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Juniata tops CMVT, falls to Altoona

Sentinel photo by WILLIAM WHISLER
TOP: Juniata’s Taylor Smith, right, fights to free himself from the grip of CMVT’s Coleston Eckenroth.

MIFFLINTOWN — The Juniata High School wrestling team flexed its muscles early in its season opening match against Columbia Montour Vo-Tech (CMVT) but struggled to keep pace with a talented Altoona program on Saturday inside the Indians’ gym, going 1-1 on the day in a non-conference tri-meet.

Juniata’s Casey Smith (106), Taylor Smith (113/120) and Jonathan Kauffman (215/285) all went 2-0 on the day while Cameron Sweigart (132), Tye Jabs (138) Josh Bomberger (152) and Dominik Rowles (189) finished 1-1.

Taylor Smith pulled off an impressive victory over CMVT’s Coleston Eckenroth, picking up a 5-2 decision, breaking a 2-2 tie with three back points in the third period.

“I think probably the biggest match on the day came from Taylor Smith,” Juniata co-coach Adam Barrick said. “We bumped him up against CMVT to wrestle a pretty good kid who was a sectional place-winner and their coaches said that he is the best wrestler on their team. Taylor was able to bump up, which is hard to start with and to get a win, so that was a big match for us.”

Casey Smith and Sweigart, who each advanced to the Class 3A Northwest Regional a season ago, put together strong performances to open the 2021 season. Smith stuck Altoona’s Dillon Degennaro in 39 seconds and scored a 9-0 major decision over CMVT’s Brady Moyer.

Sentinel photo
WILLIAM WHISLER Juniata’s Josh Bomberger dropped a tough 9-3 decision to Altoona’s Adam Zerbee.

Sweigart went 1-1, collecting a fall and dropping a hard 9-5 decision to Damion Finnigan. Finnigan took an early lead before three escapes from Sweigart pushed the deficit to 8-3 through two periods. Finnigan took bottom to start the third and escaped, before Sweigart reversed him, although he was unable to squeak out the points for the victory.

“I think that they both had a good start,” Barrick said. “Cam dropped that second match but he went up a weight-class to wrestle a kid who was a match away from being in the state tournament (last year) so that’s a loss where we needed to go up and get that match for him to be ready in that situation at the end of the year. I think they wrestled great. Cam stayed aggressive in the loss and now we have some things to work with.”

Juniata co-coach Jared Dressler shared the sentiment.

“Win or lose in those first two matches, they both showed a lot of the things that we had been working with them on in the mat room,” Dressler said. “Those are two of the guys that will take it back to the club and actually turn it into a positive and improve on whatever they saw differently out there.”

The Indians defeated CMVT 41-6 as bonus points helped Juniata post a dominant finish. Juniata’s Tye Jabs (138) scored an impressive 15-3 major decision over CMVT’s Jackson Reed while Josh Bomberger (152) stuck CMVT’s Kaleb Henrie in just 17 seconds.

Altoona posed a much tougher task as the Indians fell, 51-18, with Casey Smith, Taylor Smith and Jonathan Kauffman all picking up falls in the victory.

“I think as far as the first match, they went out there believing that they were going to get the job done,” Barrick said. “Altoona was a team that we hadn’t wrestled before and they weren’t as familiar with. Every time you step out on the mat you have to believe that you are going to win. There was a little bit of doubt in their minds and you could see that with people not being as aggressive as they should have been and get to their offense as quickly as they should.”

With a team with just a pair of seniors, the Indians still have a lot of room to grow as the season goes on and wrestlers gain experience through matches.

“We are still a young team that is only wrestling with two seniors this year,” Dressler said. “It’s a relatively young team and a lot of guys had their first year on varsity last year. We are still getting over those upper-team jitters and once we get to that point and have guys believe more in themselves and their abilities, I think that we will be able to be more successful.”

Overall, the coaches are pleased with where Juniata stands at the beginning of the season. The Indians begin a long road stretch and won’t return home until it hosts a tri-meet with Halifax and Selinsgrove on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in its regular season finale.

“I think that we are happy with where are at,” Barrick said. “We would’ve liked to talk home a little bit more individual wins in that last match but we have a lot we can build on and there is a lot of practice left. The big thing now that we are into matches we can see what kids can improve on and what they are doing wrong and make the little adjustments that win you those matches where you don’t also see those things in the mat room wrestling the same guy every day.”

Juniata Hs (JUHS) 41.0 Columbia Montour Vo-Tech (CMA) 6.0

106: Casey Smith (JUHS) over Brady Moyer (CMA) (MD 9-0) 113: Double Forfeit 120: Taylor Smith (JUHS) over Coleton Eckroth (CMA) (Dec 5-2) 126: Noah Moyer (CMA) over Jacob Gilson (JUHS) (Fall 1:15) 132: Cameron Sweigart (JUHS) over Hunter Thomas (CMA) (Fall 1:20) 138: Tye Jabs (JUHS) over Jackson Reed (CMA) (MD 15-3) 145: Double Forfeit 152: Josh Bomberger (JUHS) over Kaleb Henrie (CMA) (Fall 0:17) 160: Noe Montesinos (JUHS) over (CMA) (For.) 172: Double Forfeit 189: Dominik Rowles (JUHS) over (CMA) (For.) 215: Double Forfeit 285: Jonathan Kauffman (JUHS) over Broddrick Mayernick (CMA) (Fall 0:32)

Altoona Area Hs (AAH) 51.0 Juniata Hs (JUHS) 18.0

120: Jordan Carlucci (AAH) over (JUHS) (For.) 126: Caleb Fasick (AAH) over Jacob Gilson (JUHS) (Fall 1:43) 132: Damion Finnigan (AAH) over Cameron Sweigart (JUHS) (Dec 9-5) 138: Wyatt Young (AAH) over Tye Jabs (JUHS) (Dec 11-7) 145: Zach Reimer (AAH) over (JUHS) (For.) 152: Adam Zerbee (AAH) over Josh Bomberger (JUHS) (Dec 9-3) 160: Graham Black (AAH) over (JUHS) (For.) 172: Austin Kravetz (AAH) over (JUHS) (For.) 189: Colin Allmond (AAH) over Dominik Rowles (JUHS) (Fall 3:25) 215: Jonathan Kauffman (JUHS) over Connor Reimer (AAH) (Fall 1:40) 285: Trevor Manley (AAH) over (JUHS) (For.) 106: Casey Smith (JUHS) over Dillon Degennaro (AAH) (Fall 0:39) 113: Taylor Smith (JUHS) over Eli Wisor (AAH) (Fall 1:27).

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