PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” Last season's injured-riddled and forfeit-destined Brookville wrestling team looked nothing like its 2010-2011 version.
Equipped with a full lineup, better health and a number of state-ranked grapplers, the Raiders handled the Chucks Thursday, 53-15.
Brookville, which forfeited three weight classes to the Chucks last year, filled all 14 weight classes Thursday. After entering last season's match against Punxsy with a 1-13 mark, this year's squad improved to 11-1 with Thursday's win. The Raiders' only loss this year was to Reynolds, which is consistently one of the state's best Class AA wrestling programs.
"We're just fortunate. We're healthy in a sense â€” we're banged up right now, but at least we have a full lineup," Brookville head coach Dave Klepfer said. "We have a bunch of kids that really enjoy the sport and work extremely hard. I'm happy to have the group and want to stay healthy going into the weekend."
Brookville won 11 of 14 weight classes, including a five-bout string that erased Punxsy's early 6-3 advantage.
Punxsy (10-11) jumped ahead with a fall in 2:26 from senior Duell Thompson (14-13) over Dylan Buffington before the Raiders won five consecutive bouts, including three by fall.
"That's one of the better teams in the state. They don't have any weak spots," Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy said. "You're not going to get a break in there anywhere. They're solid top to bottom."
Brookville's ability to win two early bouts by close decisions allowed the team to gain momentum going into its stronger and Punxsy's weaker weight classes.
Dylan Zimmerman started the night with a 4-2 overtime decision over Nathan McGregor (22-7) at 145 pounds, and Ron Clark edged C.J. Langley (13-15), 4-3, at 160.
"Both guys are battling knee injuries right now. They're pretty gutsy, especially Ron. They battled real hard until the very end, and that's what it takes to beat good guys," Klepfer said. "It was nice to get (those wins). We definitely like to get the momentum going in our favor. We knew we had some bonus points coming in some of the upper weights and some of the lower ones."
Clark's win tied the match at six before Tyler Dombrowski achieved a 9-1 major decision over Josh Neal (8-15) at 171 pounds.
What followed were three-straight victories by fall from Jacob Shields at 189, Logan Stout and 215 and Luke Geer at heavyweight. Shields needed just 56 seconds to best Punxsy senior Tige Woodson (12-17), Stout pinned Tyler Titus (3-22) in 1:28, and Geer's fall over Brennan Knarr (1-9) came in 53 seconds.
Punxsy stopped Brookville's 25-point surge when freshman Josh Schuckers (19-10) pinned Brady Mineweaser, but the Raiders' Trey Constable came back with a 13-5 major decision over Joel Bowers (16-12).
Constable's takedown with one second left clinched the major decision.
After that, Brock Zacherl registered a fall over Devan Snyder (6-22) in 3:36. Zacherl, who has lost just once so far in his freshman campaign, was ahead 16-3 when he earned the pin.
Punxsy's third and final senior, Kody Young, was out of action due to a knee injury, allowing Dustin Dombrowski to win by forfeit at 125 pounds.
What followed was Punxsy's final victory of the night in a 130-pound bout between junior Neko Cappella and freshman Brodie Zacherl.
Cappella (25-4) trailed 1-0 late in the third period before a takedown with 21 seconds pushed him ahead 2-1. Ten seconds later, Brodie Zacherl tied the bout at two with an escape, but Cappella's takedown with only two seconds remaining provided Punxsy with a 4-2 decision victory.
Two of each team's better wrestlers faced off at 135 pounds, where Brookville's Brett Smith used a reversal to take a 2-0 lead over Seth Spack in the second period. Smith then took Spack (24-5) to his back, and Smith eventually earned a win by fall in 3:00.
In the final bout of the night, Zach Vroman used a takedown and a third-period reversal to best Caesar Maruca (10-18), 4-0.
Punxsy's next match is Wednesday at St. Marys.View more articles in: