CLARION — The night session and the opening edition of the District IX/IV AAA wrestling championships started Friday, and the foes of the Chucks started to fall one after another.
Punxsy posted a strong first night of action in the district championships held at Clarion University’s Tippin Gym.
The Chucks claimed three falls in their opening three bouts and two major decisions in the next two before adding a fourth pin to begin 6-0.
Punxsy finished the preliminary and round I consolations at 7-6 and had only one wrestler not alive for the second day.
“Overall, I am pretty happy. I liked the addition of the four District IV teams this year,” noted Punxsy head coach Eric Eddy. “We were pretty solid from the 106 through 145 weight classes with all wins.”
In fact, the solid run of six wins started on the very first match of the preliminary session. The Chucks’ Eil Lambiotte ran to the mat for his bout with Nick Gittens of Shikellamy.
After initial sparring, the Punxsy fourth-seeded freshman scored the bout's first points with a takedown 54 seconds into the first period.
The lead did not last the rest of the period as Gittens notched a reverse with eight seconds left for a tie at 2.
The two foes stayed at a 2-2 deadlock through the second frame.
Being on top for the second period in a row, Lambiotte quickly broke down Gittens and turned the move into a fall with 1:19 showing in the match.
Lambiotte (11-4) will move on to face top-seed Roshaun Cooley (20-0) of Williamsport in the semifinals. Cooley received a quarterfinal bye.
Only moments later, Andrew Bullers strode to the center mat for his meeting with Ethan Fox of St. Marys at 113. The matchup would end up a repeat of the outcome from two weeks ago in St. Marys.
After a scoreless first minute and a half, Fox took Bullers down. The Fox advantage lasted but 11 seconds as Bullers reversed the hold and rode the move right into a fall with five seconds left in the first period. The fall was 41 seconds faster for the Punxsy 113-pounder.
Bullers' (7-11) level of difficulty will greatly increase in the semifinals.
Top-seed Bryce Swauger (24-8) of DuBois will be Bullers next opponent.
At 120, Punxsy’s Joel Bowers (19-1) was the only hometown grappler to have a comfortable evening.
Being the top-seed, Bowers earned a bye into the semifinals, where he will face fifth-seed Tyler Hepler (13-15) of Shikellamy.
As has been the case in the later season, first-year Chuck Kaleb Young made quick work of Matt Sherman of Williamsport in the 126 class. Young rushed in for a takedown in the first eight seconds and worked the advantage right into a fall in a total of 30 seconds.
The second-seeded Young (20-1) will move on in the winners' bracket in a semifinal meeting against third-seed Colton Killion (16-12) of Jersey Shore.
In a 132-pound rematch from last Thursday night, Punxsy’s Josh Shuckers tried to make it two in a row over Dylan Zimmerman of DuBois.
Shuckers recorded a 4-0 shutout of Zimmerman last week, but Friday night went much better for the Chucks grappler. Shuckers recorded two first-period takedowns to open a 4-1 lead.
The Punxsy junior rode Zimmerman the whole second period to keep the same score.
In the third, Shuckers escaped in the first 40 seconds, scored a takedown and added three near fall points for the 10-1 major decision.
Shuckers (14-6) moves into the semifinals to face second-seed Tristan Paul (17-5) of Shikellamy.
The Punxsy winning continued at the 138 weight class.
Defending district champ Perry Arrington made his first bout toward repeating the title a successful one.
The second-seeded Punxsy sophomore rushed in against seventh-seed Nick Cashdollar from Shikellamy for a 2-0 tally with 40 seconds in the opening period.
Arrington added an escape and a reverse, as well as a penalty point, for an illegal hold by Cashdollar to go in front 6-0.
Arrington finished his workmanlike performance by taking the final frame, 5-2, for an 11-2 major decision win.
The second-year Chuck (15-5) will move to the semifinals against St. Marys’ Alex Coudriet (15-12). The two wrestlers did not face each other in St. Marys.
One last Punxsy victory went into the winning run.
At 145, fifth-seeded Jeffrey Bottenhorn surprised fourth-seed Dustin Heiser of Williamsport. Heiser held a 2-1 lead after the first period and started from the down for the second frame.
Heiser extended the difference with an early escape and then took down Bottenhorn at 1:12 in the second period. The Millionaire rode the takedown into a three-point near fall.
Right after receiving the points from the official, Heiser was reversed by Bottenhorn, who turned the momentum into a power move and fall with 34 seconds left in the second period.
Bottenhorn will try to tackle top-seed Nolan Barger (29-1) of Clearfield. Barger scored a 17-0 shutout of Selinsgrove’s Logan Boyer.
At 152, Keegan Fischer drew the tough matchup of second-seed Josh Corignani of Bradford.
The two opponents were tied at 4 in the third period when Corignani threw Fischer to the mat for an eventual fall.
“Fischer wrestled number two Corignani tough. He wrestled a heck of a match,” said Eddy. “At 4-4, he came up chest-to-chest, and Corignani was able to take advantage there.”
Fischer did bounce back in his wrestleback a short time later. Leading 5-3 in the third period, the Punxsy sophomore turned a takedown into a fall with seven seconds left in the third period to defeat Jaiden Shannon of Williamsport.
Fischer will continue in the second consolation round against Clearfield’s Michael Beck.
In the 160 weight, Justice Vance held his ground against second-seed John Rohrbach of Shikellamy.
The Punxsy wrestler led 1-0 with an early second-period escape, only to be taken down a few moments later and pinned with 29 seconds remaining in the frame.
Vance dropped his wrestleback bout with the same fall result to Spencer Lane of Jersey Shore in 55 seconds.
“Vance is the only one out of the tournament. His second match came down to experience. He could have scored two points on a reversal but chose to take the one-point escape but ended up being pinned after it,” explained Eddy.
At 170, Travis Perry produced two first-period takedowns of Shikellamy’s Darryl Englehart for a 4-3 lead.
The lead evaporated in the second period when Englehart moved in front 8-5.
The Shikellamy wrestler added two back points for the eventual 10-5 win.
“Perry took the lead but seemed to be gassed by the third period tonight,” said Eddy.
Perry will move to the consolation round where he will take on Selinsgrove’s Darion Lavanowitz.
Punxsy’s lone senior, Brandon Wingert, faced Shikellamy’s Jesse Shambach at 182.
Shambach scored a takedown in the opening 10 seconds and took the next near minute to convert it into a fall with 58 seconds left in the first period.
Wingert will meet Williamsport’s Malik Short in his consolation bout.
At 220, the Chucks’ Austin Covatch lost by fall to top-seed Nick Davido of DuBois.
Covatch will be in a wrestleback against Jake Huling of Jersey Shore in this morning's session.
Today's action will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the semifinal matches as well as round II of the consolations.
The consolation finals will begin at 5:30 p.m. before the AA and AAA finals will take to the mat at approximately 6:30 p.m.