It’s that time of year again!
The two local northern Blair County high schools met on the mat at the Bellwood-Antis Middle School gym for their annual battle royal. The only problem is that Tyrone never lets the Blue Devils get much satisfaction. In fact, during the 28 years that these two adjacent school districts have wrestled each other in dual meets, the Golden Eagles have won all 28 times.
While there were more close matches than usual, the final score didn’t seem too much different that most of the preceding dual meets between the two schools. Tyrone (7-1) rode seven pins and a pair of forfeits to a 64-7 triumph that is their seventh straight win.
In what is almost a rarity these days with a different weight class picked to begin the dual meet before each outing, this one actually started at the 103-pound class, the lightest and ended with the 275-pound class-the heaviest.
If there had been any doubt about the victor, The Eagles ended the meet in fashion, getting pins from Brice Mertiff (160), James Updike (171), Donnie Conrad (189) and Terry Tate (275) and got their second forfeit for Heath Walk at 215.
Although to many, it may not look like it, Bellwood-Antis coach Ron Wilson will tell all who are willing to listen that B-A is slowly, but surely improving, trying to get their program back to former days when they won 10 or more matches for six straight years under the tutelage of head coach Darrell Claar, who started the wrestling program at Bellwood and is now a volunteer junior high coach.
In what was probably the most interesting match, The Eagles’ Robert Waite was able to hold off the Blue Devils’ Eli Colyer 16-10 at 119. When the match began there was just one loss between the two. Waite was 6-0 and Colyer was 6-1.
Waite took the first opening to strike for a takedown and put the B-A junior on his back for three back points. The two traded reversals and Colyer added an escape to trail 7-3 at the end of a period.
Colyer took the bottom position to begin and hit a reversal and three-point nearfall before the Tyrone junior added a reversal to escape the second period still up 9-8. Colyer picked up a penalty point to tie the score at the beginning of the third period. Waite again reversed Colyer taking a two-point advantage. Colyer escaped to slice the deficit to 11-10, but Waite got the final points, a takedown and nearfall at the end to win the exciting bout 16-10, not without a heck of a battle.
“I knew that Bellwood had a couple of tough kids there,” said Tyrone coach Blair Packer. “At 119, I will tell you that Colyer kid really showed me a few things. We got beat a couple of times on positioning. Robert was going for back points and got caught a couple of times. We need to clean that up. Then at 140, the Ervine kid is really tough to break out of position. He’s got a nice single leg, head inside to a headwheel finish.
“With the difference in the programs, we knew coming in, it was our match, but you have to be aware that you can’t take anyone for granted. I tell them this all the time-there’s always someone out there who can beat you. These Bellwood kids were scrappy tonight.”
Bellwood-Antis ninth grader Don Partner got things moving in the opening weight class at 103, when he took Anthony Romano down to register a 2-0 lead. Romano (2-3), also a freshman, reversed Partner (0-8) soon after and continued to add the points, leading 12-3 when he pinned his foe at the 2:53 mark to give the Eagles the early 6-0 lead.
At 112, T. J. Albright (10-3) picked up the first forfeit to extend Tyrone’s margin to 12-0.
Things started to get interesting through the rest of the weight classes up to 145, where Tyrone began to take the momentum and run away with the top half of the weight classes.
At 125, Brandon Beech (7-5) got the Blue Devils on the scoreboard, but ninth grader Shayne Tate (1-9) made sure he earned the 3-2 win. The two combatants went through the opening two minutes scoreless before Tate worked an escape to take a short-lived 1-0 lead. Beech, a junior countered with a takedown for a 2-1 lead, then escaped off an optional start to begin the third period for a 3-1 lead. Neither wrestler was able to get much done, although Beech was hit for his second stall by referee Jim Rivello to narrow the final score to a single digit.
Josh Hunter (6-6) took a 5-0 lead after the first stanza at 130, over Ricky Shawley (3-5), but Shawley made it interesting with an escape and takedown to cut the deficit to 5-3. Hunter controlled the rest of the match, however, to win 8-3 when a nearfall by Shawley was negated by a call for an illegal headlock.
David Miller (13-1) played take-em down and let-em up with Ronnie Wilson until the Tyrone senior got Wilson just where he wanted him for the fall in 1:32. Miller notched four takedowns in all and added three back points in the process at 135.
At 140, B-A junior Josh Ervine (7-4) completed the scoring for Bellwood-Antis with a 12-4 major decision over Sam McCloskey.
Ervine took the Tyrone senior down twice in the opening period, once in the middle stanza and then three times for good measure in the third period for the four-point team victory, while limiting McCloskey (5-7) to four escapes.
The Blue Devils got off to a good start at 145, when Dustin Harris (5-7) got the first takedown, but Jacob Smerekar (5-5) made him pay, reversing and pinning his opponent in 1:45
The Eagles’ Justin Schopp (4-7) majored B-A senior Ron Colyer (2-8) 9-0 at 152. Schopp opened the first period with a five-point move and kept rolling with an escape in the second stanza and nearfall in the third for the big win.
The finish was all Golden Eagle. Brice Mertiff (13-1) made Mike Ballard (0-1) his 12th first-period pin victim at 160. James Updike (6-5) moved over the .500 mark at 171, by decking Josh Hanna (1-5) in 3:03, while leading 12-3 at the time of the fall. Donnie Conrad (3-4) took just 1:17 to pin Caleb Stephens (0-5) at 189. Heath Walk improved to 12-2 with the second B-A forfeit at 215, and the biggest Eagle of all, Terry Tate (11-0) toyed with Brian Dougherty (0-5) recording two takedowns and two back points before registering the pin in 1:24 over his much lighter opponent.
Packer was impressed with the Blue Devils’ effort to stay off their backs and take the fight to the Eagles, despite their lack of talent and experience.
“That, I would say, is to Bellwood’s credit,” explained Packer. “We tell our kids that the ultimate is the pin and that’s what is going to make the difference. We can’t give them up and we have to get as many as we can.”
Albright (8th) and Tate (4th) placed at the State Tournament in Hershey last spring and Mertiff qualified for states as well.
B-A Coach Ron Wilson also gave Tyrone all the credit. “I want to give Tyrone all the kudos. They have a really strong wrestling team right now. They have three returning state qualifiers, they have some kids who have the potential to be state wrestlers at some point and a really strong program. They came here tonight and showed why they are one of the best Double-A teams in the region.
But, the flip side of that is that our kids went out and gave maximum effort. We are extremely pleased with what they accomplished tonight. Even though we were outmanned in a bunch of matches, we stayed the course and we kept after them. None of our kids backed off or shied away. Hopefully at some point in the future we will be at that same level.”
In the preliminary match, the Tyrone junior high wrestlers shelled Bellwood-Antis 66-27.
Doug Rudy (95), Nathan Kruis (105), Jeremy Barlett (115), Jordan Berry (145) J. P. VanAllman (155), Byron Sullins (165), A.J. Schopp (80) and Cody Weaver (85) pinned their opponents for the Little Eagles. Chase Weaver (75) and Nick Wilburn (185) won by forfeit and Josh Miller (110) and Shane Emigh (135) won decisions.
For the Little Blue Devils, Dustin Pruznak (130) and Cody Smith (210) won by fall, Kris Morder (250) won by forfeit and Trey Mock (100) Tyler McCracken (85) and Shane Noye (122) won by decision.
Tyrone 64 Bellwood-Antis 7
103 – Anthony Romano (T) pinned Don Partner 2:53
112 – T. J. Albright (T) won by forfeit
119 – Robert Waite (T) dec. Eli Colyer 16-10
125 – Brandon beech (BA) dec. Shayne Tate 3-2
130 – Josh Hunter (T) dec. Ricky Shawley 8-3
135 – David Miller (T) pinned Ronnie Wilson 1:32
140 – Josh Ervine (BA) maj. dec. Sam McCloskey 12-4
145 – Jacob Smerekar (T) pinned Dustin Harris 1:45
152 – Justin Schopp (T) dec. Ron Colyer 9-0
160 – Brice Mertiff (T) pinned Mike Ballard 0:14
171 – James Updike (T) pinned Josh Hanna 3:03
189 – Donnie Conrad (T) pinned Caleb Stephens 1:17
215 – Heath Walk (T) won by forfeit
275 – Terry Tate (T) pinned Brian Dougherty 1:24.
Liam Flynn (BA) pinned Andrew Hiller 4:29
Eric Sweet (T) maj. dec. Garret Wyland 13-5
Tyrone 66 Bellwood-Antis 27
95 – Doug Rudy (T) pinned Jeremy Isenberg 1:07
100 – Trey Mock (BA) dec. Matt Moore 9-6
105 – Nathan Kruis (T) pinned Ryan Wolfe 0:34
110 – Josh Miller (T) dec. Tim Collier 6-4
115 – Jeremy Barlett (T) pinned Kyle Shawley 2:47
122 – Shane Noye (BA) dec. Cody Smith 12-9
130 – Dustin Pruznak (BA) pinned Chris Decker 2:35
138 – Shane Emigh (T) dec. Nick Alley 4-1
145 – Jordan Berry (T) pinned Tyler Norris 1:00
155 – J. P. VanAllman (T) pinned Jerry Stouffer 0:54
165 – Byron Sullins (T) pinned Caleb Stephens 2:55
185 – Nick Wilburn (T) won by forfeit
210 – Cody Smith (BA) pinned J. D. Gardner 1:03
250 – Kris Morder (BA) won by forfeit
75 – Chase Weaver (T) won by forfeit
80 – A. J. Schopp (T) pinned Troy Weyant 0:29
85 – Tyler McCracken (BA) dec. Ben Smerekar 5-2
90 – Cody Weaver (T) pinned Kyle Davinsizer 1:24.
It’s that time of year again!