A Reynolds fan posed an interesting question Saturday at the Section 2-AA Wrestling Tournament at Sharon High School:
“Are we that good or are the rest of the teams down some this year?”
Whatever the answer — which could be definitively determined over the next two weekends — the Raiders certainly dominated the competition at sections and will send all 14 wrestlers to the District 10 AA Championships next weekend at Sharon. The two four finishers in each weight advance.
“Our goal was to get all 14 through and win the team title,” said a happy Reynolds coach Casey Taylor. “We were hoping to get all 14 in the finals, but three came up short. But the guys that lost in the semis were in competitive matches, some of the best of the tournament.
“We’d like to get all 14 through again next week, but we’ll have tougher competition then.”
Nine of the 11 Raiders’ finalists won section crowns, including repeat champions Seth Hogue (113), Levi Stoyer (145) and Mason McCollum (152), and the Blue and Grey ran away with the team title by posting 236.5 points. Lakeview was a distant second with 75. It marked the 44th section title for Reynolds in their illustrious history.
Also winning second straight section crowns were: Luke Walter (132) of Grove City and Sam Breese (285) of Lakeview.
For Reynolds, fresh off a second-place finish at the state duals, other champions were: Gage Bayless (106), Chaise Hauck (120), Michael Bartolo (126), Kegan Miller (160), Austin Moffett (182) and Cole Rickert (220).
Other individual section titlists were: Troy Hejazi (138) of Sharon; Dakota Geer (170) of Franklin; Marquis Spence (195) of Lakeview.
“Nine champions, I’m really happy with that,” said Reynolds Coach Taylor. “I’m not sure about records, but when I look at the nine I see four freshmen and Kegan Miller who never won a varsity match before this season. Then there are the guys like Levi, Mason, Seth, Austin and Michael who have been through this kind of thing the last couple of years. But this is a real tribute to the kids and how hard they’ve worked all year.
“I never come into a season and think that we are going to have a down year. And this team has really come a long way since the season started.”
Following is a look at the finals by weight class:
106 — Freshman Gage Bayless got the Reynolds juggernaut rolling in the finals as he took on fellow 9th-grader Hickory’s Dominic Vadala. Bayless nailed a quick takedown right into a cradle for an early lead 4-0 lead. Bayless (33-4) moved on to an 8-3 win over a battling Vadala (25-9).
113 — It was another Reynolds-Hickory clash here as Raider Seth Hogue tangled with Justin Walter. After no first-period points, Hogue (28-7) rode out the second frame. In the third, the Raider sophomore earned an escape and held on for a 1-0 victory and his second straight section crown. Walter, a junior, fell to 24-5 on the year.
120 — The Reynolds championship string continued as freshman Chaise Hauck (22-11) defeated Ben Shaffer of Mercer, 2-0. Hauck hit a strong double leg takedown in the first period lead and made it hold up the rest of the way against the Mustangs junior (15-11).
126 — It was four in a row for the Raiders as Michael Bartolo topped Sharon’s Austin Alfredo (21-7) in a physical battle. The Raider junior (28-8) was in control from the early going en route to an 8-2 triumph.
132 — Grove City junior Luke Walter recorded his second straight crown with a pin over Slippery Rock senior Matt Andrascik. Walter (31-3) jumped ahead with an early takedown, built a 6-2 lead then decked the Rocket (18-7) in 3:49. “I’m happy where he’s at right now,” said Grove City veteran mentor Marty Ruley. “Looking down the road to districts and regions he’ll have to wrestle well. We’re looking forward to it. He’s working hard in the room.”
138 — Sharon’s Troy Hejazi dominated from the start, built an 11-5 margin then pinned Hunter Cook of Franklin in 3:35. Hejazi scored a key 5-4 semifinal win over Reynolds’ Alex DiGregorio, who defeated the Tiger in an earlier dual.
“He really turned the corner a couple of weeks ago,” said Sharon coach Dave Ciafre of his senior (27-4). “In the room we see it and on the mat we see it.”
