6 Trojans alive for Day 2
ALTOONA — For as rough as things went at the beginning of the day on Friday, the Mount Union wrestling team showed some guts, fighting through consolations to send six wrestlers into Day 2 at the District 6 Class 2A championships in Altoona.
No. 2 ranked Jake Ryan (220) — according to the PA Power Rankings — asserted his dominance, making quick work of both of his opponents to be the only remaining Trojan in the championship bracket while Peirson Price (106), Bryce Beatty (113), Caden Chilcote (120), Will Harkleroad (182) and Clayton Arnold (195) are alive in the consolation bracket.
Ryan pinned Marion Center’s Dan Smith in 29 seconds in the Round of 16 and then pinned Austin Wagner in 1:02 to advance to Saturday.
“That’s my mentality first of all,” Ryan said. “I’m an offensive wrestler. I love to be aggressive. I feel like wrestling is the closest thing you can get to a fist fight and I think that’s why I love it so much. It doesn’t hurt to win and to pin both kids. It’s expected from me, but I still get excited and I’m ready to wrestle tomorrow.”
Beatty entered as the No. 2 seed at 113 pounds with a record of 29-3, but he was stunned as he attempted to get a takedown, trailing 3-2 in the final seconds against Zach Brandis of Central Cambria but the buzzer sounded, forcing Beatty into the consolation bracket.
“We still have six guys left and it definitely could’ve been worse,” Trojans coach Corey Wertz said. “It was tough having Bryce get upset, but you have to be able to deal with adversity at this point. There’s only one champion at every weight. This may not be the path that Bryce wanted but it’s the path in front of him and he’s going to have to battle through it.”
Mount Union was also without its star 126-pounder Kevin Morehouse, who entered as the sixth seed at his weight class. Morehouse didn’t wrestle because he was struggling with his weight and wasn’t feeling well, according to Wertz.
The Trojans began the day with Deegan Rittenhouse (138) dropping a tight 6-5 decision to Josh Joseph of United after Joseph built a 6-2 lead behind a takedown and two reversals. Rittenhouse scored a reversal with 1:22 left in the third and locked up a cradle for a three-point near fall but time expired before he could secure the pin.
Rittenhouse defeated Tyler Hess of Central Columbia 6-2 in the second round of consolations before bowing out after being pinned by Chandler Lauer of Huntingdon.
Jayce Reck (152) fell to Aiden Cattau 7-5 in the opening round after Cattau finished strong with two takedowns in the final period. Reck escaped with 1:25 left but Cattau’s second takedown killed Reck’s momentum in the final minute. Hayes Jones of West Branch defeated Connor Sieber (160) by fall in the opening round.
The lone victory for the Trojans in the opening round came from Harkleroad at 182, as the sophomore tripped Southern Huntingdon’s Breydan Whisler and threw him to the mat as Harkleroad finished the move for a fall in 1:18.
“I came out here expecting to wrestle and have fun,” Harkleroad said. “I wasn’t necessarily going for pins, but I was just trying to win. I had the pin in the first match and I felt confident in the consolations. I feel pretty good and I’m having fun.”
Chilcote avenged a 13-2 loss to Austyn Syfert of Richland with a powerful showing against ICC rival Mason St. Clair of Glendale, as Chilcote used a first-period takedown and recovered from a St. Clair reversal in the second period with an immediate reversal of his own, leading to a fall at the 2:05 mark.
Chilcote had been cutting weight throughout the day and was lacking energy, but the fall pushed him into the fourth round of consolations.
“I was pretty tired in my first match,” Chilcote said. “I had been cutting weight and trying to keep my energy up. I thought that I could still come back after my first match and still win. I did pretty bad my first match, so it was good to come back and wrestle hard.”
Reck picked up a 6-2 decision over Ty Stockley of Cambria but fell to Penn Cambria’s Braden Phister in a 13-6 decision in the third round of consolations. Seiber went 0-2 on the day, as he was eliminated after suffering a 12-3 major decision from Brayden DiPaola of Richland.
The Trojans hope to rise to the challenge to put as many wrestlers as they can into the Top 6
to advance into regionals.
“We need to push guys into the Top 6 and then reset next week,” Wertz said. “We battled for the most part. We have a couple young guys that are still alive. I think these challenges determine whether or not they have that toughness. Tomorrow is a new test. It’s going to be gritty and it will be about who wants it more.”
Ryan will be vying for his second-consecutive District 6 championship after winning at heavyweight last season, Ryan hopes to add a title at 220 this season.
“I feel like I’m in the best shape that I’ve been in in my entire high school wrestling career,” Ryan said. “I feel like this is the year where I’m meant to things. I’ve been putting a lot of work in and I just hope that it pays off.”