Muncy wrestlers earn Mid-Penn championship

SHICKSHINNY — Coleman Good grit his teeth as he held on for dear life against Benton’s Mason Wyatt. The Muncy sophomore had his hands locked around Wyatt’s chest, and his feet wrapped around Wyatt’s waist as the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard at Northwest High School.

The Indians didn’t absolutely need Good’s win at 152 pounds to beat Benton on Thursday night. But it sure made things a lot easier.

Muncy won the final three bouts of the night after watching a 31-point lead dwindle to just three, and it beat Benton, 44-28, at the Eddie Gayeski Memorial Gymnasium to win the Mid-Penn Conference title.

Good’s victory was as gutsy as the Indians’ last night. Muncy went 4-0 in conference matches to win the league title in its first year since the Mid-Penn re-formed this fall. Muncy built a 31-0 lead, watched Benton score 28 consecutive points, and found a way to win the final three bouts to beat its rival.

“We love wrestling Benton,” Muncy head coach Denny Harer said. “It’s a great-coached team, a hard-nosed team, and it’s always a physical match. So we love this atmosphere.”

Benton couldn’t pull out the necessary bonus points to overcome the forfeits it surrendered to start the dual. Not even the return of state placewinner Joe Klock, who hasn’t wrestled since Dec. 13, was enough to push the Tigers to a win. Now Benton finds itself with an 8-8 record with on dual left against Wyalusing before the cutoff date to get into the District 4 Duals. Teams must have a .500 record to qualify.

“Credit to Muncy. They scored points when they had to score them, and they held us off when they had to hold us off,” Benton first-year head coach Bryan Hart said. “We weren’t far off, and that’s the takeaway from this for us.”

Muncy led 18-0 before a match was even wrestled as Benton forfeited at 182, 195 and 220 pounds. And the forfeit at 220 allowed Harer to bump Hunter Poust, ranked ninth in the state at 220, up to heavyweight to take on Dylan Womelsdorf.

Poust, who suffered his lone loss of the season last Saturday up at heavyweight against Hughesville’s Josh Dauberman, made the most of this opportunity. After giving up a takedown in the first period on a bad shot, Poust scored the final four points of the bout, including a third-period reversal, to win 4-2.

His second-period ride of Womelsdorf was a thing of beauty. He threw in legs constantly to break down Womelsdorf flat, and then worked on getting a power half. Although he didn’t get a turn, it gave him a chance to tie the bout with an escape in the third. But Poust did one better, hitting a switch for a reversal. He added a stalling point to win, 4-2, in a toss-up bout which gave Muncy a 21-0 lead.

“He made that one mistake in the first period. But if we take that mistake away, I thought we dominated the match,” Harer said. “We want to put him in a position when the postseason comes where he’s ready to rock and roll.”

Muncy added bonus points at 106 with a Jacob Blair fall and 113 with a Mario Barberio major decision against Vayle Baker which gave Muncy its 31-0 lead. But that was when Benton went on its roll.

Third-ranked Cole Rhone picked up a fall at 120 pounds. Justin Wagner had a major decision at 126. Klock earned a fall in 55 seconds in his return, and Colton Babcock and Mike Stuart picked up falls at 138 and 145. Benton all but erased its deficit by the time Good and Wyatt took the mat at 152, with the Tigers trailing, 31-28, with four bouts to go.

“In our program, that’s not uncommon for the 10 years I’ve been here. We get down 30, then we storm right back,” Hart said. “The kids from 20 on up, overall I was impressed.”

“I thought we wrestled well through there,” Harer said. “Christian (Good) at 20, had a hammer, and I think Rhone is the real deal. I thought Jacob Hill stepped up tonight and wrestled a good match against a good kid (Wagner) and kept it to a major. We’re starting to get that fight that I’ve been looking for. We’re not going to win every match, but we can fight every match, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Good got off to a great start against Wyatt, scoring the first takedown. But Wyatt put him in a precarious situation later in the first period when it twice looked like he had a Peterson for a reversal and near-fall points. But both times, referee Mike Milward was on top of the action signaling Good still had control.

Good eventually bailed and gave up the reversal, but it would have been much worse. The two then traded points like prize fighters trade jabs. Wyatt took an 8-7 lead with 1:25 to go with a takedown. Just over 30 seconds later, Good caught Wyatt looking for a big move and scored a reversal to lead 9-8. There were four lead changes in the final 2:15 of the bout.

As Wyatt looked for an escape in the final 10 seconds, he again put Good in a precarious situation, forcing Good to hang on for dear life as the final seconds ticked away. Good improved to 22-2 this year despite dealing with an ankle injury.

The win gave Muncy a 34-28 lead, and Dan Hall and Noah Gush added wins to close out the Indians’ 21st victory.

“If he’s on, he’s tough. He can take almost anybody down,” Harer said. “We just need to get Coleman healthy. Most kids wouldn’t be competing right now, but he’s competing for us. We have two weeks, other than district duals, where we want to get him healthy.”

“Mason did a phenomenal job,” Hart said. “Do we have a defensive fall there? Maybe. Do we have two for a reversal and back points with the Peterson? Probably. But we put the kid in an awkward situation and we made him have to make a decision and he eventually bailed. But for Mason, that’s a quality match going into the postseason.”

182: Mike Kustanbauter, M, won by forfeit. 195: Tylor Rupert, M, won by forfeit. 220: Josh Hall, M, won by forfeit. 285: Hunter Poust, M, dec. Dylan Womelsdorf, 4-2. 106: Jacob Blair, M, pinned Zack Kremer, 2:27. 113: Mario Barberio, M, maj. dec. Vayle Baker, 9-0. 120: Cole Rhone, B, pinned Christian Good, 1:36. 126: Justin Wagner, B, maj. dec. Jacob Hill, 13-4. 132: Joe Klock, B, pinned Sam Pepper, :55. 138: Colton Babcock, B, pinned Chase Stark, :42. 145: Mike Stuart, B, pinned Gaveyn Eisenhower, 2:27. 152: Coleman Good, M, dec. Mason Wyatt, 9-8. 160: Dan Hall, M, pinned Kaleb Michael, 3:12. 170: Noah Gush, M, maj. dec. Luke Acornley, 17-3.

Takedowns: Muncy 16, Benton 15.

Official: Mike Milward.

Records: Muncy (21-3, 4-0 Mid-Penn); Benton (8-8, 3-1 Mid-Penn).