By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
ATHENS - Wyalusing picked up a pair of close decisions early, and they proved pivotal in a 38-33 win by fall over Athens here Friday night in NTL wrestling action.
With the win, the Rams deny the Wildcats their first outright NTL title since 1994-95, and also claim a share of the league crown, along with Athens and Troy. It's Athens' first title share since 2004-05, and Troy's first since 2008-09. Wyalusing won the league title last year.
The Wildcats have had eight wrestlers graduate within the last four years with 100 or more career wins, and did not win a league title during their varsity careers. That fact was not lost on Athens coach Shawn Bradley.
"We've had some hammers," said Bradley. "We had eight or nine kids with 100 wins and we couldn't win an NTL title.
"And these kids came out and did it this year," noted Bradley. "This is a young team. Since the beginning of the year, they have gotten better by leaps-and-bounds.
"They have worked hard, hats off to these kids," added Bradley. "I believe the next couple years is going to be really fun with this group."
Wyalusing won the coin flip, but Bradley said it had little impact on the match.
"The coin flip is usually big, but tonight it didn't really effect anything at all," he said. "Wyalusing had moves they made that we couldn't do anything about, and we had moves we made they couldn't anything about."
Freshman Gavin Bradley got the Wildcats started on the right foot at 113 pounds with a 20-5 technical fall over Wyalusing's Hunter Manahan.
Bradley led 2-0 on a reversal after the first period, then registered three takedowns and three near-fall points for an 11-2 lead after the second period.
A quick reversal and three more takedowns, with a penalty point against Manahan mixed in, ended the bout with 17 seconds remaining in the third period.
Wyalusing responded quickly with a 47-second fall by Jacob Bryun at 120 pounds. It was the first of five straight wins for the Rams, who built a 27-3 lead.
The only match in that span to go the distance was Nicholas Woodruff's 7-6 decision over Athens freshman Karter Rude.
Woodruff scored a five-point move on a standing cradle, and had Rude on his back for more than a minute. Rude, however, dominated the remainder of the bout. Three times in the final minute, Rude got in on a double-leg, but Woodruff was able to stave off all three attempts to hold on for the win.
Sophomore Zach Stafursky ended the Wyalusing run with a wild win over Dylan Whipple at 152 pounds.
Stafursky scored an early five-point move, and led 5-2 after the first period. He registered another five-point move in the second quarter and led 10-2 entering the third period, but had to fight off his back to finish off Whipple via fall at 5:08 to trim Wyalusing's lead to 27-11.
At 160 pounds, Wyalusing Trent Nickeson, who missed most of the season with an injury, built a 5-0 lead early in the third period on Athens junior Alex West, then held on for an 8-6 decision to give Wyalusing a 30-11 lead.
Bradley agreed the losses at 126 and 160 were critical.
"Karter (Rude) got down early, and came back. He'll get that kid at Sectionals," he said. "And, Alex (West) lost a tough one.
"The kids wrestle hard tongiht, they came after it," added Bradley. "It just wasn't meant to be."
Wyalusing, which received a forfeit at 138 pounds, issued forfeits to freshman Colin Whitmarsh at 170 pounds and senior David Galasso at 182 pounds.
At 195 pounds, Athens junior Dylan Comstock scored a pair of takedowns early, and turned the second one into a fall at 1:34 to close the gap to 30-29.
At 220 pounds, Wyalusing's Jackson Chilson forged a 14-4 major decision over Athens sophomore Ben Pernaselli, then Wyalusing's 285-pounder Randy Wildrick topped Athens junior Keegan Braund in a 9-1 major decision to give the Rams an insurmountable 37-29 lead.
"Chilson and Wildrick are studs," said Bradley. "Ben (Pernaselli) was hurt last time we wrestled them, so we couldn't bump up. We did it tonight, and Ben did a great job out there.
"And, Keegan wrestled much better this time around against Wildrick," added Bradley.
Athens freshman Kaden Setzer finished off the night with an 18-5 major decision over Alex Boyd at 106 pounds. Setzer scored three takedowns and three near-fall points in the first period to build a 9-2 lead.
Setzer led 12-2 after two periods, then scored three more takedowns in the third period, but Boyd was able to fend off his takedown attempts in the final 30 seconds to avoid the technical fall.
Athens returns to action next Saturday at the District 4, North Section Championships.
IN PHOTOS 1-5: Athens' Gavin Bradley. IN PHOTOS 6-7: Athens' Karter Rude. IN PHOTOS 8-10: Athens' Collin Martin. IN PHOTOS 11-12: Athens' Zach Stafursky. IN PHOTOS 13-15: Athens' Alex West. IN PHOTOS 16-17: Athens' Dylan Comstock. IN PHOTO 18: Athens' Ben Pernaselli. IN PHOTO 19: Athens' Keegan Braund. IN PHOTOS 20-23: Athens' Kaden Setzer. ... PHOTOS BY TIM BIRNEY.
WYALUSING 38, ATHENS 33
113: Gavin Bradley (A) tech. fall Hunter Manahan (W), 20-5 @ 5:43;
120: Jacob Bryun (W) by fall over Gavin McGrath (A), 0:47;
126: Nicholas Woodruff (W) dec. Karter Rude (A), 7-6;
132: Skyler Manahan (W) by fall over Lucas Forbes (A), 5:07;
138: Logan Newton (W) won by forfeit;
145: Zachary Shaffer (W) by fall over Collin Martin (A), 3:18;
152: Zach Stafursky (A) by fall over Dylan Whipple (W), 5:08;
160: Trent Nickeson (W) dec. Alex West (A), 8-6;
170: Cameron Whitmarsh (A) won by forfeit;
182: David Galasso (A) won by forfeit;
195: Dylan Comstock (A) by fall over Shane Malinowski (W), 1:39;
220: Jackson Chilson (W) major dec. Ben Pernaselli (A), 14-4;
285: Randy Wildrick (W) major dec. Keegan Braund (A), 9-1;
106: Kaden Setzer (A) major dec. Alexander Boyd (W), 18-5.
Print Friendly Version