Chucks win big, improve to 11-1 on season

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Filling nearly every weight class has benefitted the Punxsy junior-high wrestling team all season, and Wednesday night against Redbank Valley was no different, as the Chucks earned a 72-13 victory at home.

Punxsy would have won 36-13 on the mat if not for six forfeits, but with those easy wins, it registered the 59-point win. The Chucks (11-1) all but clinched their 11th-straight victory by scoring the first 36 points of the match.

"(This was) another pretty good night on the mats, and the forfeits helped run up the score once again," Punxsy head coach Bill Burke said. "I thought this one would have been a little closer, but their low numbers surprised me, and our guys did a really nice job once again. We have to be pleased."

Punxsy won seven of 10 bouts, including five victories by fall and two via decision.

The match started with the closest bout of the night, as Eli Lambiotte needed overtime to do away with Kolbin Altobelli. With the bout tied at four, Lambiotte (19-4) used a takedown and three back points to win 9-4 in extra time.

A pair of forfeits earned by Andrew Bullers (10-10) and Ryan Jones (14-10) was followed by Kaleb Young's pin fall victory over Tanner Altobelli. Young improved to 22-0 on the season with the fall in 2:18.

Derek Conrad (6-4), who was named one of the Punxsy junior-high Wrestlers of the Week, continued Punxsy's hot start with a 9-2 victory over Austin Schreckengost, and Darin James (14-5) followed with another forfeit win.

Punxsy's 36-0 run to start the match was completed once Matt Burke (13-4) pinned Zane Rapp in 42 seconds.

The Bulldogs reached the scoreboard for the first time when Keshon Truitt took out Jaydon Grusky (16-7) by a 14-5 major decision. Punxsy quickly regained control of the match once Perry Arrington (22-2) pinned Luke Gallo at 3:58.

Arrington took an early 7-1 lead through one period before jumping ahead 11-1 entering the final period thanks to a reversal and two back points.

Gallo registered a reversal at the start of the final period, but Arrington reversed things into a third-period fall.

Redbank's only win by fall came from Keegan Bell, who bested Jeff Bottenhorn (11-10) in 2:40. But Punxsy scored the match's next 30 points thanks to two falls and three forfeits.

The surge started when Logan Rend (13-9) pinned Kaven Hornberger in 3:23. Rend trailed 4-2 after two periods, but he persevered to earn a third-period reversal that led to a pin.

Rend joined Conrad as Punxsy's Wrestlers of the Week.

Three-straight forfeits by Keegan Fischer (16-6), Austin Covatch (3-19) and Travis Perry (17-6) bumped Punxsy's lead to 66-10, and the Chucks' final points came from Troy Peace (20-5), who pinned Cal Haines in 2:50.

Peace became one of three Punxsy wrestlers to earn 20 wins already this season, and a number of other Chucks are well on their way to also earning that distinction.

The final bout of the night was at 75 pounds, where Ryan Kube bested Zoie Smith (11-12), 7-0.

There were six exhibition bouts after the match, with Connor Rees earning Punxsy's only win. He pinned Brooke Emmings in 2:57.

The closest of Punxsy's exhibition losses came from Andrew Bullers, who was defeated by Kolbin Altobelli, 4-0.

The junior-high Chucks wrestle next at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Clarion. The following weekend will be Punxsy's host tournament.

"I feel pretty confident about Clarion, but we have to stay focused," Burke said. "They do have a few decent wrestlers."