Tyrone wrestlers run away with inaugural 10-team Blair/Huntingdon County Tournament with four champions

Talk had been going around for several years about some kind of change for the Blair County Wrestling Tournament. One of the suggestions was to combine with one of the surrounding counties. Huntingdon and Centre Counties already had tournaments in place. But the Huntingdon County affair was in danger of dying, with coaches unsatisfied with many wrestlers ending up getting just one match. With each school allowed only a maximum number of points during the season (24) with dual meets (one point each) and tournaments (three points regardless of how many teams), the Huntingdon County coaches along with their Blair County cousins, who saw many of their wrestlers get just two matches at their tournament, got together for the first combined tournament on Saturday.
Depending on the number of wrestlers in the individual weight class, either four or five rounds were wrestled to determine the final matchups for first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth places.
Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis were two of the 10 teams who wrestled at the Altoona Fieldhouse.
The Golden Eagles earned the honor of being the first Blair/Huntingdon County Tournament with 284 points, after taking three championships in the 14-year history of the Blair County Tournament, the last in 1996. Bellwood-Antis, without two of their best wrestlers due to several reasons, had two finalists and finished in 10th place with 92 points.
Eight Tyrone wrestlers fought their way into the championship finals and four- Brett Harris (130), David Miller (135), Brice Mertiff (145) and Terry Tate (275) all were crowned champions.
“I think this is the culmination of a lot of hard work that we have been doing here since the beginning of the season,” explained Tyrone coach Blair Packer. “We have met some stiff competition before coming in and I think that helped. We have to keep working hard and keep after it and I think we will be all right.”
Brett Harris (11-6) actually lost a 5-4 decision to second seed Jonathan Clemens of Mount Union, in round three, but still was able to make the finals, because the best two records during the first five rounds were matched up in the finals. Clemens lost a 10-7 verdict to fourth seed David Sunderland of Southern Huntingdon, in round four and when both wrestlers finished the preliminary rounds with the same record, Sunderland advanced to the finals against Harris.
Harris pinned Eric Yingling of Huntingdon, in 3:57, Travis Clapper of Hollidaysburg, in just 0:13, and Johnny Weyandt of Claysburg-Kimmel, in 3:25 to reach the finals at 130, where he easily handled Sunderland 8-1. Harris moves up from a pair of second place finishes in the Blair County Tournament in 2002 and 2001.
David Miller (14-5) pinned Vince Garlock of Central, in 0:17, decked Chris Barroner of Hollidaysburg, and Shane Hower of Mount Union, in 3:30 to reach the finals. Miller trailed Thad Blair of Huntingdon temporarily, but ended his fourth straight win by fall getting Blair in 5:25 for the title at 135. Miller had been second at 119 in last year’s Blair County tourney.
Brice Mertiff (10-5) joined Miller in pinning his way through the tournament, got Hollidaysburg’s Kevin Camerer in 0:26, Scott Everhart of Southern Huntingdon, in 2:50, and Jon Riley of Huntingdon, at the 3:46 mark. In the finals at 145, Mertiff jumped on top seed Tom DeAntonio of Altoona for a fall in 1:01, after a fourth place finish last year.
Terry Tate (14-2), the Number One seed pinned Brian Burket of Central, in 1:14, won by injury default over Darin DeVore of Juniata Valley, in 0:01 and won a pair of decisions over Altoona’s Bron Clouser 7-2 and Ralph Morgan of Mount Union 4-0. In the finals at heavyweight, Tate pinned Bellwood-Antis senior Josh Rosella, the second seed in 5:56. Tate was third at 275 in the 2002 Blair County Tournament.
“We took eight kids into the finals, which is awesome for a tournament like this” said Packer, “and to get four champions, what more can you ask.”
Bellwood-Antis finalists were 152-pounder Jared Ervine and 275-pounder Josh Rosella. Ervine (9-6) majored Gary Dick of Hollidaysburg, 19-6, decisioned Drew Aurand of Mount Union 7-3, pinned Juniata Valley’s Jim Diggins at the 3:07 mark and majored top seed Jeremy Knott of Claysburg 14-5. In the finals, Ervine dropped a 3-1 decision in overtime to Matt Colombo of Altoona after matching escapes in regulation. Rosella pinned Joe Gongloff of Huntingdon, in 2:52, Joel Chorny of Hollidaysburg, in 1:32 and Anthony Paris of Claysburg in 1:03 to reach the finals against Tyrone’s terry Tate.
Dane McCloskey (119), Thad Westley (119), Adam Swayne (140) and Chris Tremmel (160) also earned berths in the finals for Tyrone, but were stopped to finish second.
Dane McCloskey (10-5) pinned Claysburg’s Aaron Doroba in 1:11, decked Jason Grove of Huntingdon, in 4:36 and then put Dustin Lewis of Central, away in 1:48 to earn his berth in the finals at 119. Top seed Garrett Scott of Juniata Valley, showed why with a 17-1 technical fall over McCloskey in 6:00.
Thad Westley (14-4) who finished second at the Blair County the last two years, fell in the finals again to Ryan McIntyre of Claysburg 4-1. Westley earned his way into the championship at 125, with falls over Eric Fye of Hollidaysburg, in 1:10, Josh Ervine of Bellwood-Antis, in 3:32 and Clyde Hendrickson of Mount Union, in 5:38 coupled with a 14-2 major decision over Justin Berrier of Southern Huntingdon.Last year, McIntyre beat Thad 8-4 in the finals.
Adam Swayne (8-7) pinned Chris Meyers of Huntingdon, in 3:50, decked Tom Phillips of Juniata Valley, in 0:35, Weston Wright of Southern Huntingdon, in 2:11 and Matt Parry of Claysburg in 3:51. In the finals at 140, Swayne was pinned by top seed Brad Rickabaugh of Hollidaysburg, who pinned his way through five tournament matches, in 2:40.
Chris Tremmel (5-4) edged Bobby Ciaverella of Claysburg 8-7, and Jared Varner of Southern Huntingdon 4-2 before getting it going with a pin of Altoona’s Jason Miller in 1:58, and a 16-3 major decision over Dwayne Cherry of Bellwood-Antis. In the finals at 160, Tremmel, the seventh seed was pinned by top seed Eric Shaw of Hollidaysburg in 2:44. Shaw had four pins and a tech fall in his five tournament wins.
Blake Cowfer added a fourth place finish for the Eagles. Cowfer (6-8), the fifth seed, opened the day with a 0:30 pin over Chase Richardson of Central, before running into a pair of falls. Brian Shaw of Hollidaysburg pinned Cowfer in 3:49 and top seed Brad Clark of Huntingdon in 1:28. The senior Eagle 171-pounder finished the preliminary rounds with a tech fall over Altoona’s John Balliet. In the consolation final for third place, sixth seed Kenny Weyandt of Claysburg pinned Cowfer in 3:17.
Robert Waite (7-7) and Justin Clark (3-9) each won three of five matches for fifth place finishes. Waite (103) pinned Nathan Stains of Southern Huntingdon, in 0:41 in the consi final for fifth place and Clark (189) pinned David Bartlebaugh of Juniata Valley in 4:45 for his fifth-place finish.
Blue Devil Josh Ervine (6-10) finished fourth at 125. Ervine, a freshman who was seeded seventh, opened his tournament by pinning third seed Clyde Hendrickson of Mount Union with just three seconds remaining in the match. Ervine was pinned by Thad Westley of Tyrone, in 3:32 and top seed Ryan McIntyre of Mount Union, in 1:59 and was edged by Hollidaysburg’s Eric Fye 10-8. In the consifinal for third, Ervine was pinned by Justin Berrier of Southern Huntingdon, in 3:04.
Derrick Miller (2-10) also placed fourth for B-A, coming from behind to deck Kenny Weyandt of Claysburg in 4:45 for his one win during the tournament. In the consifinals for third place, Miller was pinned by fourth seed Brian Shaw of Hollidaysburg, in 3:17.
Dwayne Cherry (6-9) won two of five contests for a sixth place finish for Bellwood-Antis. Cherry pinned Bobby Ciaverella of Claysburg, in 5:50 and Jason Miller of Altoona, in 2:37 for his wins and dropped a 9-2 decision to fourth seed Jeff Hollenbaugh in the consifinal for fifth place.
Andrew Hiller (112) and Jesse Shaw (145) finished sixth for Tyrone. Andrew Hiller (1-5) defeated Mike McGeary of Bellwood-Antis 17-1 in 6:00 for his only triumph in five matches, including a fall to Brent Meck of Central, in the consifinals for fifth place at 112. Jesse Shaw (5-8) defeated Central’s Eric Hoover by a 16-5 major decision for his one victory in four tournament matches. Shaw lost a fifth place consolation final verdict to Drew Aurand of Mount Union.
Mike Thomas (1-5) won by reversing and pinning Daniel Chorny of Hollidaysburg in 3:48 for his one victory in five matches at 189. In the consifinals for seventh place, Chorny returned the favor decking Thomas in 1:42. Thomas seems to like wrestling in the Altoona Fieldhouse, getting his initial win on the mat there during last year’s Blair County Tournament.
At 140, Padraig Flynn (1-7) picked his time to get his first win of the year, pinning Tom Phillips of Juniata Valley, in the consifinal for ninth place to claim ninth.
Mike McGeary (112) and Travis Ehredt (145) and Ron Colyer (135) went 0-4 and Shane Evans (103) was 0-5. Bellwood-Antis had no entries at 119, 130 and 215.
Tyrone had no entry at 215.
“It was a rough day for us obviously,” reported Bellwood-Antis coach Ron Wilson. “But there were some bright spots. We have a very inexperienced team and we need to look for those bright spots and try to build on them. That’s what we are going to continue to do. We have a lot of good kids on this team, who have no quit in them. We have some technique problems we need to fix and we need to get into beter shape.”
Brock Scott of Juniata Valley was selected by the coaches as the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. Scott won once by forfeit, three times by fall and demolished Tyrone’s Dane McCloskey by tech fall in the finals.
Huntingdon finished a distant second with 258 points, Mount Union was third with 244, Juniata Valley fourth with 215.5 and Claysburg-Kimmel rounded out the top five with 210.
The second five included Hollidaysburg with 184, Altoona with 140, Southern Huntingdon with 125, central with 114 and B-A with 92.