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2021 Mirror wrestling all-stars

Wrestlers and coaches in the Altoona Mirror coverage area were certainly presented with challenges during a delayed 2020-2021 regular season and an extended postseason.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were told to wrestle with masks and maintain social distancing off the mat. They had to accept no fans or limited attendance and qualify for regional tournaments by placing in the top two or three of their weights classes in their district tournaments.

They also had to be ready to shut everything down if someone on their team tested positive for the virus or if they were exposed to the virus by someone on an opposing team.

Many teams started the season very late. That included Glendale, which didn’t wrestle a match until Feb. 3. Viking star wrestler Brock McMillen and first-year coach Brian Storm waited patiently to start. In the end, their patience paid off.

McMillen went on to capture his third PIAA Class 2A state title, becoming only the eighth District 6 wrestler in history to win three times and only the second in the Mirror coverage area, joining Juniata Valley’s Garrett Scott (2003-2005). The Pitt recruit went 24-0 to become the first Glendale wrestler to go through the regular and postseason undefeated.

Storm picked up where his predecessor, Billy Dubler, left off and guided the Vikings to a 9-1 record and a runner-up finish at the District 6 Duals.

McMillen and Storm have been recognized as the best of the best of the area’s core teams in the 38th annual Mirror All-Star Team. McMillen has been named the Wrestler of the Year for the third time — an accomplishment only Scott achieved in area history.

Storm has been named the Mirror’s Co-Coach of the Year, sharing the honors with Tyrone’s Terry Tate. Tate turned around a struggling program, guiding the Golden Eagles to a combined 14 wins the last two seasons, before he resigned recently because of work commitments.

The first, second and honorable mention teams follow the order of the Mirror rankings, with some exceptions at deep weights.

106 pounds: Korry Walls, Tyrone: An honorable mention selection last season, the Golden Eagle sophomore made the first team after going 13-7, winning a Section 1 title, finishing third at the District 6 Tournament and taking sixth at the Southwest Regional.

Walls, who lost to Bald Eagle Area’s Lucas Fye, 1-0, in their regional fifth-place bout, was a win away from qualifying for the inaugural Western Super Regional and becoming a state qualifier.

113 pounds: Trent Hoover, Penn Cambria: Hoover showed his potential as a freshman by going 11-4, winning a Section 3 title and finishing as a runner-up at the District 6 Tournament.

Hoover knocked off Mount Union’s eventual state fifth-placer Bryce Beatty, 3-1, in the district semifinals. He was in a scoreless district finals bout with BEA’s eventual state fourth-placer Coen Bainey before he was pinned in 3:09.

120 pounds: Hunter Walk, Tyrone: This is the third first-team selection for the Golden Eagle senior, a three-time state qualifier who went 17-6 this season and 110-42 with 48 pins for his career. Walk captured a Section 1 title and finished second at the district tournament and Southwest Regional.

He lost by technical fall to Bishop McCort’s freshman sensation Mason Gibson in both finals, but he lasted almost 2 minutes longer in the second bout. Walk finished sixth at the Super Regional, fracturing his elbow in the fifth-place bout against Tussey Mountain’s Trevor Husick.

126 pounds: Ian Crouch, Central: An honorable mention pick last season, Crouch went 7-2 as a senior on a Central team that had COVID-19 issues. Crouch won a Section 3 title and took fourth at districts. He finished a four-year career with a 73-40 record.

132 pounds: Damion Finnegan, Altoona: The first of three Mountain Lions on the first team, Finnegan went 12-6 his senior season. A two-time second team selection, Finnegan went 76-44 in his four-year career.

138 pounds: Matt Sarbo, Altoona: Sarbo finished his high school career as one of the most accomplished Altoona wrestlers. He became the program’s third four-time District 6 champion and its first four-time Northwest Regional champion. His regional title made him a four-time state qualifier.

Sarbo’s career ended at the Super Regional, where he was in a brutal weight class with five other former state medalists vying to place in the top four. The Lock Haven University recruit went 10-3 with seven pins this season and 113-19 for his career. Sarbo, who had 55 career pins, is on the first team for the second time after being a second-teamer the last two years.

145 pounds: Reese Wood, Tyrone: One of the talented Tyrone newcomers, Wood went 15-4 with six pins his sophomore year. Wood won a Section 1 title and took third in the district tournament to qualify for the Southwest Regional.

152 pounds: Zeke Dubler, Glendale: Only a sophomore, Dubler makes the first team this year after going 11-5, winning a Section 3 title and taking second at the District 6 Tournament. This season, Dubler made the jump to 152 from 113, where he was a second team all-star with a 36-9 mark last season.

160 pounds: Campbell Walls, Hollidaysburg: A second-team selection as a junior, Walls makes the first team after going 16-6 with seven pins. He won his true second bout at the District 6 Class 3A Tournament by avenging a loss to Central Mountain’s Damien Galentine, 4-3. Walls, who was 68-29 for his career, was a state qualifier as a junior.

160 pounds: Andrew McMonagle, Central: McMonagle was 8-7, but he hit his stride as a promising freshman in the postseason. He won a Section 3 title, took third in the District 6 Class 2A tournament and became a state qualifier by placing fifth at the Southwest Regional. Two of McMonagle’s losses were to Burrell state champ A.J. Corrado by a combined three points, 4-3 and 3-1.

172 pounds: Suds Dubler, Glendale: Suds joins his brother Zeke on the first team after going 15-5 as a junior, winning a Section 3 title, finishing second at the district tournament and placing third at the Southwest Regional to become a state qualifier for the second time.

Like his brother, Suds made a big jump in weight from 126 to 172. A two-time second-teamer, he has a career record of 87-29 and 46 pins in three years.

189 pounds: Ian Eckenrode, Cambria Heights: The laid-back Highlander senior returns for the first team after going 19-5 with nine pins and placing seventh at the PIAA Class 2A Championships. Eckenrode won a Section 3 title and a district title.

He placed third at the Southwest Regional and took fourth at the Western Super Regional to become only the second Mirror coverage area wrestler to reach Hershey this season. His jaw-dropping late pin of Quaker Valley’s Patrick Cutchember with an elevator from the bottom position at the Super Regional was one of the highlights of the postseason.

Eckenrode, a future computer science major who likely won’t wrestle in college, had an 81-27 career record.

215 pounds: Zach Weakland, Cambria Heights: Probably the strongest of the first team all-stars, Weakland is being recognized after going 10-2 with seven pins and winning a Section 3 title. The Highlanders senior went 68-39 with 38 pins in his career.

285 pounds: Trevor Manley, Altoona: The Mountain Lion senior is on the first team for the first time after going 14-6 and winning a District 6 Class 3A title with a 3-1 overtime win over State College’s Harrison Schoen. Manley went 2-1, including a 13-second pin, and placed third at the Northwest Regional, coming up a win shy of qualifying for the Super Regional. He was an honorable mention pick last season.

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