Wildcats lock up top seed

Central Mountain’s Alonzo Henry wrestles Mifflin County’s Kaden Knouse in the 152-pound bout on Wednesday. (JEFF FISHBEIN/For The Sun-Gazette)

LEWISTOWN — The Central Mountain wrestling team came into the season confident, focused and looking for some revenge after losing to Mifflin County in the District 6 Class AAA Dual Meet finals last year.

Wildcat coach Biff Walizer has balance, experience and skill at nearly every weight, and that poise was on display Wednesday night as Central Mountain locked up the top seed at duals with a 45-20 thrashing of Mifflin County, officially knocking the Huskies out of any chance of defending their title.

Central Mountain (11-0) won nine bouts, scoring bonus points in eight for the victory. Mifflin County fell to 6-8 on the season.

“Bonus points are always big. Coming into Mifflin County’s gym, regardless of their record, with the history between us, we knew they would wrestle hard and give us a good match, Walizer said. “They came out and fought hard. Getting those bonus points is something we’ve been preaching all season. Being able to get guys on a roll like that and pick up bonus points is big going into district duals.”

The Wildcats were down 11-7 early in the match and then won seven of the last nine bouts to salt the win.

At 138, Logan Long got the rally started with a fall in 2:33 over John Retherford to give Central Mountain a lead it would never relinquish. Logan Soo, subbing for Colton Weaver at 145, locked up a cradle in the third period and recorded the fall in 4:15 over Brian Smink, giving the Wildcats unexpected bonus points and a 19-11 advantage.

“That was nice in the third period. Logan has a nice cradle on top. He wrestled when he was younger and then took a few years off,” Walizer said. “He came back out this year, he’s a junior, and he’s got a few nice wins for us when he’s had to replace our starters. It’s nice to have that depth where a guy can step in and get bonus points for us.”

At 160, Asher Corl extended the Central Mountain lead to 23-14 with a 9-0 major decision over Drayson Sullivan. Corl scored a big five-point move in the first with a takedown and three-nearfall points off a picture-perfect spladle.

Mifflin County made it 23-20 when Trent Hidlay, ranked second in the state at 170, built a 14-5 lead before hitting a lateral drop on Tanner Weaver, also state ranked, and pinning him in 2:52.

The Wildcats swept the final four bouts. Caleb Turner defeated Austin Haubrick by a 13-1 major decision at 182, Tanner Riggle pinned Dylan Grassmyer in 4:05 of their 195-pound bout and Mahlik Houtz decked Hunter Wagner in 2:30 at 220. Richard Thompson picked up a forfeit at 285.

At 113, Dalton Bechdel pulled off a nice 7-5 upset over Joey Taptich, who came into the bout with a 14-6 record. Bechdel got the opening takedown, but Taptich escaped and scored a deuce of his own to take a 3-2 lead after one. A reversal by Taptich in the second made it 5-2 heading into the third. Bechdel chose neutral and late in the match, hit a headlock off a Taptich shot and took the Husky to his back for the five-point move and a key win in the dual meet.

“That was big. He came up with headlock attempt after the Taptich shot. On paper, it wasn’t a match we were counting on coming into the bout,” Walizer said. “Dalton made the drop after the two-pounds came in and he’s doing all right. We have him and Cody Coleman going back-and-forth but right know he has the spot. This was a good win for him.”

Geo Barzona, ranked seventh in the state, upped his record to 23-1 with a 22-9 major decision over Brian Burk at 120. Barzona recorded 10 of Central Mountain’s 22 takedowns in the match.

In a battle of state-ranked wrestlers, Noah Myers of Mifflin County eked out a 7-4 win over Seth Andrus at 126. Myers had three takedowns and an escape, while Andrus collected three escapes and a stall point.

“We still have a little time to get there but I feel we are moving in the right direction,” Walizer said. “I’m seeing good things from our younger guys who are coming along and our older guys seem to be hitting their stride. That’s all I can ask for right now at this point to keep moving in a positive direction.”

Central Mountain 45, Mifflin County 20

106: Christian Fisher (MC) maj. dec. Johnny Shreffler, 10-2. 113: Dalton Bechdel (CM) dec. Joey Taptich, 7-5. 120: Geo Barzona (CM) maj. dec. Derek Burk, 22-9. 126: Noah Myers (MC) dec. Seth Andrus, 7-4. 132: Logan Wise (MC) maj. dec. Seth Reese, 14-6. 138: Logan Long (CM) pinned John Retherford, 2:33. 145: Logan Soo (CM) pinned Brian Smink, 4:15. 152: Kaden Knouse (MC) dec. Alonzo Henry, 1-0. 160: Asher Corl (CM) maj. dec. Drayson Sullivan, 9-0. 170: Trent Hidlay (MC) pinned Colton Weaver, 2:52. 182: Caleb Turner (CM) maj. dec. Austin Haubrick, 13-1. 195: Tanner Riggle (CM) pinned Dylan Grassmyer, 4:05. 220: Mahlik Houtz (CM) pinned Hunter Wagner, 2:30. 285: Richard Thompson (CM) by forfeit.

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