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CURWENSVILLE â€” Punxsy's junior high school wrestlers won 10-of-11 matches that took place on the mat in Curwensville, losing 18 points by forfeit, to cruise to a 54-24 victory over the Golden Tide Thursday night in Curwensville.
"We were pretty pleased with our kids" performances at Curwensville," Punxsy head coach Bill Burke said. "We have to be, considering we only lost one bout on the mat. I was a little worried about how they would perform, being that we haven't wrestled since Dec. 21."
Burke said the main concern with a long layoff that the Chucks had is the issue of losing the competitive edge that comes with dual meets.
"Practice was becoming a little monotonous and boring to say the least," he said. "It was nice to get back to competitive action, and those guys proved they were ready. We saw a lot of nice things and a lot of heart."
The team competition started at 95 pounds with Punxsy's Eli Lambiotte earning a quick victory by pin in just 38 seconds over Eli Jacobs to give Punxsy a 6-0 lead.
Unfortunately for the Chucks, they were unable to send competitors out in the next two weight classes, giving Curwensville's Shae Bloom and Aryan Shearer victories by forfeit at 100 and 105 pounds, respectively, and giving the Golden Tide a 12-6 team lead.
At 110 pounds, Punxsy's Ryan Jones cut into the gap with a four-point major decision over Olivia Charles.
There was no match at 115 pounds, and Punxsy rattled off five straight victories after Jones' to take a 37-12 lead and put the match out of reach.
At 122 pounds, Punxsy's Kaleb Young pinned Jordan Peters in 2:49 to give Punxsy the lead back at 16-12.
Punxsy's next three victories came by fall as well, with Jonathan Koper pinning Austin Swatsworth in 2:02 at 130 pounds; Levi Campbell pinning Korie Laird in 2:50 at 138 pounds; and Jeff Bottenhorn pinning Kaleb Witherite in 3:56 at 145 pounds to extend the gap to 34-12.
Keegan Fischer brought Punxsy's six-match streak to a close with a 5-1 decision over Curwensville's Ben Junod.
Curwensville's Shawn Ebersole was awarded a victory by forfeit at 165 pounds to put the Tide back on the board, but with no match at 185 pounds, Travis Perry pinned A.J. Bloom 2:08 into the 210- pound bout to give Punxsy back the six points it had lost.
"I can't say enough about guys like Levi Campbell and Travis Perry, who both wrestled up in weight and got big wins for us," Burke said.
Seth Connors, of Curwensville, was the only Golden Tide wrestler to earn his team points on the mat, as he defeated Austin Covatch via pin 46 seconds into the 250 pound match to bring the score to 43-24.
Connors' points were the last his team earned, though, as Zoie Smith earned a 16-0 technical fall over Curwensville's Jeff Harvey at 80 pounds, and Brett Buck pinned Jason Koptchak in 2:32 in the 85-pound battle to set the final score at 54-24.
Overall, Burke was very pleased with his squad's performance.
"We made some small, but correctable, mistakes here and there, but we overcame those in the long run," he said. "We certainly can't complain about collecting seven pins, while giving up three forfeits. The kids really stepped it up as a team, as well as individually."
Punxsy hopes to keep it rolling against a perennially difficult opponent in long-time rival Brookville Tuesday.
"We need to stay in this mode going into Brookville (this) week," Burke said. "We haven't seen them anywhere yet, but they're always tough. I've heard their numbers are down this year, too. So, it could be a matter of who gets the best match-ups."
After a loss to the Raiders last year at the junior high level, Burke wants his team to enter the contest with one thing on its mind: Revenge.
"We owe them one from last year, so I'm going to do everything I can to get our guys ready for this one," he said.
The junior high contest at Brookville will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and the varsity match will follow.View more articles in: