6-1.

152–Scott, D, pinned Mahon, W, 1:28; McClorin, CP, pinned Wagner, MC, :22; 160–Richner, B, tech. fall Gulvas, D, 18-0, 2:27; Bastian, S, dec. Walls, H, 10-4. 170–Kibe, MC, maj. dec. Porter, CM, 17-5; Urbas, SC, dec. Tidball, M, 5-0. 182–Rossman, B, pinned Starr, D, 3:52; Buzzell, M, dec. Sunafrank, BRAD, 8-4; 195–Miller, CM, dec. Eddy, P, 8-7; Benner, B, pinned Aument, S, 5:43; 220–Schon, S, pinned Barrier, B, 2:40; Crosby, CP, pinned Young, SH, 2:39; 285–Pollard, M, dec. Manley, A, 8-1; Billotte, C, dec. Davis, MC, 6-3.


106–Serafini, CM, pinned Mars, CAR, 1:37; Smith, J, dec. Goldber, ALL, 8-3; Sallott, MCD, dec. Umstead, CRAN, 6-1; Davis, C, pinned Terwilliger, M, 1;23; 113–Johnson, MC, pinned Collins, O, :44; Orr, D, dec. Mayer, ALL, 4-0; Smilnak, H, pinned Seagraves, W, 2:45; Letko, WAR, dec. Shoup, CRAN, 8-4; 120–Stanley, CRAN, dec. Weaver, SC, 5-2; Burk, MC, dec. Gaugler, S, 7-5; Sweigart, J, dec. Dellaquilla, SM, 5-2; Chess, M, pinned Stevenson, D, 2:09; 126–Weaverling, SC, maj. dec. Williams, BR, 19-6; Laktash, BRAD, maj. dec. Yoder, SH, 10-0; Weaver, CM, pinned Madigan, WAR, 2:04; Digello, MCD, dec. Barr, C, 4-2; 132–Coppolo, B, pinned Cooper, W, 3:16; Lynch, CP, dec. Jacobson, ALL, 8-5 OT; Thompson, BRAD, pinned Northup, E, 1:55; Smith, P, pinned Carrick, MCD, 2:45; 138–Malcolm, JO, dec. Freeland, C, 6-3; Butterfield, MCD maj. dec. Cunningham, CAR, 16-5; Tettis, SM, pinned Miller, CM, 4:54; Tirpak, CP, pinned Schaeffer, O, 1:42; 145–Herzing, SM, dec. Farr, MCD, 3-1; Anderson, WAR, maj. dec. Burkey, H, 12-0; Mitchell, D, dec. Kline, C, 7-0; Porter, CM, pinned Lucas, ALL, 2:16.

152–Wittman, SM, pinned Swick, WAR, 1:47; McGonigal, C, pinned Onorato, MCD, 1:59; Galentine, CM, dec. Sempko, SH, 7-4; Sleeth, H, pinned Krun, CAR, 1:37; 160–Shoemaker, MC, dec. Arnold, WAR, 3-2; Blossey, CP, pinned Finnigan, CAR, :42; Wry, CRAN, pinned Falls, CM, :55; Crisp, SM, pinned Lewis, PER, 1:37; 170–Bobby, SM, dec. White, D, 18-15; Kovalick, C, pinned Zinger, WAR, :39; Ivicic, B, pinned Conley, CAR, 1:32; Bielak, MCD, pinned Bradbury, WEST, :25; 182–Hassinger, MC, pinned Petterson, MCD, 1:47; Allmond, A, pinned Risley, CM, :46; Allen, O, pinned Zattoni, C, 2:29; Miller, S, pinned Petrick, CAR, 1:23; 195–Price, SC, won by forfeit over M. Hattab, BR; Garthwaite, SM, maj. dec. Yeager, CRAN, 14-0; Woodrow, M, pinned Knoblach, CAR, 2:45; Krepps, MC, pinned Sroka, MCD, 3:57; 220–Lukaschunis, SM, pinned Hayes, WAR, 1:51; Sutliff, CM, pinned Hoovler, E, 1:46; Barton, CRAN, pinned Boose, A, 1:42; Crum, MC, won by foreit over H. Hattab, BR; 285–Campbell, CP, dec. Schoen, SC, 5-3; Sigler, E, maj. dec. O’Harah, D, 10-1; McCarl, CM, dec. Burns, CAR, 3-2; Crews, W, won by forfeit over Cottrell, O.


106–Serafini, CM, pinned Smith, J, 4:05; Sallott, MCD, dec. Davis, C, 4-3; 113–Johnson, MC, dec. Orr, D, 3-2; Smilnak, H, pinned Letko, WAR, 2:24; 120–Stanley, CRAN, dec. Burk, MC, 3-2; Chess, M, dec. Sweigart, J, 4-3; 126–Laktash, BRAD, pinned Weaverling, SC, 2:25; Weaver, CM, dec. Digello, MCD, 8-1; 132–Coppolo, B, dec. Lynch, CP, 8-2; Smith, P, pinned Thompson, BRAD, 2:06; 138–Butterfield, MCD, dec. Malcolm, JO, 5-3; Tirpak, CP, pinned Tettis, SM, :49; 145–Herzing, SM, tech. fall Anderson, WAR, 16-1, 3:37; Porter, CM, pinned Mitchell, D, 2:38.

