HOLLIDAYSBURG — In a tight wrestling match, a team has to finish strong to pull out the victory on the scoreboard.
Leading by a slim two points, 24-22, after the first eight weight classes, Punxsy could not hold on for the win.
Hollidaysburg’s middleweights propelled the home team to the match win, 51-30, with four wins in a row and five of the final six bouts.
“It’s tough going into a match giving up two forfeits and we had Brandon Wingert out,” noted Punxsy coach Eric Eddy.
The Chucks battled from 22 points down to see the heart of their lineup pin the Golden Tigers. Joel Bowers (120), Kaleb Young (126) and Josh Shuckers (132) all heard the mat be slapped in back-to-back-to-back falls. Travis Perry claimed the other Punxsy win with his own pin.
Starting at 220, Hollidaysburg’s Tevin Pulcine pinned Austin Covatch to begin the night. The host added six points by receiving a heavyweight forfeit for a 12-0 score.
At 106, the Chucks’ Eli Lambiotte, who had won his last seven matches, took on Damian Huff.
The freshman Lambiotte had Huff on his back all of the first period. He reversed Huff with a cross face into a cradle but could only net three near fall points as the period ended with Lambiotte leading 5-2.
Beginning in the up position, Lambiotte rode Huff well and put his foe in several more cradles but the home grappler was able to escape.
Later in the second frame, Huff swept around for his own reverse, getting Lambiotte out front, and proceeded in hitting a throw into a fall for the win.
“It was a good match for Eli. He really surprised Huff and the Hollidaysburg coaching staff,” noted Eddy.
Hollidaysburg extended its lead to 22-0 after Darren Bowers scored an 11-2 major decision over Punxsy’s Andrew Bullers, at 113.
The Chucks top four weight classes were up next and did not disappoint.
Bowers and Young both increased their season records to identical 15-1 marks in quick fashion.
Leading 7-0 after the first period, the 120-pound Bowers took care of the Golden Tigers’ Mark Kociola in the first 25 seconds for the fall and first visiting points.
In the 126 match, Young scored an early takedown and turned it into the second pin in a row in only 1:05 over the home team’s Nathan Hagg.
In a progressively faster amount of time, Shuckers was not to be outdone. The junior turned his two-point takedown into the third-straight fall in 55 seconds over Luciano Toscano at 132.
“(Bowers, Young and Shuckers) all did what we expected them to do,” added Eddy. “They did the job and took care of business.”
The visiting Chucks enjoyed their only brief lead, 24-22, when Perry Arrington (138) was given a forfeit.
While the forfeit gave Punxsy the advantage on the scoreboard, it forced Eddy to make some moves for the rest of the bouts.
“We had to make moves there (after Arrington’s forfeit). We had to bump the rest of our guys up a weight,” said the Punxsy coach.
The lineup shuffle did not turn out to benefit the Chucks, but completely the home squad.
Hollidaysburg’s brothers of Colton and Calob Walls started the key string of wins.
At 145, Colton recorded a fall in 1:05 over the Chucks’ Harry Batley. Calob took 5:17 for a five-point tech fall, 18-2, over Jeff Bottenhorn at 152 for a home 33-24 lead.
The Golden Tigers added back-to-back pins in the next two weight classes to seal the team win in the 160 and 170 matches with a 45-24 tally with two bouts remaining.
“The pin of Fischer (at 170) sealed the deal,” pointed out Eddy. “We expected a better match at 170, but Keegan was taken out quickly (in 1:11).”
Punxsy would put six more points to its cause via Perry to complete its night’s total.
Scoreless early on, Perry secured a high crotch into a double leg takedown for the opening two points over Hollidaysburg’s Nick Servello at 182. Perry put his foe into a bear hug and crunched him onto his back for the fall in 1:11 of the first period.
The Golden Tigers’ Van Lanzendorfer had his arm raised for the forfeit to officially finish the match at 195 and final score of 51-30.
Punxsy will be off until traveling to face St. Marys next Wednesday, Feb. 6, starting at 7 p.m.
The Chucks' wrestling round up from last Saturday's New Oxford Invitational will be in Friday's edition of The Spirit.