The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


March 3, 2013

Matthews wins 4th region crown; Raiders grab team title; 8 locals off to Hershey

---- — Reynolds senior Austin Matthews won his 4th Northwest AA Region championship Saturday, putting him in rare company. But there’s another elite club he’s looking to join – the state champion’s club.

Matthews has won every postseason tournament he’s ever been in except one – the PIAA state tourney. And the Raider star leads a stellar group of county 8 matmen to Hershey this coming week, all in quest of places high on the medal stand.

The group finished in the top three in each weight to earn slots at state. Joining Matthews as champion were: Sharon’s Jarray Norris (126), copping his second title, and  Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Lakeview’s Sam Breese their first. Locals finishing second were: Sharon’s Michael Bonner (138) and Reynolds’ Jamar Henry (182). Taking third were Raiders’ Seth Hogue (106) and Michael Bartolo (113).

Other region champs repeating their 2012 wins were Redbank Valley’s Willis Gruver (113), Saegertown’s Tyler Vath (120), Kane’s Evan Delong (160).

First time champs were: Saegertown’s Devin Brown (106); Smethport’s Karl Lightner (132), Brookville’s Brock Zacherl (138); Union City’s Tim Vargo (170); Saegertown’s Dylan Reynolds (182); Corry’s Ryan Morris (195); Cochranton’s Cam Cyphert (220).

Matthews was also a big part of the Raiders winning their 16th regional title, the first under second-year coach Casey Taylor. Reynolds posted 118 points to outdistance Saegertown (97) and Brookville (94.5).

“The kids did a good job,” said Taylor. “It’s kind of repetitive, but as I’ve said before, the kids weren’t supposed to do any of this as the start of the year. Every thing they did, they overachieved this year. But our expectations are always high at Reynolds.

“I’m happy with the effort of every kid. I’ve never had to say one of our kids didn’t give their full effort.

“We’re taking 5 kids to state. Last year we took 3. And with only one (Matthews) coming back, I’m sure a lot of people thought he would be the only one going this year. But the kids really came around. And Austin is a big reason. He’s a real leader. And my coaches (Joe Reichard, Mark Bartolo and Marty Taylor) deserve a lot of the credit too.”

106 – Saegertown’s sensational sophomore Devin Brown (44-1) is ranked No. 1 in the state and he showed why as he dominated District 9 champion Taylor Ortz of Brookvile in the finals for a 9-1 major decision. Brown reportedly was a state place-winner in Ohio last year out of the Steubenville area before transferring to Saegertown. In the consolation finals, Reynolds freshman Seth Hogue punched his ticket to state with a 5-2 decision over Greenville sophomore Jase Paxson. 

113 – Willis Gruver of Redbank Valley repeated his 2012 title, bouncing back from a loss to Cody Blankenship of Kane in the D-9 finals. In the region final he beat Blankenship, 4-2. Reynolds advanced another wrestler to state here as sophomore Michael Bartolo rallied from behind in the third period to take the lead and then pinned Brookville frosh Cole Aaron. Bartolo lost to Gruver in the semifinals, 6-2.

120 – Saegertown sophomore Tyler Vath won his second straight crown, having topped the field at 106 last year. Vath in the finals rolled over Trent Neely of Smethport, the D-9 champ, by a 9-1 rout.

126 – Sharon’s Jarray Norris made it three repeat champions in a row as he took a masterful 6-1 decision over Kyle Lukowich of Conneaut Area. Norris (35-2) trailed 1-0 early in the second period but nailed a takedown and backpoints to grab the lead and never looked back.

Norris is well-known for his takedown ability, but Lukowich staved that off in the first period. “If I were drawing up a game plan to wrestle Jarray, I’d probably do the same thing,” said Sharon coach Dave Ciafre. “Reduce the match to 4 minutes rather than 6. But Jarray knows how to score and win and he did what he had to do. He wasn’t feeling well this weekend, but he still came through. Now we want to get down to state and get something. He’s come close before.”

