ALTOONA — Marvin Beatty did exactly as expected and won a District 6 championship.
Gavin Stewart bounced back from a controversial decision to keep his season going.
Both Marion Center wrestlers took different paths to this weekend’s PIAA Class 2A Southwest Regional Wrestling Championships at the KCAC.
Beatty, a senior heavyweight, pinned all three opponents to defend his title at the district tournament at Altoona High School. He is 21-2 on the season.
Stewart, a junior 152-pounder, won his opening match but then lost a controversial decision in the semifinals when Glendale’s Zeke Dubler was awarded a takedown, which came, in the estimation of Marion Center coach Chris Stewart, after the final buzzer of overtime.
“Obviously, we expected Marvin to win,” the coach said. “Gavin, we knew it would be a tough bracket, and he lost that overtime match in the semifinals with a controversial thing, but at the end of the day, he lost, so he had to come back through and get third. Both are moving on so that’s the main thing.”
The loss dropped Gavin Stewart into the consolation bracket, where he had to win twice to advance to regionals. He scored an 18-3 technical fall over Juniata Valley senior Eli Morder (12-2) and pinned Penns Valley junior Dristen Wolfe (6-3) in 4:42. Stewart (18-5) opened his day with a 18-3 technical fall over Wolfe.
“It was a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals,” Chris Stewart said. “We were down and came back and tied it, and in overtime it was a controversial call. I said the time was out, and I had seven or eight other coaches say the time was out, but the ref seemed to think there was a second on the clock when there was a takedown in overtime. At the end of the day, I knew that was a battle I was not going to win. So I said that’s the end of the match, let’s move on and get third and deal with Dubler next week.”
“I definitely feel we’re the better wrestler, but the way it ended wasn’t in our favor. We got down early and that was part of the battle and we had to fight to come back, and once we evened it up we controlled him in every aspect of the match. But the problem started when we had to come back, and it just didn’t go our way in overtime. We knew what we had to do to come back through.”
The Stewarts wouldn’t mind a rematch at regionals as well as a matchup with Westmont Hilltop’s Hudson Holbay, who beat Dubler in the championship match.
“The three best made it out and that’s all that matters, and we’ll deal with it (this week),” the coach said.
Beatty, the top seed, had a much easier time. He pinned Philipsburg-Osceola junior Chase Klinger (0-4) in 4:40 and disposed of Glendale junior Brock Smeal (7-3) in 3:54 in the semifinals. He made quick work of Penns Valley senior Ben Sharer (7-2), winning in 56 seconds in the championship match.
Now the duo faces a tougher road at regionals, where the top five advance to a super regional next week. The super regional is also scheduled at the KCAC, and four advance to the state tournament.
“They both have a tough road,” Chris Stewart said. “Where they were taking six, they’re only taking five, so one less guy is leaving out of there. So they both have to wrestle well and be on their A game.”
Also competing were Marion Center sophomore Cam Stewart (106), Marion Center senior Aidan Cattau (172) and Blairsville sophomores Cole Stuchall (160) and Mason Bell (189).
Bell and Cattau each went 1-2, and Stewart and Stuchall dropped their two matches.