Saturday, May 15, 2021

Bellefonte loses nailbiter against Williamsport in PIAA quarterfinals

BELLEFONTE — After winning two close matches to capture the District 6 Class 3A Duals title the week before, Bellefonte found itself in another nailbiter against Williamsport in the PIAA Duals quarterfinals on March 24 at home.

In the end, though, the Red Raiders couldn’t pull off another close win as they fell to the Millionaires by a point, 33-32.

With the loss, the Raiders finished the season with a 15-1 record. Williamsport (12-8) went on to place fourth in the PIAA Duals, losing to eventual champ Waynesburg, 50-13, in the semifinals and to Spring-Ford, 36-32, in the third-place match.

The Red Raiders actually won seven of the 13 bouts, but the Millionaires picked up bonus points in all six of their wins.

“It’s certainly a tough loss,” Bellefonte coach Mike Maney said. “You come up one point short. I’m certainly not dissatisfied with the guys’ efforts. You look at numerous weights where we could have scored some points and weight classes where we couldn’t have given up as many team points.

“But we’re grateful for what we’ve all been able to accomplish and the opportunities we had this year. We’ll be able to enjoy it more in the future, but it was definitely a tough loss.”

Max Barrier (189) and state tournament seventh-placer Ethan Richner (160) had the only pins for the Red Raiders. Barrier’s came in 15 seconds, while Richner finished off the dual meet with a fall in 38 seconds.

Sophomore Addison Shawley, who was the hero in the District 6 Duals at 285, went at 215 and earned a 13-4 major decision over Charlie Lundy.

“I know that he was looking to get more than a major,” Maney said.

“In the team postseason, he had two big wins for and continued with a solid performance. I’m certainly proud of his effort.”

Ethan Rossman, a state fourth-placer at 189, moved up to 285 and earned a 2-0 win over Charles Crews.

Aidan O’Shea (113) rolled to a 15-0 technical fall in 5:27, and Lane Aikey (120) nearly won by technical fall, picking up a 14-0 major decision over Devin Harris. That gave the Red Raiders a 22-10 lead.

“We were expecting to get bonus points there,” Maney said of 120.

“All we needed was one more point (for a technical fall). It wasn’t for lack of effort. Unfortunately it will be his last match as a senior. He’s part of a group we’re going to miss. I was happy he was able to go out on top.”

Williamsport recorded a pin and a technical fall in the next two weights to draw to within one, 22-21. Bellefonte junior Jude Swisher, a state third-placer, slowed the visiting team’s momentum a bit with a 9-1 major decision over Carter Weaver at 138.

“Swisher seems to get better every match,” Maney said. “Weaver is a really good kid. He was in the regional finals last year and advanced pretty far this year. Swisher continued to apply the pressure and demonstrate why he’s one of the state’s best.”

But two straight pins by Williamsport’s Riley Bower and Roman Morrone sealed its dual meet win.

Maney will have to fill some holes next season after the senior class of Richner, Rossman, Aikey, Barrier, Dylan Dann, Seven Ivicic and Nathan Smith graduate.

“We’re certainly going to be sad to see this senior class go,” he said.

“Their legacy hopefully will be that they set a standard for the underclassmen. Last spring was certainly a unique one with opportunities being very limited with COVID. Hopefully this spring and summer we have more opportunities, whether it’s team camp or weight training. I just want the kids to be active and keep working toward those goals. One of our mottos is you either get better or worse. You don’t stay the same. We want to find ways to get better this offseason.”

KING OF THE KEYSTONE

Swisher, Rossman, State College’s Lance Urbas and St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy’s Zack Witmer and Amonn Ohl all wrestled in the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club’s King of the Keystone event on Sunday night at C3 Sports & Event Center in State College.

The fun event pitted Class 3A wrestlers against Class 2A wrestlers, including underclassmen. It was live-streamed by Rokfin.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Maney said before wrestling started.

“We’re trying to grow the sport, and I think it gives individuals a chance to showcase themselves. I think at times we take for granted the talent we have in this area.”

Swisher, Rossman and Urbas earned wins – all decisions. Witmer and Ohl lost by decision.

Swisher, a junior, defeated Burrell’s Class 2A two-time runner-up Ian Oswalt, 1-0, at 141 pounds. After an active first period, Swisher escaped in the second period.

Swisher rode the entire third period and hung on as Oswalt, a Brown recruit, tried to escape with a late roll.

Urbas, a senior who took fourth at states, earned a 7-4 win over Saucon Valley Class 2A fourth-placer Jake Jones at

176. The Penn recruit notched two takedowns in the first two periods before Jones scored two takedowns in the third period.

Rossman, a senior bound for Lock Haven University, captured a 3-1 win over Southern Columbia’s Class 2A fourth-placer Wesley Barnes at 189.

The bout was scoreless going into the third, where Rossman escaped and got a takedown at the edge of the mat with 26 seconds left. He defended a shot from Barnes, a sophomore, as time expired.

Witmer dropped a 6-2 decision to Hempfield’s Class 3A state champion Briar Priest at 140. Priest, a junior, notched two takedowns and a reversal to beat Witmer, a Columbia University commit.

Ohl lost to Chartiers Valley’s Class 3A fourth-placer Dylan Evans, 8-3. Evans, an impressive sophomore, broke open a 2-2 bout in the third by taking Ohl down to his back for a four-point move.

The Class 3A wrestlers won six of the 11 bouts. There were also two featured bouts at the end, with Bishop McCourt’s Erik Gibson, who was ruled ineligible for the postseason and Mount Pleasant’s Dayton Pitzer earning wins.