Conrad pulls off pin in final weight to help Golden Eagles post win on Senior Night

It’s been a while since Donnie Conrad had to get out his red cape and shirt with a big “S” on the front. As a sophomore, during the District Team Dual Championships, Donnie won all three of his matches on that long Saturday afternoon. Two of the three were victories that the Golden Eagles needed to win, including a 10-6 win that capped Tyrone’s second straight team championship over Forest Hills.
Now, two years later, Conrad was asked to step forward again on the Eagles’ Senior Night against an Altoona squad that is far improved over the team that just a year ago was suffering through a 30 plus match losing streak. Altoona was leading 29-25 with only the 189-pound weight class to wrestle. A quick check showed that Conrad needed a tech fall, or pin. A four-team point win with a major decision would have resulted in a tie and Altoona had the best of Criteria B-seven match wins to six.
Conrad (18-10) started strong with two first-period takedowns and a 4-1 lead over Altoona junior Zac Bulow. Conrad reversed Bulow to his back midway through the second period and it looked like referee Dick Wood was going to slap the mat for the pin. Instead, Wood stopped the action, awarded Conrad three nearfall points and Bulow one penalty point, because a Conrad headlock, which had started out legal, had switched to illegal. Having to do it again, with both wrestlers on their feet, Donnie used a fireman’s carry to register a takedown and then switched to a cradle to put Bulow on his back for the pin that gave Tyrone the 31-29 win, as the crowd went wild on Senior Night.
“I knew I had to get a fall for the team, after giving away the forfeit (140). I knew I had to go out there and do my job, just like everyone else knew they had to do their job,” said Conrad following the dual meet. I had a nearside cradle (for the fall). At first, I was kind of excited, I heard the crowd going crazy and then I saw the ref giving Altoona one point for an illegal headlock, and I thought, I have to go out there and do it again.”
“The seniors all did real well tonight, this is Senior Night,” explained Tyrone coach Blair Packer. “Even where we didn’t win, the seniors did a good job in not giving up bonus points, which was a key to winning this match.”
With the dual meet starting at the 215-pound weight class, Tyrone senior Brady Williams (8-9) repeated a fall over Tyler Frederick at the Zeigler Tournament with a pin at the 1:34 mark in the Tyrone gym to give the Eagles the early 6-0 lead. At the tournament, Williams recorded a fall in 0:45 over Frederick to win the fifth place consolation final.
At 285, senior Brandon Oswalt wrestled on even terms with All-State football lineman Brant Clouser for better than half the match, before Clouser, leading 2-0 caught Oswalt (2-8) on his back for a pin in 3:44 to knot the score at 6-6.
Packer moved sensational 103-pound freshman A. J. Schopp up to 112, where Schopp (28-2) worked a takedown clinic on Vince McCracken, taking McCracken down five times, before getting the right position for a pin, A. J.’s 15th fall of the season, in 2:33.
The Potts brothers, Josh and Brandon won the next two weights to push Altoona into a 14-12 advantage. First, junior Josh Potts used four takedowns and three sets of back points to tech fall Tyler Poorman (5-18) 16-1 in 4:17 at 119, then Brandon Potts made a third-period takedown the difference in a 3-2 win over T. J. Albright. Albright (22-7) escaped in the second period and then Potts let him up after getting his takedown with 30 seconds left in the match.
David McCloskey kept the run going for the Mountain Lions by shutting out Matt Moore (0-1) at 130, by a 5-0 score.
The two teams traded six-point decisions at the next two weight classes and Bronson Pfahler decisioned Jeremy Barlett (3-20) 6-1 at 145, to hold Altoona’s advantage at 26-18.
At 135, Anthony Romano (12-11) moved up a weight and led 7-1 after one period, then added a takedown on a hip toss to get a pin over Dylan Swires in 2:24 to slice the lead to 18-17. Tyrone gave six points right back, however, forfeiting at 140 to the Lions’ Mitchell Columbo.
“In T. J.’s match, I think it was just a matter of him being aggressive, and not being in a defense mode, instead, he was in an attack mode and the other kid just woke up and started wrestling,” said Packer. “Anthony Romano moving up for us did well tonight. It’s just one of those things. He is a team wrestler, who has always told us ‘I’ll go wherever you want me to go, whatever you want me to do.”