145 — Reynolds’ only returning state place-winner Levi Stoyer won his second straight section title in a hardfought, 10-5 win over a determined Derek Steetle of Franklin. Stoyer, a senior, moved to 24-3, while Steetle fell to 22-9.
152 — Reynolds’ Mason McCollum chalked up his second section crown in a row by defeating Grove City’s Chet Simoni, 8-2. McCollum picked up a first period takedown then led 5-2 after two frames. The Raider senior (31-2) pulled away for the win. The Eagles senior dropped to 13-4.
160 — Raider senior Kegan Miller led 5-0 after one period and rolled to a 8-3 victory over Grove City’s Kenny Bable (17-8). Miller (23-11) beat top-seeded Cory Buchanan of Sharon in the semis, 2-0.
170 — It was a tight contest between Reynolds junior Mike Millero and Franklin’s Dakota Geer, the top seed who came in to the match with a sparkling 28-1 record. The regulation bout ended 1-1. And the first 3 OT periods ended 2-2. Geer escaped in the ultimate tie-breaker period for a 3-2 triumph.
182 — Reynolds senior Austin Moffett grabbed the opening takedown from Eric Lucich of West Middlesex, who pinned top-seeded Beau Dignall of Sharon in the semis. Moffett led 7-3 after the first period and 12-4 after two.The Raider (15-5) went on to win 13-5 over the Big Reds junior (18-10).
195 — The final non-Reynolds finale of the night paired Sharpsville’s Chris Mueller against top-seed Marquis Spence of Lakeview. Spence jumped out with a first-period takedown and Mueller never caught up as the Sailor junior (23-5) posted a 9-3 win over the Blue Devils sophomore (26-7)
220 — Reynolds freshman Cole Rickert and Lakeview junior Andrew Clayton took the mat here. Rickert jumped on top 2-1 after the opening frame, and led 6-3 after two. The young, but talented Raider (23-6) came away with a 9-4 triumph over the Sailor (25-8).
285 — Defending state champion Sam Breese picked up another section crown here. The senior and only undefeated wrestler in the entire tournament handled Reynolds sophomore Gene Ringer for a fall in 1:26. Breese moved to 26-0 on the season, while Ringer went to 29-10.
“He’s wrestling with a lot of confidence,” said Lakeview coach Tom Tingley of his big man. “He’s wrestling well and only one match all year went the distance. I’m looking forward to his doing big things the next few weeks.”
106 - Gage Bayless (R) dec. Dominic Vadala (H), 8-3; 113 - Seth Hogue (R) dec. Justin Walter (H), 1-0; 120 - Chaise Hauck (R) dec. Ben Shaffer (M), 2-0; 126 - Michael Bartolo (R) dec. Austin Alfreno (Sn), 8-2; 132 - Luke Walter (GC) pinned Matt Andrascik (SR), 3:49; 138 - Troy Hejazi (Sn) pinned Hunter Cook (F), 3:35; 145 - Levi Stoyer (R) dec. Derek Steetle (F), 10-5; 152 - Mason McCollum (R) dec. Chet Simoni (GC), 8-2; 160 - Kegan Miller (R) dec. Kenny Bable (GC), 8-3; 170 - Dakota Geer (F) dec. Mike Millero (R), 3-2 UTB; 182 - Austin Moffett (R) maj. dec. Eric Lucich (WM), 13-5; 195 - Marquis Spence (L) dec. Chris Mueller (Sv), 9-3; 220 - Cole Rickert (R) dec. Andrew Clayton (L), 9-4; 285 - Sam Breese (L) pinned Gene Ringer (R), 1:26.
