HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING: Heritage trio claim D6 crowns
ALTOONA — Drew Doak and Scott Thompson once again etched their names into the Blairsville history books while United’s Tyler Oliver claimed his first district title Saturday at Altoona Field House.
Doak (152 pounds) and Thompson (182) won their respective weight classes at the District Class AA championships to become the first two Blairsville wrestlers to win three crowns at the event. Meanwhile, Oliver avenged one of his three losses and won the weight class he finished second in last season, 195.
The top-seeded Thompson scored four first-period falls and garnered the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Also, Marion Center’s Brandon Heberling (138) and Isaac Stewart (145), and Ligonier Valley’s Dalton Clark (132) and Ray Marsh (220), each placed second in their respective divisions. United’s Seth McLendon (220) finished third, and Blairsville’s Nick Pecze (170) and Ligonier Valley’s Carlos Chavez (106) each placed fourth.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class advanced to the PIAA Southwest Regional tournament, which starts March 1 in Johnstown.
Aside from Doak and Thompson, Blairsville’s only other two-time district champs were Matt Doak, Drew’s uncle, and 2007 state champ Matt Moore.
“It’s just going to keep happening with those two (Doak and Thompson),” Blairsville coach D.J. Doak said. “They’re just going to keep making history, plain and simple. They’re both amazing.”
After pinning fourth-seeded Kent Stewart, of Moshannon Valley, in just 54 seconds in the semifinals, Thompson (34-1) decked Huntingdon’s Matt Norris in just 1:32 in the finals to earn his third straight title in the weight class.
Thompson spent just 4:35 on the mat in his four wins in the tournament.
“I knew what I had to do and I knew coming into this that I had to be on my A-game,” Thompson said. “I wanted to prove a point that I’m at the top and I’m going to stay there. I’m just going for it all. This is what I’ve been working for.”
The top-seeded Doak (32-3) outlasted fifth-seeded Jared Benner, of Juniata, 8-4, in the semifinals. He then nipped second-seeded Seth Decker, of Penns Valley, 3-2, to win his third straight title at 152.
“I’ve been trying to wrestle with no pressure, just letting it all out on the mat,” Doak said. “They tell me all the time, ‘To win, you can’t be afraid to lose. You have to go out and execute, and if it doesn’t happen (then) you lost to a better man.”
The third-seeded Oliver (28-3), a district runner-up last year at 195, notched pins in three of his four bouts, including an impressive second-period pin of top-seeded Jared Beckwith, of Tyrone, in the finals.
Beckwith handed Oliver his first loss of the season, a 3-1 decision on Dec. 7. Oliver avenged the loss on Jan. 17 with a 6-4 win.
“I just worked really hard,” Oliver said. “I didn’t leave anything to chance. I worked my cardio, I worked my technique, I worked everything, and eventually it paid off.”
The fourth-seeded Heberling ((30-3), a two-time regional qualifier, narrowly bested top-seeded Nathan Russell, of Huntingdon, 7-6, in the semifinals. In the finals, however, Tyrone’s Jason Schopp, the third seed, scored a third-period takedown to nip Heberling, 2-1.
“I’m disappointed because I came up short but I’m proud that I took second,” Heberling, Marion Center’s all-time leader in wins, said. “It’s disappointing because I know on any other given day I could beat him. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him at regionals.”
The sixth-seeded Stewart (28-4), upset second-seeded Nick Naglic, of Richland, 5-3, in an ultimate rideout in the semifinals. Stewart then dropped a 7-1 decision to Huntingdon freshman Jacob Oliver, the top seed, in the finals.
The once-beaten Oliver won a Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling championship last season.
“He was strong and he was going for it,” Stewart said of Oliver. “When he wanted a chicken wing he was taking your arm and he was jacking it back there. He was really strong.”
Clark (23-11), a third-seeded sophomore, thumped Moshannon Valley senior Bryce Bloom, the sixth seed, 16-2, in the semifinals. Top-seeded Huntingdon senior Devon Green then flattened Clark with 12 seconds left in the third period of their championship bout.
The sixth-seeded Marsh (11-6), a junior, edged second-seeded Penn Cambria senior Jonathan Wilkinson, 6-5, in the semifinals before getting pinned in 1:47 by unbeaten and top-seeded West Branch senior Reynold Maines in the finals.