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Lions use their six wins wisely against rivals

By John Hartsock

jhartsock@altoonamirror.com

Altoona’s annual wrestling dual meet with neighboring Hollidaysburg is usually hard-fought and competitive, and Wednesday night’s matchup between the two schools at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse proved to be no exception.

In the 11 bouts that were contested, Altoona won six, and Hollidaysburg took five, but the Mountain Lions benefited from forfeit wins at 152 and 160 pounds to log a 40-23 victory in a match that was much closer than the final score would indicate.

“It was a very competitive match,” Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. “You know that it’s a rivalry, and Hollidaysburg came to wrestle tonight. Both teams wrestled decently.”

Mountain Lions senior George Boutiller, who started the match with a 12-0 major decision over Hollidaysburg freshman Jacob Brua at 132 pounds, said that Altoona seems to kick things into a second gear against Hollidaysburg.

“Hollidaysburg and Altoona is a big rivalry, and we definitely seem to go a little harder against them,” said Boutiller, who rode three near-fall sequences to a total of eight points in his bout. “We feel like we have something to prove against them.”

The Mountain Lions (7-8 in duals) got falls from seniors Will Young at 145, Connor Reimer at 189, and Luke Hileman at 113.

Young pinned Hollidaysburg freshman Quentin Ritchey in 92 seconds, while Reimer clamped sophomore Luke Onkst in 3:43 and Hileman needed only 23 seconds to pin freshman Bryce Conway.

The forfeits to Altoona freshman Luke Sipes at 152 and junior Zach Reimer at 160 were pivotal in the Mountain Lions building a 28-9 lead midway through the bout.

“We’re young, and our kids are learning,” said Hollidaysburg coach Christian Harr, whose starting lineup Wednesday included six freshmen and three sophomores. “I thought our effort level tonight was pretty high against a talented Altoona squad.

“I can’t complain,” added Harr, whose Tigers dropped to 3-7 in dual meets. “We haven’t had anybody at 152 and 160 this year. We were giving away those two weight classes tonight, or we would have had a chance to win this match.”

As it was, Hollidaysburg acquitted itself quite admirably. Freshman Mitchell Baronner rode three takedowns and a reversal to a 10-5 decision over sophomore Wyatt Young at 138 pounds, and senior Aaron Sleeth pinned senior Eli Houser in 3:12 at 172.

Other winners for the Golden Tigers included senior Nick Eppihimer, who pounded out an 11-2 major decision over junior Alex Yost at 215 on the strength of three takedowns and a 3-point near fall, Carson Krupka, who pinned Nick Irwin in 2:45 in a battle of freshmen at 106, and sophomore Noah Horne, who majored junior Eli Wisor, 16-7 at 120.

Other Altoona winners were junior Michael Riccio, whose reversal and escape in the second period produced a 3-2 decision over sophomore Rally Hoover at 285, and senior Jordan Carlucci, who closed the match with a 6-0 decision over freshman Mason Schenk at 126.

Both teams will be in action Saturday at the Fieldhouse, when Altoona hosts the Big Seven Conference Tournament that also involves State College, Bald Eagle Area, Bellefonte, Jersey Shore, and Shikellamy.

“We haven’t been able to practice since last Friday because of the weather, so we were a little flat,” Gilbert said. “We got a few forfeits tonight, and the bonus points that we picked up in matches really helped us.”

132—Boutiller, A, major dec. J. Brua, 12-0. 138–Baronner, H, dec. Wyatt Young, 10-5. 145–Will Young, A, pinned Ritchey, 1:32. 152–Sipes, A, won by forfeit. 160–Z. Reimer, A, won by forfeit. 172–Sleeth, H, pinned Houser, 3:12. 189–C. Reimer, A, pinned Onkst, 3:43.

215–Eppihimer, H, maj. dec. Yost, 11-2. 285–Michael Riccio, A, dec. Hoover, 3-2. 106–Krupka, H, pinned Irwin, 2:45. 113–Hileman, A, pinned Conway, :23. 120–Horne, H, maj. dec. Wisor, 16-7. 126–Carlucci, A, dec. Schenck, 6-0.

Records: Hollidaysburg (3-7), Altoona (7-8).

Official: Jim Weston.

Exhibition matches: Matthew Riccio and Evan Boose, A, both won by fall; James Bialo, H, won by fall.

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