The Zeigler Blair/Huntingdon County Tournament was moved up a week from its usual first Saturday in the new Year site, but that didn’t lessen the suspense or the highlights. Mount Union had five champs and carried home the team trophy, while local wrestlers earned their fair share of medals, led by Tyrone’s lightweight duo of Ronnie Garbinsky and A. J. Schopp, who both pinned their way through the first two weight classifications for first place awards at 103 and 112.
Garbinsky (12-1) pinned Shope of Huntingdon, in 0:27, Luke McFarland of Bellwood-Antis, in 1:59, Bush of Claysburg-Kimmel, in 3:29, Erwin of Southern Huntingdon, in 0:55 and Myers of Altoona, in 4:26 for his first place medal.
Schopp (13-1) pinned Cox of Claysburg, in 2:22, Hines of Altoona, in 2:49, Grove of Mount Union, in 5:48, and Hines again in the finals in 3:59.
All three of our lightweights at the top of the lineup (Garbinsky, Schopp, Chase Weaver) benefit from wrestling off against each other in practice,” explained Tyrone coach Blair Packer.
Tyrone senior Anthony Romano (11-4) wrestled into the finals, in the round robin tournament in which each wrestler meets every grappler in his pool and then gets the wrestler with the same finish in the other pool, but dropped slim 4-2 decision to Stefan Housum of Hollidaysburg to finish second. Romano defeated Shane Noye of Bellwood-Antis, by an 18-3 technical fall in 6:00, pinned Garner of Southern Huntingdon, in 2:30, Bonsell of Altoona, in 2:23, and Dodson of Claysburg, in 1:47 to reach the finals at 130.
“Anthony and Housum have met numerous times. On any given day, either could win,” said Packer. “It will be interesting when they wrestle in the dual meet.”
Shayne Tate (9-3) finished third at 171. Tate won by 19-5 major decision over Jim Watters of B-A, and pinned Weyandt of Claysburg, in 4:25, before getting edged 5-3, by Hicks of Mount Union. Tate finished the day with a 15-8 decision over Flaugh of Hollidaysburg, and an 11-7 win over Laughlin of Central.
“Shayne wrestled a tough match against Hicks. It was a superb match, one that went right down to the wire,” said Packer.
Tim Collier (6-5) was the highest placer for Bellwood-Antis, with a second place at 140. Collier won by 15-5 major decision over Frysinger of Huntingdon, and 17-0 tech fall over Claysburg’s Garber in 5:46. In between a pair of losses by fall to champion Kevin Ryan of Mount Union, Collier edged McCloskey of Altoona, 7-6.
The Blue Devils’ Caleb Stevens (215) and Cody Smith (285) and Tyrone’s Chase Weaver (119), and Cody Weaver (135) all finished in fifth place.
Cody Weaver is another kid who really is better because of the wrestlers around him in the practice room,” said Packer. “He is starting to come into his own.”
Stevens (6-5) was shut out 6-0 by Everhart of Huntingdon, and pinned by Fortson of Mount Union, in 5:35, but pinned Millardo of Hollidaysburg in 3:15, pinned Davis of Altoona in 2:33 and then came back in the consolation finals for fifth place to major Millardo in rematch 10-1. Smith had a tough day, with the bad luck of being in the same pool as the two wrestlers who made the finals, even handing one of them his only defeat in the tournament. Smith (7-4) dropped his first match to Andy Sarra of Huntingdon, 8-0, but then came back to win his second match 3-1 over Jeremy Rhodes of Central. Smith finished out his day by shutting out Ferry of Altoona, 6-0 and pinning Wayne Dembitsky of Tyrone, in 1:55 and Ferry again, in the consolation final for fifth place by fall in 4:56. Rhodes won the first place at 285 by majoring Sarra 12-2.
We wrestled pretty good overall,” said Bellwood-Antis coach Ron Wilson. “We won some close matches. Things are just now starting to come together for us. The kids from the football team are starting to get into wrestling shape. We got hammered the first couple of rounds due to seeding, but pretty much swept our last round, turning it around.”
Chase Weaver (5-3) fell by 8-0 major decision to Claysburg’s C. Aungst and N. Mykut of Huntingdon, 4-0, to begin the day, but regrouped to pin all of his final three foes for fifth place. Weaver decked Herzburg of Southern Huntingdon, in 3:28, Shiffler of Hollidaysburg, in 2:59 and McCracken of Altoona, in 3:39. Cody Weaver (6-5) lost two of his first three matches, losing 7-0 to Smith of Mount Union, and getting pinned by McCaffrey of Hollidaysburg, in 0:37, but pinned Longenecker of Central, in 3:55, Harry of Southern Huntingdon, in 0:40 and Cody Fink of Bellwood-Antis, in 1:14.
Fink (4-8) finished sixth on the day with all of his matches featuring pins. Fink was decked by Altoona’s Colombo in 1:24, pinned Smyers of Huntingdon in 2:42, was pinned by Feathers of Claysburg, in 2:26. won by fall over Foster of Juniata Valley, in 1:06 and then was pinned by Weaver in the consolation finals for fifth place at 135. At 160, Dustin Pruznak finished sixth, losing by fall to T. Claar of Claysburg, in the consolation finals. To get there, Pruznak (3-8) lost by 15-0 tech fall to Drake of Mount Union, doubled up C. Price of Central, 12-6, and edged Cody Smith of Tyrone 7-5, then dropped a 17-0 tech fall to Huntingdon’s Thompson. Kyle Shawley (8-8) was pinned by M. Aungst of Claysburg, in 2:46 and majored 9-0 by Altoona’s Zimmerman. Shawley edged Southern’s Price 8-6 and pinned Lear of Central, in 0:54, before getting decked by Mount Union’s Hoffmaster in 3:28.
B-A freshman Travis Taylor (1-5) won his first varsity match by pinning Albright of Hollidaysburg in the consolation finals for fifth place at 145.
Luke McFarland finished sixth, despite going 0-5 at 103, for Bellwood-Antis.
Tyrone’s James Weston (140), Jeremy Barlett (152) and Corey Barnhart (215) and Bellwood’s Jim Watters (171) and Tyler Brazle (189) finished seventh.
“Barnhart has come a long way. His greatest weakness is lack of time on the mat, he will get better as the season goes on,” stated Packer.
The Eagles’ Robbie Sellers (125) and Wayne Dembitsky (285) and the Blue Devils’ Shane Noye (130) finished eighth at their respective weight class.
The Blue Devils’ Troy Weyant (125) and Tyrone’s Cody Smith (160) and Dustin Weaver also participated in the day-long tournament, but did not place.
Mount Union and Huntingdon flip-flopped positions from last January’s Zeigler Tournament with Mount Union carrying away first place with 300.5 points to 274 for Huntingdon in second place. Tyrone finished fifth with 180 and B-A had 112 points to finish eighth in the 10-team tournament.