HERSHEY — It was a battle of familiar foes Friday night in the PIAA State Class AA Dual-Meet Championships when Reynolds and Boiling Springs clashed for a 3rd straight year.
This time the meeting was much sweeter for the Raiders in Chocolatetown in the tourney semifinals, as coach Casey Taylor’s squad scored a 31-20 triumph to move into today’s 1 p.m. finals against 2-time defending champion Bethlehem Catholic.
“That was unbelieveable!” said Taylor, whose team lost to the Bubblers the last 2 seasons. “There were so many close matches it was hard to keep track of where we were going. It was a great total team effort.
“The happingess couldn’t be any bigger. But the coaching staff is going to ground them and tell them we have a tough task (today).
“Bethlehem Catholic is a great team. But we’ll try everything we can. If we come out with all guns blazing and at the top of our game like (Friday), we can hang with them. I have faith in our guys.”
Friday’s victory was a bit of redemption for Reynolds, which had dropped close decisions to the Bubblers at state, 31-30 in 2012 and 33-28 in 2011.
Boiling Springs is coached by Rod Wright, former Lakeview High mat star.
Raider senior star Austin Matthews got the team rolling in the semifinals with a pin at 152, but the Bubblers bounced back when John Vaughn decisioned Curtis Arnold at 160, 5-2.
At 170, Reynolds’ Mike Millero took on Connor Murphy in a tight battle. The bout was 1-1 after regulation, then in overtime Millero pulled out a 3-2 win after the 3 tie-breaker periods, a penalty point helping in the decision.
Raider Austin Moffett at 182 built a 4-1 lead in the 1st period over Anton Morrow and made it hold up for a 5-4 victory and a 12-3 Reynolds lead. Reynolds’ Jamar Henry boosted the team margin to 15-3 with a thrilling 6-4 win over Kyle Taylor, scoring a takedown at the final buzzer.
At 220, Reynolds’ Logan Rickert tangled with Calvin Barrick in another burner. Rickert notched a takedown in the 1st overtime period for a 3-1 win. The knack for winning close matches continued at heavyweight as Raider freshman Gene Ringer grabbed a takedown in overtime for a 3-1 victory over Noah Davis.
Turning the line-up over to the lightweights, also ended the close bouts. Raider frosh Seth Hogue picked up a 59-second fall at 106 and Reynolds was on top by a whopping 27-3 margin, which they would need.
At 113, Bubblers’ state runner-up Korbin Myers stopped the bleeding for his squad and he was too much for Mike Bartolo and Myers racked up a major decision.
It was back to tight battles at 120 as Raider Nick Nottingham dropped a 6-4 decision to A.J. Kostyak. The Bubblers won another at 126 as Grant Bond took a 6-4 decision over Mason McCollum and cut the Raiders’ lead to 27-13.
The Boiling Springs rally continued at 132, as Bubbler ace Kyle Shoop took on Cam Cianci, who built an early lead but couldn’t hold on and Shoop prevailed by a 16-4 margin.
That cut Reynolds’ lead to 27-17 with 2 matches left.
At 138, Raider senior Matt Leise faced Andrew Mellott and again there was an overtime finish. Mellott won 6-4 with a takedown, but the loss still locked up the team victory barring team penalty points.
In the final bout of the night, Raider Levi Stoyer made sure there were no questions as he rolled over Tyler Kaufmann by a 10-1 count.
“Coming into today, I had no real concrete idea what was going to happen,” said Taylor, whose Raiders rocked West Branch in the quarterfinals. “From the start of first match until Levi finishing up, it was a great effort. I got about 30 texts from the home front. And what I say to them is: “I love this team. At the start of the year, they weren’t even expected to be here. But they set goals and achieved them
“We beat three quality teams here and this team is as fun as any I’ve ever been around. The Manheim tournament, when we spent 9 hours on the bus (because of snowy weather) really changed our team it brought us together. That weekend started it all clicking for us.”
And Taylor hopes the clicking continues for one more match.
Notes: Taylor and Boiling Springs coach Wright were both three-time PIAA state champions, Taylor at Reynolds and Wright at Lakeview. Mercer County has had four 3-timers; Taylor (1993-95), Wright (1985-87), Farrell’s George Lewis (1944-46) and Reynolds’ Justin Nestor (1998, 2000-01). ... While the Reynolds-Boiling Springs rivalry has been a focus at state the last 3 years, ironically Wright is married to a 1985 Reynolds grad, Michealle Arthurholt. ... The other two District 10 representatives at state, Fort LeBoeuf and Saegertown, will clash at 9 a.m. today in the consolations. The winner will then take on Boiling Springs. ... Beth Catholic mauled Bermudian Springs, 48-9, in their semifinal.
ä Reynolds 45, West Branch 19 — After a somewhat disappointing showing in a close victory over Saucon Valley Thursday afternoon, the Raiders bounced back with a vengeance on Friday afternoon.
The Raiders routed the District 6 champion West Branch, recording 4 pins. Notching falls for Reynolds were: McCollum (126), Stoyer (145), Matthews (152) and Rickert (220). Bartolo (113) picked up a tech fall and Millero (160) a major decision to spark the victory.
PIAA AA DUAL MEET
REYNOLDS 31, BOILING SPRINGS 20
152 -- Austin Matthews (R) pinned Derick Byers, 0:55; 160 -- John Vaughn (BS) dec. Curtis Arnold, 5-2; 170 - Mike Millero (R) dec. Connor Murphy, 3-2, TB; 182 - Austin Moffett (R) dec. Anton Morrow, 5-4; 195 -- Jamar Henry (R) dec. Kyle Taylor, 6-4; 220 - Logan Rickert (R) dec. Calvin Barrick, 3-1 OT; 285 -- Gene Ringer (R) dec. Noah Davis, 3-1 OT; 106 -- Seth Hogue (R) pinned Jonathan Day, :59; 113 -- Korbin Myers (BS) major dec. Mike Bartolo, 13-3; 120 -- A.J. Kostyak (BS) dec. Nick Nottingham, 6-4; 126 -- Grant Bond (BS) dec. Mason McCollum; 132 -- Kyle Shoop (BS) major dec. Cam Cianci, 16-4; 138 -- Andrew Mellott (BS) dec. Matt Leise, 6-4 (OT); 145 --- Levi Stoyer (R) major dec. Tyler Kaufmann, 10-1.
REYNOLDS 45, WEST BRANCH 19
106 -- Hogue (R) dec. Dustin Deliman, 6-2; 113 -- Bartolo (R) tech fall over Wyatt Sankey, 16-0, 4:11; 120 -- Nottingham (R) dec. Jacob Brown, 4-0; 126 -- McCollum (R) pinned Kaleb Quick, 3:31; 132 -- John Hayles (WB) pinned Dallas Sposito, 2:47; 138 -- Parker Bumbarger (WB) dec. Neal Engstrom, 8-3; 145 -- Stoyer (R) pinned Clayton Green, 1:24; 152 -- Matthews (R) pinned Luke Slippey, 1:16; 160 -- Millero (R) major dec. Conor Myers, 15-3; 170 - Lucas Kristofits (WB) dec. Curtis Arnold, 11-2; 182 -- Moffett (R) dec. Vincent McDowell, 12-6; 195 -- Henry (R) dec. Robert Pearce, 7-1; 220 -- Rickert (R) pinned Reynold Maines, 0:47; 285 -- Morgan Selepack (WB) pinned Ringer, 0:49.