MILL HALL - For Central Mountain and Jersey Shore, the bucket came up empty in terms of going to the well searching for winners in the 2013 King of the Mountain Tournament.
As the two teams concluded the tournament, they had a combined total of four place winners, three for the Wildcats and one for the Bulldogs.
Entering the day's activities, both Chad Reese (160) and Gavin Caprio (170) were in the winners' bracket for Central Mountain. However, both Reese and Caprio fell back into the consolation bracket with losses in their first bouts.
Reese was nipped 8-6 by Jeric Kasunic of Benton in the semis, while Caprio lost 11-0 to Nick Cortopassi of Bethlehem Catholic, the eventual champion.
Both Wildcats bounced back from their losses with wins as Reese downed Devin Austin of Penn Trafford 7-2 before Caprio decked Brad Miscio of Benton in 2:46 for the right to battle for third at their respective weight classes.
However, as fate would have it for the pair of 'Cats, Reese was majored 11-1 by Dom Scalise of Greater Latrobe to finish fourth, while Caprio also fell in his bid for third when he was downed 5-1 by Jake Jakobsen of Stroudsburg.
In addition to Reese and Caprio, the Wildcats had another pair of wrestlers still alive for possible medals in Cameron Porter (220) and Bryce Hanley (285).
Porter eventually finished seventh with a 2-1 nod over Mifflin County's Timmy Pearce, while Hanley fell out of the money when he dropped his first bout of the day, a tough 3-2 overtime rideout loss to Ian Mallory of General McLane.
"I think we showed improvement, not only in terms of place winners, but just in the overall effort of our guys," said Central Mountain head coach Doug Buckwalter. "I think in many ways this year's King of the Mountain was even tougher than it was last year. That means our competition is getting better so we have to improve as the year goes on to be able to stay with them."
While the Wildcats had two wrestlers entering the second day still alive in the championship bracket, Jersey Shore's only survivor was in the consolation bracket, sophomore Hunter Zondory at 106.
Needing to stay alive and win at least one match to qualify for the medal round, Zondory did that and more as he claimed a forfeit win over Aaron Witherite of Bellefonte before pounding Chase Mowery of South Western 11-2 for a major decision.
Zondory saw his hopes of wrestling back for third evaporate in a 9-0 loss to Jakob Campbell of Boyertown. However, not to allow things to get away from him, he put an exclamation point on his fine tournament by pinning Hempfield's Vince DeStefanis in 4:28 of his place bout to finish fifth.
"He did extremely well," said Shore head coach Shawn Weaver about his lightweight. "Just battling to get in good position and stay there is a sign that he is improving every time he wrestles. He is very strong on top (position) and that is where he excels, but he is also getting better on his feet. There was a time three weeks ago where he couldn't get a takedown in our (wrestling) room and now is working and routinely getting takedowns. If he can expand that area of his abilities, he is just going to get a whole lot better."
The Bulldogs also entered the day with another pair of wrestlers still alive in the wrestle backs in Nate Lose and Dominic Loffredo.
However, in their first bouts of the day, Lose lost a tough 3-2 decision to Fort LeBeouf's Garrette Reinwald and Loffredo was out pointed 5-2 by Jack McGillick of Penn Trafford to just fall short of the medal round.
In the team standings, Central Mountain finished 18th with 79.5 points, while the Bulldogs wound up tied for 22nd with 60 points.