Tyrone lightweights Ronnie Garbinsky and A. J. Schopp led Tyrone over the weekend with championships in the first two weight classes at the District 6-AA wrestling championships at the Altoona High School Fieldhouse. That was to be expected by anyone, who knew anything about local high school wrestling. What most people may not have figured however, is that as a team, Tyrone finished third among the 26 schools who participated.
The Eagles were only 7-10 and at times didn’t look much like a championship-quality wrestling team, despite season long terrific efforts from the lightweights.
“It’s been an awesome weekend, with the team coming through where they did,. I couldn’t ask for a better performance,” was how Tyrone wrestling coach described the effort on the mats by his Golden Eagles. “We had a kind of a rough year, but finishing where we have as a team in this tournament is testament to the hard work the youngsters are willing to put in. Willingness to prepare is probably the hardest thing for the kids to come to grips with. But these kids were milling and they did as a group. We brought 12 wrestlers, and 11 of them got into the second day.”
Both Garbinsky and Schopp were the top seeds in their respective weight classes and both had a rather easy time getting to the championship finals, and both proved their mettle toughing out wins by decision to claim the title.
Garbinsky (33-2) added to a pair of falls on Friday, with a 13-3 major decision over Shane Gallaher of Forest Hills, in the semifinals. In the finals against fellow freshman Tanner Hough of Westmont-Hilltop, Garbinsky used a first-period takedown for what proved to be the only points scored in the 103-pound final. Garbinsky used a tight ride to keep his advantage in the second period and wouldn’t allow Hough to score from the top in the third stanza.
Schopp (34-3), who finished third in the 2007 district tournament and improved that to a second place medal at the PIAA state tournament, pinned his way through to the finals, adding a pin over Devin Dorian of Westmont-Hilltop, in the semifinals, in 1:22. In the 112-pound finals, against undefeated United freshman Evan Henderson (30-0), Schopp traded a first-period takedown with a second-period reversal by Henderson for a 2-2 draw after the first two stanzas. In the third period, Henderson chose the bottom position to begin and Schopp nearly got a tilt from the top several times, before finally tilting Henderson for two back points and a 4-2 win.
“The two champs (Ronnie Garbinsky and A.J. Schopp), were leaders all season, and along with Anthony (Romano) and Shayne (Tate) finishing fourth and fifth and all four will be a good representation of Tyrone going to Regionals.”
Shayne Tate (171) and Anthony Romano (125) will join the two Tyrone lightweights at the Regional Tournament at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown in two weeks (Feb. 29-March 1).
The top five at each weight move on to the regionals.
Tate (22-9) ran into a buzz-saw in Huntingdon’s top seeded and undefeated Bobby Mort in the semifinals. Although Mort won only 4-2 in the dual meet, the Bearcat senior was all over Tate on Saturday winning by a 15-0 tech fall, in 5:21. Tate came back in the consolation semifinals to edge Chaz Merriman of Westmont-Hilltop, 7-6. In the consolation finals for third place, Tate ran into another nemesis in Zack Hicks. The Mount Union junior edged Tate for the third time this year, 3-2 to claim third place and settle Tate with fourth. Hicks also downed Tate 5-3 in the Ziegler Tournament and 3-2 in the dual meet.
In a win, or be finished for the year match in the consolation finals for fifth place, Romano (30-9) edged Claysburg-Kimmel freshman Cole Claar 5-4 to earn a place at the Regionals in two weeks. Romano lost a 7-6 decision to eventual 125-pound champ Tom McVicker of Forest Hills, in the semifinals and then was edged 2-1 by Craig Harris of Richland, in the consolation semifinals.
After winning big with a pin and major decision on Friday, Romano was engaged in three one-point decisions on Saturday.
Tyrone 119-pounder Chase Weaver also had a win-or be done match in the fifth-place consolation finals, but dropped a 7-0 decision to Corey Aungst, a freshman from Claysburg-Kimmel. Weaver lost 8-0 to Aungst at the Zeigler Tournament, and 7-2, in the second round of districts on Friday. Weaver defeated Nathan Cahill of Ligonier Valley 11-1, and Peter Mykut of Huntingdon 1-0 before falling 7-0 to Dalton Smith of Mount Union, in the consolation semifinals to set up the fifth/sixth place final match with Aungst. Weaver had a busy weekend, actually wrestling eight times, winning five. Chase (19-20) won by a 15-0 tech fall over David Kurtz of Juniata Valley, pinned Donnie Partner of Bellwood-Antis in 4:04 before the match against Cahill.
Bellwood-Antis had three wrestlers make it through the first day to Saturday, but all three dropped out of the tournament with losses in the consolation rounds. At 130, Shane Noye (11-16) was majored 12-3, by Kyle Pucci of Somerset. Caleb Stevens pinned Tyrone 215-pounder Corey Barnhart in 1:58, then was ousted by Jason Everhart of Huntingdon 2-0. During the season, Stevens was pinned by Barnhart in the dual meet and lost twice to Everhart, 6-0 at the Zeigler Tournament and by fall in the dual. At 285, Kevin Stager avenged a loss by fall to B-A 285-pounder Cody Smith (15-10) in the dual meet, by pinning Smith in 1:43.
“A lot of our kids contributed this weekend, that’s always a positive,” said Bellwood-Antis coach Ron Wilson. “It wasn’t one like last year, where all of our points were scored by four kids. We had a lot of kids contribute this year. We were pretty pleased with their effort. It would have been nice to have someone go on to the next round, but we will take what they did, try to improve on it and with what we have coming in next year, we should be pretty solid. We gained experience, there are some good kids coming up from the junior high. We got some good performances here from our ninth graders, our sophomores are experienced now, and we have a good junior class coming back next year as seniors. Things are looking up, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together, and getting some wrestling time in the offseason.”
Eagle 135-pounder Cody Weaver (20-15) got his 20th victory by pinning Dylan Scott of Sugar Valley in 4:56 in Saturday’s fourth round consolation, then fell to Northern Cambria’s Scott Knarr 6-3 to exit the tournament. Weaver pinned Huntingdon’s Mark Smyers in 2:15, and edged Eddie Cass of Blairsville 7-6.
At 140, Eagle sophomore James Weston ended his season 11-21, losing a 2-1 heartbreaker to senior Cory McMillan of Blairsville. Weston majored Charles Miller of Ligonier Valley, and doubled up Ryan Altman from United 8-4.
Jeremy Barlett (19-12) pinned Jed Peterson of Marion Center, at 145, to begin his Saturday, then dropped a 7-1 decision to Chad Miller of Richland. Barlett decisioned Robbie Bopp of Forest Hills 5-3, on Friday.
Dustin Weaver (4-25) lost by fall to Zak Newton of Penn Cambria, finishing 2-2, at 189, over the weekend, with wins over Neal Nanessy of Ligonier Valley by injury default, and 2-1 decision over Tim Rash of United.
Prior to exiting the tournament against Stevens, Barnhart, a senior 215-pounder, pinned Darren Williams of Richland in 0:14, and Adam Kaelin of Northern Cambria, and decisioned Caleb Selvage of Moshannon Valley 5-0.
Eagle 285-pounder Dalaun Carroll (7-16) pinned Glendale’s Robert Shepler in 3:14 in the consolation rounds.
Donnie Hunter (1-5) finished 0-2.
Bellwood-Antis got wins from seven wrestlers who will return next year.
Bellwood-Antis freshman 103-pounder Luke McFarland (7-16) won an 18-13 shootout on Friday over Brennan Kline of Cambria Heights. Freshman Dan Noye (9-5) shut out Darryl Patterson of Southern Huntingdon 7-0 and Orry Corman of Penns Valley 5-0, at 112. At 135, junior Tim Collier (14-14) beat Joseph Rematt of Cambria Heights, 5-0 and pinned Ben Dodson of Claysburg-Kimmel, in 4:18. Junior Kyle Shawley (17-16) won by 16-1 tech fall over Mo Valley’s Brian Jasper, at 152, and pinned Joshua Sanders of Glendale, in 1:58. Sophomore Tyler Brazle (11-19) pinned Corey Sheeder of Southern Huntingdon, in 2:41, at 189. Stevens pinned James Martin of Forest Hills in 3:27, and Stevens edged Harley Shaffer of Forest Hills 1-0.
Donnie Partner (119), Troy Weyant (125), Travis Taylor (145), Dustin Pruznak (160), and Jimmy Watters (171) were all 0-2 for the Blue Devils.