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.
106 – Devin Brown (Saegertown) maj. dec. Taylor Ortz (Brookville), 9-1; 113 – Willis Gruver (Redbank Valley) dec. Cody Blankenship (Kane), 4-2; 120 – Tyler Vath (Saegertown) maj. dec. Trent Neely (Smethport), 9-1; 126 – Jarray Norris (Sharon) dec. Kyle Lukowich, 6-1; 132 – Karl Lightner (Smethport) maj. dec. Adam Fish (Seneca), 17-5; 138 – Brock Zacherl (Brookville) dec. Michael Bonner (Sharon), 10-8; 145 – Levi Stoyer (Reynolds) dec. Robert Boozer (Cochranton), 3-2; 152 – Austin Matthews (Reynolds) maj. dec. Kyle Bova (Coudersport), 18-6; 160 – Evan DeLong (Kane) dec. Taylor Fox (Fort LeBoeuf), 5-3; 170 – Tim Vargo (Union City) pinned Chris Matthews (Franklin), 4:25; 182 – Dylan Reynolds (Saegertown) dec. Jamar Henry (Reynolds), 7-2; 195 – Ryan Morris (Corry) dec. Jake Johnson (Eisenhower), 8-2; 220 – Cam Cyphert (Cochranton) dec. Evan Daley (Fort LeBoeuf), 5-2; 285 – Sam Breese (Lakeview) pinned Jeff Burger (Union City), 1:49.
(Winner goes to state)
106 – Seth Hogue (Reynolds) dec. Jase Paxson (Greenville), 5-2; 113 – Mike Bartolo (Reynolds) pinned Cole Aaron (Brookville), 4:35; 120 – Matt Wheeler (Northwestern) dec. Tyler Kuzma (Fort LeBoeuf), 2-0; 126 – Nick Monico (Saegertown) dec. Brett Himes (Ridgway), 6-0; 132 – Dalton Zimmerman (Brookville) dec. Luke Walter (Grove City), 3-0; 138 – Matt Humes (Saegertown) dec. Cody Bova (Coudersport), 2-1; 145 – Zach Vroman (Brookville) dec. Ty Haines (Redbank Valley), 3-1 OT; 152 – Taylor Harrington (Fort LeBoeuf) dec. Samuel Colebert (Oswayo Valley), 5-2; 160 – Cole Shirey (Redbank Valley) dec. Brodie Zacherl (Brookville), 2-1 UTB; 170 – Alex Gular (Port Allegany) dec. Austin Andrews (Cochranton), 4-3; 182 – Aaron Hook (Redbank Valley) dec. Joe Hines (Hickory), 3-0; 195 – Trevor Beiter (Seneca) dec. Jake Wichert (Oswayo Valley), 9-4; 220 – Jaykup Durlin (Youngsville) dec. Logan Rickert (Reynolds), 1-0; 285 – Nicholas Budd (Port Allegany) dec. Forrest Christmann (Slippery Rock), 2-1.
106 – Hogue pinned Faris Messai (Jamestown), 2:15; Paxson pinned Isaac Bengel (Seneca), 3:37; 113 – Aaron dec. Jarrette Carter (Fort LeBoeuf), 4-2; Bartolo dec. Cody Buchanan (Sharon), 3-1; 120 – Kuzma dec. Cyle Yaple (Seneca), 3-2; Wheeler pinned Dave Huselton (Slippery Rock), 4:46; 126 – Himes dec. Jared Morrison (Cochranton), 12-11; Monico dec. Mason McCollum (Reynolds), 7-3; 132 – Walter dec. Cam Cianci (Reynolds), 8-5; D. Zimmerman dec. Zak Dennis (Maplewood), 6-0; 138 – Bova dec. Jacob Abrams (Smethport), 3-1 OT; Humes dec. Chris Hibbler (Seneca), 5-3 OT; 145 – Haines maj. dec. Talor Ellis (Conneaut), 13-4; Vroman dec. Brad Malinowski (Fort LeBoeuf), 5-1; 152 – Harrington dec. Caleb Peterson (Cochranton), 9-3; Samuel Colebert (Oswayo Valley), 3-1; 160 – Shirey pinned Ryan Northcott (Cochranton), :42; Zacherl dec. Ben BuCher (Sharpsville), 6-4; 170 – Gular pinned Brandon Bailey (Redbank Valley), 1:49; Andrews dec. Zach Miller (Greenville), 7-3; 182 – Hook pinned Justin Reynolds (Greenville), 2:00; Hines dec. Zach Bruce (Cranberry), 5-4; 195 – Wichert dec. Taylor Cudworth (Brookville), 6-3; Beiter dec. Nate Moore (Kane), 15-8; 220 – Durlin pinned Tim Suydan (Corry) 2:13; Rickert pinned Cal Haines (Redbank Valley), :57; 285 – Budd pinned Ben Carillo (Redbank Valley), 2:06; Christmann dec. Gene Ringer (Reynolds), 1-0.
