Muncy claims its first PIAA Duals victory

MUNCY — Gavyn Eisen­hower was grinding along in his 160-pound bout for Muncy on Monday night, scoring points where he could and putting himself in position to open the night with a win.

After a third period takedown, he had ideas of bonus points. Less than a minute later, Eisenhower put Brockway’s Andrew Hickman on his back and didn’t let him off. His fall was an energy-booster in the preliminary round of the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships as Muncy defeated District 9 runner-up Brockway, 51-18.

The win was Muncy’s first in the state team tournament having lost its previous three matches in 2010 and 2011. The Indians advance to the first round where they face District 7 champion Burrell at the Giant Center in Hershey on Thursday at 2.

“It was his birthday (Monday), so happy birthday to him. But it was a great win to get us started,” Muncy’s Coleman Good said. “You could hear it in the crowd. Everyone was on their feet cheering for him, so it was a great way to start.”

The turnaround was quick from Saturday’s loss in the District 4 Duals final to Southern Columbia, but Muncy’s entire lineup mirrored the energy Eisen­hower brought to the night’s first dual. The Indians recorded eight bonus-point wins, and even when they lost, they held two Brockway’s best wrestlers to just decision victories.

“The kids came out and battled. They knew what was at stake,” Muncy head coach Denny Harer said. “I thought we had great pace. We took the fight to them, and even in the matches we lost, we were going right at them.”

This looked like a Muncy team which was more than ready for its first trip to the state team championships since 2011. There was no hangover from a disappointing loss to Southern Columbia, and there was no step back after a trio of strong performances at district duals.

Instead, Eisenhower injected life into the lineup with his fall which brought his record to 14-14 this season. He turned a win in a toss-up match against Hickman (13-12) into the bedrock in which the Indians built their first state duals win.

Mike Kustanbauter followed with a 6-4 win over 20-win Eric Johnson. Cael Hembury and Hunter Poust added back-to-back falls at 195 and 220 pounds to give Muncy an early 21-6 lead.

“That was an excellent tone to set,” Harer said of Eisenhower. “He’s a key part of the puzzle. He’s a very big part of the puzzle. And that’s the stuff he’s capable of doing. So that’s what we expect of him.”

“On paper, we knew we were in trouble coming in,” said Brockway head coach Eric Grecco, who is a Lycoming College graduate. “Credit to them because they wrestled hard, and it’s a real tough environment to wrestle in.”

Muncy led by nine as they made the turn to the lightweights and Jacob Blair and Mario Barberio scored consecutive technical falls in less than 7 combined minutes to push the lead to 31-12. After back-to-back decisions for Brockway from state-ranked Dominic Inzana and state placewinner Anthony Glasl, the Indians put the match away with a technical fall from Joe Klock in just 2:19 and a gutty 3-1 win from Ethan Gush.

As it did for the most part Saturday, Muncy pushed all the right buttons and got the results it needed to post the second-largest margin of victory in the Class AA preliminary round. Only Harbor Creek’s 54-16 win over McGuffy was by a larger margin than Muncy’s 33-point victory.

“We weren’t quite at the level of Saturday, but I didn’t expect that,” Harer said. “It’s hard to keep the kids at that level with having a day off and not being able to compete after a rough Saturday. It was tough to bounce back, but overall we wrestled really well.”

“It’s no easy road to states no matter how you make it. Saturday it didn’t turn out like we wanted it to, but we made it happen here,” Good said. “We always knew that was a second option for us. Whatever happens, you have to make the best out of it and I thought we did that.”

160: Gavyn Eisenhower, M, pinned Andrew Hickman, 5:10. 170: Mike Kustanbauter, M, dec. Eric Johnson, 6-4. 182: Garrett McClintick, B, pinned Josh Hall, 3:54. 195: Cael Hembury, M, pinned Pierce Yahner, 5:51. 220: Hunter Poust, M, pinned Justin Smith, :59. 285: Hayden Thompson, B, pinned Coty Steele, :42. 106: Jacob Blair, M, tech. fall Tanner Morelli, 16-1, 3:10. 113: Mario Barberio, M, tech. fall Ben Glasl, 17-2, 3:42. 120: Dominic Inzana, B, dec. Christian Good, 2-1. 126: Anthony Glasl, B, dec. Bryce Vollman, 5-0. 132: Joe Klock, M, tech. fall Noah Bash, 15-0, 2:19. 138: Ethan Gush, M, dec. Santino Inzana, 3-1. 145: Coleman Good, M, pinned Linkin Nichols, 5:25. 152: Noah Gush, M, pinned Bryce Grecco, :38.

Takedowns: Muncy 23, Brockway 4.

Officials: Rocky Miller, Mark Dawson.

Records: Muncy (21-3); Brockway (12-4).

Next: Muncy vs. Burrell, Thursday, 2 p.m. at PIAA Team Wrestling Championships in Hershey.