Trojans stopped in D6
TYRONE – Most wrestling coaches will tell you that if their individual wrestlers or the team meets or exceeds its seeded position, for the most part they will be satisfied.
Entering the District 6 Class AA team wrestling championships, Mount Union was seeded third and that is exactly where the Trojans finished.
In its semifinal pairing with West Branch, Mount Union came close, but did not advance to the finals as the Trojans dropped a 34-29 meet to the Warriors.
The Trojans and Warriors split the first six bouts of the meet, but with bonus points, West Branch held a 4-point lead at 14-10.
“That put us down, but we battled back,” Mount Union coach Corey Wertz said. “We started to chip away and we were able to eventually tie it. We battled and I thought we fought hard in that match. They beat us a lot worst the first time, but this time, we were tied at 26 with three matches to go.”
But then came the crushing blow to the Trojans’ hopes as they lost a bout by fall and had to forfeit another one to fall behind 26-10.
Not to run away and hide, the Trojans not only won the next three bouts, but did so in dominating fashion as they picked up falls by Sage Moist (120) and Robbie Steel (132) sandwiched around a major decision from Jake Boozel (126).
“Sage came through with a pin, Robbie had a big pin and Jake had a nice major,” Wertz said. “They really brought us back, but we just ran out of steam.”
With the three bonus point wins, the two teams were deadlocked at 26-all with three bouts left on the card.
Still within striking distance, the Trojans saw their hopes of the upset fade away as the Warriors came up with back-to-back major decisions for a 34-26 lead before Dylan Smith set the final by handling Clayton Green for an 11-6 decision.
“They are a good team with quality kids,” Wertz said. “What we needed was for a couple of our guys to step up, but we just came up a little short. We had the matchups we wanted, but we just couldn’t make it happen.”
On the heels of the frustrating loss to the Warriors, the Trojans quickly regrouped and the result was a 60-14 pounding of Westmont Hilltop in the consolation match.
“I brought the guys together before we wrestled and I told them, hey, we aren’t going out of here with two losses today,” Wertz said. “Let’s go out with guns blazing and go home 1-1. I am proud of them because they battled hard today.”
Devon Kylor started the assault on the Hilltoppers with a 19-4 technical fall at 170, and following a major decision by Westmont’s Colin Barron, the Trojans reeled off falls by Philip Kyle, Darrian Stapleton, Nik Smith and Bryton Stidfole for a 29-4 lead and they never looked back.
After a forfeit awarded to the Warriors, Moist again started the Trojans on offense with an 8-0 major decision, the 100th victory for Moist in his career.
Getting back to business, Boozel, Andrew Tress, Tyler Long and Smith each recorded a fall to complete the Mount Union scoring.
Mount Union travels to Central Cambria Tuesday. The Trojans must also prepare for the District 6 individual tournament Feb. 14-15 in Altoona.