106 – Ortz pinned Hogue, 2:50; Brown pinned Bengel, 1:13; 113 – Blankenship pinned Aaron, 4:28; Gruver dec. Bartolo, 6-2; 120 – Vath dec. Kuzma, 2-1; Neely dec. Wheeler, 4-3; 126 – Lukowich dec. Himes, 5-3; Norris dec. Monico, 5-1; 132 – Fish dec. Cianci, 8-2; Lightner dec. D. Zimmerman, 5-1; 138 – Bonner pinned Bova, 5:42; Zacherl tech fall Humes, 5:51, 17-2; 145 – Stoyer dec. Haines, 3-1; Boozer dec. Vroman, 4-3; 152 – Matthews dec. Harrington, 6-3; Bova pinned Kysor, :51; 160 – Fox dec. Shirey, 3-1; Delong dec. Zacherl, 9-3; 170 – Vargo dec. Gular, 4-2; Matthews dec. Andrews, 8-2; 182 – Henry dec. Hooks, 3-1; D. Reynolds dec. Bruce, 11-3; 195 – Morris pinned Wichert, 3:22; Johnson dec. Beiter, 7-1; 220 – Cyphert pinned Durlin, 3:52; Daley pinned Rickert, 2:22; 285 – Burger dec. Budd, 4-1; Breese dec. Christmann, 2-1.
106 – Messai pinned Casey Vollmer (Port Allegany), 4:43; Paxson pinned Sam Bressler (Curwensville), :56; 113 – Carter dec. Logan Gray (North East), 2-1; Buchanan dec. Bingbong Elizon (Saegertown), 5-1; 120 – Yaple dec. Brandon Saline (Cam. Cty), 4-1; Huselton forfeit; 126 – McCollum maj. dec. Jack Glasi (Brockway), 12-0; Morrison dec. Mitch Blose (Redbank Valley), 8-2; 132 – Walter dec. Gavin Kroesen (West Middlesex), 3-1 OT; Dennis dec. Alex Zimmerman (Johnsonburg), 10-6; 138 – Abrams dec. Darren Brown (Kane), 7-3; Hibbler pinned Seth Thurber (Jamestown), 1:35; 145 – Ellis pinned Zac McKnight (Ridgway), :50; Malinowski dec. Trey Maher (Grove City), 5-3; 152 – Peterson dec. Blake Horne (Greenville), 7-5; Colebert dec. Jimmy Miller (Brookville), 8-1; 160 – Northcott dec. Mike Millero (Reynolds), 1-0; BuCher dec. Gage Gladysz (Greenville), 5-0; 170 – Bailey dec. Anthony Benson (Brockway), 5-3; Miller dec. Shane Taubert (Corry), 4-2 OT; 182 – Reynolds dec. Forest Tuttle (Coudersport), 7-5; Hines forfeit; 195 – Cudworth pinned Cody Hughes (Sharpsville), :47; Moore pinned Dan Geer (Franklin), 1:58; 220 – Suydan dec. Matt Baugher (Cranberry), 3-1; 285 – Carillo pinned Dylan Dinch (Smethport), 2:21; Ringer dec. Jack Karsten (Cameron County), 7-4.
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.
5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey
HERSHEY — Mercer County matmen had mixed results on the opening day of action in the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Only 5 of the county’s dozen entries — led by defending state champ Sam Breese of Lakeview (285) — won their preliminary matches to move into the tournament quarterfinals which begin at 9 a.m. today. However the other 7 lost their first matches, although 3 are still alive in the consolations heading into this morning’s action.
Coach Chad Mild's Big Reds are road warriors
West Middlesex High boys basketball team did not play its first home game until after the first of the year, but competing at New Castle, Farrell and Youngstown’s Covelli Centre has served it well.
Witness West Middlesex’s 55-54 win over Fairview in last weekend’s District 10 Class AA championship game — at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Boys PIAA basketball preview boxes
Who: Farrell (22-3) vs. Montour (16-8).
What: Opening round.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Sharon High’s Tiger Gymnasium.
Hickory, Mercer, KC girls PIAA playoff boxes
Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage
With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.
Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.
Breese eyes repeat at state mat tourney
There is no doubt that winning a state championship in wrestling is a difficult thing to do. Winning two is even tougher.
“There’s a target on your chest,” pointed out Lakeview High coach Tom Tingley in preseason this year, referring to his star wrestler Sam Breese who won a state heavyweight crown as a junior last year.
Obviously that target hasn’t bothered the Sailors big man who is a perfect 32-0 this season as he attempts to become only the 12th Mercer County matman to win multiple titles.
WRESTLING NOTEBOOK: It's a young group of county matmen headed to state
THERE’S definitely a youth movement in Mercer County wrestling as demonstrated by the group of 11 matmen who are advancing to the PIAA State Class AA Championships on Thursday.
Eight of the locals are underclassmen. The only seniors are Lakeview’s Sam Breese (285), Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamestown’s Mohamed Messai (182).
Breese and Stoyer are the only returning state place-winners. Breese, who has verbally committed to Kent State University to wrestle next season, won the heavyweight class and is seeking a second gold medal. Stoyer placed 7th at 145 and wants to climb much higher on the medals stand.
Kennedy boys forfeit win, are out of playoffs
The PIAA basketball playoffs do not begin until Friday, but Mercer County already lost a team.
Kennedy Catholic High disclosed Monday the discovery of an academically-ineligible player, who competed in last Friday’s District 10 Class A consolation contest.
Kennedy Catholic edged Eisenhower in double-OT, 66-62, earning a berth in the statewide tournament. The Golden Eagles were to meet District 9 champion Ridgway Friday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium in the opening round; instead, Eisenhower will represent D-10 as its 3rd-place team.
Raiders win 17th region title; 11 locals to Hershey
When Reynolds senior Levi Stoyer came off the mat after his 145-pound championship at the Northwest AA Regional Championships, he wasn’t celebrating his second straight crown. Instead, he turned to head coach Casey Taylor and said, “I did it for the team.”
And the team needed it!
Stoyer defeated Brookville’s Zach Vroman, 3-0, and sent Reynolds on its way to the school’s 17th region team title Saturday night at Sharon High School. Reynolds finished with 147 points, to Brookville’s 138.
Hickory girls capture 1st district title since 1983
MEADVILLE — Depending upon peoples’ perceptions, 31 years can seem like a lifetime ... but so can 16 minutes.
Hickory High girls’ basketball program’s District 10 drought ended Saturday afternoon as perennial power Villa Maria virtually vanished from the 2nd-half scoreboard.
The Lady Hornets erased a 7-point halftime deficit by yielding just 4 second-half points en route to a 39-24 victory over Villa Maria in the District 10 Class AAA championship game.
KC beats Cochranton for 4th straight D-10 crown
MEADVILLE — Everybody is on April Bocian’s bandwagon — and rightly so. But Tatum Kress helped keep Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball program atop District 10’s Class A competition.
Kress connected for all 14 of her points during the 2nd half Saturday afternoon, keying the Kennedy Catholic to a 49-38 conquest of Cochranton.
McLane rallies to beat Mercer in AA title tilt
In 1986, the Mercer Lady M’s won the school’s first and only girls basketball District 10 title at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House, but in the same gym on Saturday in 2014, the squad in blue wasn’t so lucky.
Mercer led the Gen. McLane Lady Lancers 27-19 entering the fourth quarter, but the Lancers outscored the Lady M’s 19-4 in the final frame to win the Class AA title tilt 38-31.
WM captures 3rd straight D-10 crown
EDINBORO — The West Middlesex Big Reds did it again! For the third straight year, the Big Reds, under the leadership of head coach Chad Mild, the winningest coach in West Middlesex school history, won the District 10 title with a thrilling 55-54 victory over the Fairview Tigers on Friday night at McComb Field House.
Farrell beats East for D-10 Class AAA title
MEADVILLE — Malik Miller was playing with a broken hand, but broke the hearts of East High’s basketball team.
Sophomore sharpshooter Miller mustered 19 markers — tossing in 4 from beyond the arc — helping forge Farrell to the District 10 Class AAA championship, 83-78.
Raiders hold lead at Northwest AA Region Tourney
Reynolds coach Casey Taylor had a simple, but fitting comment after the opening night of the Northwest AA Region Wrestling Championships at Sharon High School Friday:
“So far; so good!”
The defending champion Raiders, who are seeking a 17th region crown in school history, jumped into the team lead with 45 points Friday, heading second place Brookville with 35.
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