132 – Smethport’s Karl Lightner upped his record to a perfect 31-0 with a 17-5 romp over D-10 champion Adam Fish of Seneca. Fish is only a freshman and is 34-5 heading to Hershey.

138 – Sharon’s Michael Bonner and Brock Zacherl of Brookville locked up in one of the more exciting matches of the night and unfortunately, one of the most controversial. Bonner led 8-7 with seconds to go when he was called for stalling by the ref that tied up the match. Then in overtime, Zacherl countered a shot by Bonner with a cradle for a takedown and the controversial 10-8 win that had fans booing vociferously.

“That was horrible,” said an angry Coach Ciafre about the stalling call. “He deserved to be the champ. And earlier in the match Michael had in a cradle for a takedown and they didn’t give it to him and then in overtime they gave it to the other kid. But I’m happy to be taking two kids to state and we’ll see what we can do down there.”  

145 – It was a repeat of the District 10 finals here and it was a repeat winner. Reynolds junior Levi Stoyer scored a first period takedown and went on to a 3-2 victory. Last week the score was 3-1. “Levi wrestled a phenomenal match,” said Coach Taylor. “He got that first takedown and that was the difference. He has wrestled like a chess player all year long, he puts the right pieces together at the right time.”

152 – Coudersport’s Kyle Bova came into the tournament with a glowing 34-0 record, but he was no match in the finals for Reynolds’ Austin Matthews as the Raider nailed down his 4th straight title. Matthews (45-1) notched an early takedown and back points and rolled from there to an 18-6 romp.

“Fourth time’s a charm, I guess,” said Matthews with a laugh about his final trip to state where he’s finished 8th then 2nd twice. “I didn’t know much about Bova, but I watched him wrestle at the Fred Bell and he pinned Geer from Franklin in about 30 seconds. And anytime you are undefeated, no matter what competition you wrestle, you’re pretty good.”

Of course the competition the Raiders wrestle is second to none. “The Ironman started the year for us and that lets you know how hard you have to work, even when it’s easier when you get back to local stuff,” said Matthews. “I lost a match in the semifinals there, but I think that relieved the pressure for the season.”

Coach Taylor was happy to see Austin notch his fourth title: “And really, but Austin’s standards it was a subpar match. But like I told him, ‘You didn’t wrestle your best and you still beat the 5th ranked kid in the state 18-6.’ He’s ready for next week and he can join an elite group of Reynolds state champs.”

160 – Kane’s junior Evan Delong (26-1) notched his straight region title with a 5-3 victory over D-10 champ Taylor Fox of Fort LeBoeuf.

170 – Union City’s Tim Vargo (23-1) built a lead and then decked Chris Matthews of Franklin in 4:25.

182 – For a second straight week it was a finals meeting of Saegertown’s Dylan Reynolds and Jamar Henry of Reynolds and the Panther sophomore again prevailed, this time by a 7-2 count. “Even though he lost, I was happy with the way Jamar wrestled,” said Coach Taylor. “He went after him and didn’t quit.” 

195 – Corry’s Ryan Morris defeated Jake Johnson of Eisenhower, 8-2, to become Corry’s first Class AA champ since 1984. Corry has wrestled several years in AAA.

220 – Turnabout is truly fair play when it comes to Cochranton’s Cam Cyphert and Fort LeBoeuf’s Evan Daley. Last year, Cyphert bead Daley at the D-10 finals, but lost to him in the region finals. This year it was reversed. Daley won at districts, but in the region finals Saturday, Cyphert came through with a 5-2 decision.

285 – Lakeview’s Sam Breese had an impressive tournament and capped it off with a pin of Union City’s Jeff Burger in 1:49. Burger scored a takedown, but Breese reversed and clamped Burger on his back for the win.

“No controversy there,” said a happy Lakeview coach Tom Tingley. “So many of those matches are one points, or a controversial call here or there. Sam went out there and got the pin. That was a stacked weight class. Now we get back work on a few things and get ready for Hershey.”

There was controvsy in the heavyweight consys where Forrest Christman of Slippery Rock lost on a stalling point late in the match.

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