152–McGonigal, C, won by forfeit over Wittman, SM; Sleeth, H, dec. Galentine, CM, 5-3; 160–Blossey, CP, dec. Shoemaker, MC, 2-1; Crisp, SM, maj. dec. Wry, CRAN, 15-1; 170–Kovalick, C, won by injury default over Bobby, SM, :56; Bielak, MCD, dec. Ivicic, B, 8-1; 182–Allmond, A, dec. Hassinger, MC, 5-2; Miller, S, dec. Allen, O, 8-4; 195–Price, SC, maj. dec. Garthwaite, SM, 10-1; Krepps, MC, dec. Woodrow, M, 9-2; 220–Lukaschunis, SM, dec. Sutliiff, CM, 7-6; Crum, MC, pinned Barton, CRAN, 1:12; 285–Sigler, E, dec. Campbell, CP, 3-2; Crews, W, dec. McCarl, CM, 3-0.


106–Nasdeo, W, dec. Serafini, CM, 3-2; Cunningham, SC, dec. Sallot, MCD, 7-2; 113–Stark, CP, won by injury default over Johnson, MC, 2:16; Rinella, M, pinned Smilnak, H, :55; 120–Crockett, CP, dec. Stanley, CRAN, 10-9; Butterfield, MCD, dec. Chess, M, 5-3 OT; 126–Finnegan, A, dec. Laktash, BRAD, 6-0; Weaver, CM, pinned Harris, W, 2:18; 132–Coppolo, B, pinned Dellaquilla, SM, :49; Woolcott, SC, pinned Smith, P, 4:19; 138–Leidy, SC, dec. Butterfield, MCD, 4-2; Everly, MC, dec. Tirpak, CP, 4-2; 145–Morrone, W, dec. Herzing, SM, 3-2; Kauffman, MC, pinned Porter, CM, 1:33.

152–McGonigal, C, maj.dec. Mahon, W, 13-2; Wagner, MC, maj. dec. Sleeth, H, 10-1; 160–Gulvas, D, dec. Blossey, CP, 6-2; Walls, H, dec. Crisp, SM, 6-5; 170–Kovalick, C, dec. Porter, CM, 4-3; Tidball, M, pinned Bielak, MCD, 2:10; 182–Starr, D, dec. Allmond, A, 4-0; Sunafrank, BRAD, pinned Miller, S, 2:09; 195–Price, SC, won by disqualification over Eddy, P, 4:43; Aument, S, dec. Krepps, MC, 4-3; 220–Barrier, B, pinned Lukaschunis, SM, 2:51; Young, SH, pinned Crum, MC, 3:37; 285–Manley, A, dec. Sigler, E, 4-2 UTB; Davis, MC, dec. Crews, W, 7-3.


106–Cunningham, SC, dec. Nasdeo, W, 3-0; 113–Rinella, M, maj. dec. Stark, CP, 13-1; 120–Crockett, CP, dec. Butterfield, MCD, 4-3; 126–Weaver, CM, dec. Finnegan, A, 5-4; 132–Woolcott, SC, dec. Coppolo, B, 1-0; 138–Leidy, SC, dec. Everly, MC, 5-0; 145–Kauffman, MC, dec. Morrone, W, 6-2.

152–McGonigal, C, dec. Wagner, MC, 5-2; 160–Walls, H, dec. Gulvas, D, 7-3; 170–Tidball, M, pinned Kovalick, C, 4:14; 182–Starr, D, dec. Sunafrank, BRAD, 6-2; 195–Aument, S, maj. dec. Price, SC, 11-2; 220–Young, SH, dec. Barrier, B, 9-4; 285–Davis, MC, dec. Manley, A, 9-2 OT TB.


106–Vandee, CP, dec. Allison, MC, 7-3; 113–Keen, CM, dec. O’Shea, B, 7-1; 120–Aikey, B, dec. Weaver, W, 5-0; 126–Swisher, B, maj. dec. Smith, CP, 17-4; 132–Sarbo, A, tech. fall Donahue, D, 20-4, 4:53; 138–Bower, W, dec. Jo, D, 1-0; 145–Johnson, CP, dec. Balestrini, SH, 3-2.

152–Scott, D, pinned McClorin, CP, 3:16; 160–Richner, B, maj. dec. Bastian, S, 9-1; 170–Kibe, MC, maj. dec. Urbas, SC, 10-2; 182–Rossman, B, dec. Buzzell, M, 7-0; 195–Miller, CM, pinned Benner, B, 2:20; 220–Crosby, CP, dec. Schon, S, 6-5 OT; 285–Pollard, M, dec. Billotte, C, 5-1 OT.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)


Starting at $4.39/week.

Subscribe Today