PUNXSUTAWNEY — Improvement across the board. The junior Chucks' wrestlers recorded four falls and five wins in nine matches Tuesday afternoon against the Mountain Lions of Altoona in Punxsutawney.
Altoona claimed the match, 68-33, as Punxsy gave the visiting squad eight forfeits on the day.
"We saw a lot of improvement tonight compared to last week," noted Punxsy head coach Bill Burke. "We ended up giving them eight forfeits, and they gave only one back so we surrendered a total of 42 points due to our numbers."
Burke continued to point out, "The bright side is, however, that we did win on the mats taking five out of the nine bouts actually wrestled. So without all those forfeit points, the score would’ve been 27-20 in our favor. We can’t really complain about that."
The junior Chucks garnered pins from Zoie Smith (85), Stone Smith (110), Alex Young (165) and Blake Bizousky (185). At 122, Ryan Jones continued his strong early season with the other home win by an 8-3 decision.
"While we still have quite a bit of work to do, we definitely saw improvement, which is our main focus," added the Chucks coach.
The Mountain Lions went out to an 18-0 lead in the opening three weight classes. Starting at 250, Altoona's David Hess recorded the afternoon's first win in just 26 seconds over Caleb Harvey. The visitors received their first two forfeits in the 75-and 80-pound weights.
At 85, Zoie Smith took down Trevor Bonsell in the final seconds of the first period and escaped from the bottom 28 seconds into the second frame for a 3-0 lead. She rode Bonsell for most of the final period before recording the fall with 33.6 seconds remaining for the first Punxsy points, 18-6.
Altoona ran off four wins in a row to follow the first Punxsy victory to open a commanding 41-6 advantage.
Following a forfeit, Altoona's C.J. Manley shutout Brett Buck in the 90-pound match, 15-0 for the technical fall in 2:34 of the match. The Mountain Lions were given two more forfeits at 100 and 105.
Punxsy claimed the next three bouts that were wrestled.
In the 110-pound class, the junior Chucks' Stone Smith wasted no time, only 11 seconds, to take down Mason Stumpf. Smith stayed on the offensive until he pinned the Altoona foe with 2.5 seconds left in the first period.
Following a home 115-pound forfeit, Jones took the mat. The freshman went around behind Altoona's T.J. Becker for the takedown 30 seconds into the match. Leading 2-1 to start the second period on the bottom, Jones escaped right away and lifted Becker for a takedown to extend his advantage, 5-1.
Becker took down Jones in the first part of the third period before Jones escaped with 29 seconds and scored a two-point reversal 15 seconds later for what would be an 8-3 decision.
The next four weight classes saw forfeits, three by Punxsy and one by Altoona. Levi Campbell picked up the Altoona forfeit at 145 but the Punxsy still trailed, 59-21, in the team score.
Despite a late reversal and mat momentum, the junior Chucks' John Mark Miller suffered a 9-2 decision loss to Jacob Wike at 155.
At 165, Young was able to post the third Punxsy fall. He took down Bailey Davis two times in the first period for a 4-1 lead. Only 30 seconds into the second, the Chucks wrestler took Altoona's Davis down a third time and continued into the fall with 55 seconds remaining.
Leading 2-0 after a period, the Mountain Lions' Bryce Denny pinned Shaun Herndon with 47 seconds left in the second period of the 185-pound weight class.
In the first scoring bout at 210, Punxsy's Blake Bizousky dominated Michael Doucette. Bizousky scored at will in the first period with a takedown in the opening third of the first and turned the move into three near fall points and two additional back points for a 7-0 advantage.
Bizousky immediately reversed Altoona's Doucette to begin the second and turned it into the fall only 27 seconds into the frame.
The fourth Punxsy fall made the final team tally 68-33 but the home squad can be proud to have won five of the nine wrestled matches.
The two squads featured five exhibition matches to end the wrestling competition.
Highlighting the extra bouts, Jared Weber earned a fall in 3:44 over Alvin Shope.
Punxsy's Alexander Neal also led 5-4 late in the final exhibition match on an escape against Ben Weatherwalk. Weatherwalk bounced back to take down Neal with 13 seconds left and added three near fall points for a 9-5 decision.
"There are some key things we’ll go to work on right away in the practice room tomorrow night. And then, hopefully, we can carry some of the momentum from tonight over to Clearfield on Thursday," concluded the Punxsy coach.
The junior Chucks will be the opening feature Thursday night. Punxsy will have the junior high match start at 5:30 p.m. at Clearfield with the varsity grapplers taking the mat around 7 p.m.