At 152, Jake Smerekar started a run for the Eagles that culminated in the victory. Tyrone would win three of the last four weight classes to pull out the triumph.
First, Smerekar (18-10) was all over Nik Zimmerman, recording a 14-0 major decision. Jake started out slowly, leading just 2-0 after one period, then picking up momentum with a reversal and three back points in the second stanza, before finally piling on a takedown, nearfall and two penalty points after Zimmerman was called three times for stalling.
Then, Shayne Tate (17-12) took a 5-1 lead into the third period, where he added three nearfall points in an 8-5 win over Zac Bender. Tate had bested Bender 6-4 at the eiglrt tourney. Finally, after freshman K. J. Walters repeated a 4-0 Zeigler Tournament win by turning a late third-period takedown into a 3-1 win over Justin Schopp (16-12), it was all up to Conrad, who was able to convert the opportunity into a Tyrone win that improve the Golden Eagles record to 6-9, with a dual at home on Saturday against Penns Valley beginning at 3 p.m. with the junior high opening the day at 1 p.m. with Todd Campbell and Bill Dixon being inducted into the Tyrone Wrestling Hall of Fame just prior to the varsity match. The Tyrone/Central Cambria dual has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 13.
“To win the last couple matches kind of springboards you into the postseason,” said Packer. “Attitude is everything-poor attitude- poor results, good attitude-good results, great attitude-great results.
“I want to say something about the seniors. They all wrestled well tonight. Even when they didn’t win, they wrestled tough.”
Junior High
The Tyrone junior high won their dual, knocking off Roosevelt 55-39.
Brock Noel (145), Cody Smith (165), Dylan Weston (80), Tyler Osterhout (85), Christian Getz (95), Ronnie Garbinsky (100), Jimmy Weston (115), and Jeremy Miller (138) won by pin, Robbie Sellers (110) won by major decision, and Issac Walk (130) won by regular decision.
Tyrone 31 Altoona 29
215 – Brady Williams (T) pinned Tyler Frederick 1:36
285 – Brant Clouser (A) pinned Brandon Oswalt 3:44
103 – No match
112 – A. J. Schopp (T) pinned Vince McCracken 2:33
119 – Josh Potts (A) tech fall Tyler Poorman 16-1, 4:17
125 – Brandon Potts (A) dec. T. J. Albright 3-2
130 – David McCloskey (A) dec. Matt Moore 5-0
135 – Anthony Romano (T) pinned Dylan Swires 2:24
140 – Mitchell Columbo (A) won by forfeit
145 – Bronson Pfahler (A) dec. Jeremy Barlett 6-1
152 – Jacob Smerekar (T) maj. Nik Zimmerman 14-0
160 – Shayne Tate (T) dec. Zac Bender 8-5
171 – K. J. Walters (A) dec. Justin Schopp 3-1
189 – Donnie Conrad (T) pinned Zac Bulow 3:54.
Junior High
Tyrone 55 Roosevelt 39
145 – Brock Noel (T) pinned Alex Zimmerman 0:32
155 – Donald Ball (R) maj. Zac Knable 14-4
165 – Cody Smith (T) pinned Tyler Cook 3:55
185 – Stefan Majcher (R) pinned Chris Carper 1:58
210 – Mickael Ferry (R) maj. Ridge Colyer 14-5
250 – John Misher-Johnson (R) pinned Kirby Lawrence 2:14
75 – Josh Price (R) won by forfeit
80 – Dylan Weston (T) pinned Amedeo Perini 4:29
85 – Tyler Osterhout (T) pinned Shane Kovak 0:25
90 – Wendell Myers (R) pinned Mark McMonagle 0:41
95 – Christian Getz (T) pinned Branden John 3:58
100 – Ron Garbinsky (T) pinned Miles Edmiston 1:19
105 – Jacob Hines (R) maj. Chase Weaver 17-4
110 – Robbie Sellers (T) maj. Connor Lesniak 10-2
115 – Jimmy Weston (T) pinned Trevor Dangle 4:22
122 – Chris McCarthy (R) dec. Doug Rudy 8-4
130 – Issac Walk (T) dec. Cameron Kyle 4-2
138 – Jeremy Miller (T) pinned David Riggleman 3:15
Travis Potts (R) pinned Will Zimmerman 2:40
John Manley (R) pinned Ryan Isenberg 2:25
Dan Isenberg (T) pinned Johnathan Shaffer 0:33