106 - Jules Hicklin (Sn) dec. Derick Uber (L), 6-4; 113 - Preston Hoover (M) maj. dec. Owen Clayton (L), 10-0; 120 - Jake Heim (L) pinned Nick Enos (Sv), 1:49; 126 - Stanford Dessaw (H) dec. Dreux Harper (F), 12-8; 132 - Joel Leise (R) pinned Jordan Templeton (Sn), 5-3; 138 - Alex DiGregorio (R) pinned Dalton Meals (GC), 7-3; 145 - Gavin Kroesen (WM) dec. Jared Sample (GC), 5-3; 152 - Noah Bianco (H) dec. Tyler Carey (F), 4-2; 160 - Cory Buchanan (Sn) dec. John Sims (H), 6-3; 170 - Troy Sagulla (M) dec. Giovanni Volpe (Sn), 3-1 SV; 182 - P.J. Campoli (Sv) dec. Beau Dignall (Sn), 4-1; 195 - Denton Zeronas (R) dec. Zane Wolf (SR), 3-2; 220 - Colton Smith (Sv) pinned Brad Garman (H), :13; 285 - Brian Phillips (M) pinned Mike McCool (SR), 4:30.
106 - Uber bye; Hicklin dec. Cory Bable (GC), 4-2; 113 - Hoover pinned Bryce Martin (GC), :50; Clayton pinned Markus Coxson (Sn), 2:48; 120 - Enos pinned Dan Templeton (Sn), 6:16 2OT; Heim dec. Mitchell Murray (WM), 3-1; 126 - Dessaw dec. Chris Micsky (M), 7-4; Harper dec. Dylan McConnell (L), 6-1; 132 - Leise maj. dec. Trevor Fowler (M), 11-2; Templeton dec. Austen Szuge (Sv), 5-3; 138 - DiGregorio pinned Brandon Dick (WM), 1:48; Meals dec. Kyle Boyd (H), 7-3; 145 - Kroesen pinned Jason Clark, 2:20; Sample maj. dec. Sam Garner (M), 13-3; 152 - Carey dec. Nick McClimans (Sn), 4-2 OT; Bianco pinned Eli Rutter (M), 4:25; 160 - Sims inj. Default over Dalton Hilliard (SR), 4:15; Buchanan pinned Hunter Exley (F), 1:57; 170 - Volpe pinned Robbie Thomas (H), 1:25; Sagulla dec. Solomon Daugherty (L), 4-2; 182 - Campoli pinned Nate Miller (F), 1:52; Dignall pinned Shane Slater (SR), 2:33; 195 - Zeronas pinned Bryce Laughlin (Sn), :47; Wolf bye; 220 - Garmen pinned Jake Llewellyn (Sv), 4:19; Smith dec. Jared Reppart (GC), 3-2; 285 - Phillips dec. Jeffery Spencer (WM), 7-5; McCool pinned Jared Miley (H), 4:21.
106 - Bayless pinned Uber, 3:09; Vadala dec. Hicklin, 5-3; 113 - Walter dec. Hoover, 6-5; Hogue pinned Clayton, 1:08; 120 - Hauck maj. dec. Enos, 11-2; Shaffer dec. Heim, 4-2 SV; 126 - Alfreno maj. dec. Harper, 15-7; Bartolo pinned Dessaw, 1:28; 132 - Walter dec. Leise, 4-2 SV; Andrascik dec. Templeton, 10-7; 138 - Hejazi dec. DiGregorio, 5-4; Cook dec. Boyd, 5-4 2OT; 145 - Stoyer pinned Kroesen, 3:06; Steetle dec. Sample, 8-5; 152 - Simoni dec. Rutter, 7-2; McCollum pinned Carey, 3:16; 160 - Miller dec. Buchanan, 2-0; Bable dec. Sims, 9-4; 170 - Geer tech fall Sagulla, 15-0, 5:53; Millero pinned Volpe, 1:33; 182 - Lucich pinned Dignall, 4:15; Moffett pinned Campoli, 3:56; 195 - Spence pinned Wolf, 2:28; Mueller dec. Zeronas, 3-2 UTB; 220 - Rickert dec. Smith, 7-4; Clayton pinned Llewellyn, 3:19; 285 - Breese pinned McCool, :37; Ringer dec. Spencer, 3-1.
106 - no matches; 113 - Coxson pinned Keigan Kadylak (F), :50; Martin dec. Andy Ryan (Sv), 2-0; 120 - Templeton pinned Nate Spielvogel (F), 3:43; Murray dec. Kelsey Brendlinger (SR), 7-5 SV; 126 - McConnell pinned Adam Johns (SR), :27; Micsky bye; 132 - Szuge forfeit; Fowler pinned Tyler Persing (F), :41; 138 - Dick dec. Eric Gawne (M), 2-0; Meals pinned Cody Persch (L), 3:31; 145 - Garner pinned Manfred Johns (SR), 4:40; Clark pinned Skyler Curry (L), 2:41; 152 - McClimans bye; Bianco dec. Jason Ash (WM), 6-0; 160 - Exley maj. dec. Marty Baughman (L), 14-0; Hilliard bye; 170 - Daugherty de. Joey Trippy (WM), 12-6; Thomas maj. dec. Cordell Sanders (GC), 11-0; 182 - Miller pinned Trent Legal (L), 1:37; Slater pinned Dom Lenzi (H), 3:34; 195 - no matches; 220 - Garman bye; Reppart pinned Tom Flanders (Sn), 2:49; 285 - Phillips bye; Miley pinned Kordes, 3:40.
A Reynolds fan posed an interesting question Saturday at the Section 2-AA Wrestling Tournament at Sharon High School:
Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships
HERSHEY, Pa. — Move over Rod Wright!
Lakeview senior heavyweight star Sam Breese had a goal coming into the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships this weekend at Hershey Giant Center — besides winning a second state crown, that is.
WM knocks off Neshannock in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — The notion of Trey Staunch sneaking up on opposing teams is laughable. At 6-foot-3 and approximately 225 pounds, the stout Staunch is not sneaking up on anyone.
However after posting a game-high 31-point, 18-rebound performance in West Middlesex High basketball team’s 76-66 PIAA Class AA playoffs opening-round win over Neshannock Saturday night, Staunch said opponents may have been overlooking the Big Reds.
Hickory girls 26-0, oust Johnstown
SLIPPERY ROCK — At Morrow Field House Saturday evening, the Hickory Lady Hornets kept the perfect season alive with a 63-37 state playoff first round win over the Greater Johnstown Trojans from District 6.
“It feels great to get the win (Saturday),” said veterans Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead. “We’ve been at this place over the last few years and we’ve been sent home in the first round so it was a huge win for us. I’m very proud of our team effort."
KC girls roll past California in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball team was in the ’hood Saturday afternoon.
Led by senior Taylor Hood, the Lady Golden Eagles eased past California, 53-34, in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
Lakeview's Breese to defend PIAA title
HERSHEY, Pa. — If you are Major League Baseball player, a .333 batting average is great. But in wrestling at the state tournament — not so much!
Out of the dozen wrestlers that Mercer County sent to Hershey for the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships, only four (.333) will reach the medal stand today — led by Lakeview senior Sam Breese who shoots for a second straight gold medal.
Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener
Montour High boys’ basketball coach Adam Kaufman lamented another season-ending setback. However there are several hundred coaches across the Commonwealth who envy his program’s recent success and would trade places with him in a heartbeat.
But during Friday night’s PIAA Class AAA playoff opener, Kaufman & Co. could not overcome those streaky Steelers ... those survivin’ Steelers.
“ ... Hey, survive and move on,” summarized Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse following Farrell’s 60-57 win at Sharon High.
GCC ousts Mercer in 1st round of PIAAs
The Mercer Lady Mustangs were outscored 16-4 in the final quarter of the first round of the state playoffs by the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions, ending their season Friday night 56-31 at Sharon High School.
Senior Lexie Arkwright had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double performance for the Lady M’s. She also snagged three steals. Adelyn Cook and Haylie Glass each added 4 points for Mercer.
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.
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