Muncy settles for runner-up spot after dropping final to Southern
By MITCH RUPERT
MILTON — Everything changed with one move. One move in the first match, in fact. The energy, the mood, the excitement level, and the echoing noise off the walls of The Jungle at Milton High School all changed thanks to Southern Columbia’s Jaret Lane.
The senior state champion was having the kitchen sink thrown at him by Muncy’s Christian Good and was staring down the barrel of only a major decision to open the Class AA final of the District 4 Duals on Saturday. But when he felt Good reach down for a leg, everything changed.
Lane brought the Southern crowd to its feet with a beauty of an elevator to put Good on his back and score the fall with only 34 seconds left in the bout. Southern carried that momentum with them even in bouts it lost yesterday. It saved bonus points where it could in its rematch against Muncy, it got key bonus points from Lane and Connor Fulmer in a 30-28 win over the Indians.
Southern Columbia won its second consecutive District 4 Duals championship with the win and advanced to the state tournament next week in Hershey. Muncy was handed its third runner-up finish since 2010. The Indians wrestle a PIAA preliminary match at home Monday night against District 9 runner-up Brockway at 7 p.m. Should it win, it would advance to Hershey on Thursday against District 7 champion Burrell.
Line Mountain avenged an earlier loss to Wyalusing by beating the Rams, 42-34, to take third place. The Eagles travel to District 3 runner-up Bishop McDevitt on Monday at 7 p.m. for a PIAA preliminary-round match.
Montoursville, the tournament’s second seed, fell to Muncy in the semifinals and dropped a last-bout match to Line Mountain in the consolation semifinals, 36-33. Warrior Run was eliminated after going 0-2 yesterday with losses to Southern Columbia (57-10) and Line Mountain (37-32).
“Everyone wrestled well, but not everything worked out in our favor,” Muncy senior Joe Klock said. “It’s very disappointing, but we have to pick it up on Monday and wrestle whoever is put in front of us.”
Everything had seemingly lined up for Muncy to be able to pull the upset against second-ranked Southern Columbia in their second go-round in the last two weeks. The Indians wrestled as well as they have all season posting a 61-12 win over Mount Carmel in the quarterfinals and a 56-18 win over Montoursville in the semifinals.
The Indians recorded a combined 14 falls in their first two matches of the day — seven against both Mount Carmel and Montoursville — and appeared to be firing on all cylinders. Southern Columbia appeared to be sluggish out of the gates and just didn’t have the fire which made it an all but indestructible force all season.
On top of that, Muncy won the coin flip for the final, meaning it got to dictate two crucial matchups at 170 and 182 pounds. The positive energy Muncy had built through two rounds grew more fierce as Good continued to make scoring opportunities minimal for Lane.
Then came the elevator from Lane. Then came the fall. Then came a momentum shift which never swung back to Muncy.
“That was the key to the match,” Southern Columbia head coach Jerry Marks said. “When you look back on it and you look at the bonus points in the match, there wasn’t a lot of bonus points that we got. And his six with a minute to go in the third period was huge for our team.”
“He’s really good defensively. I kept getting to my shots and takedowns, but I couldn’t get back points,” Lane said. “I’m good defensively myself and I felt if he would grab my leg or something I could lock him up in a cradle or something. I let him grab it, I hooked up that elevator and tossed him on his back.”
Muncy had its share of crucial wins throughout the dual. Bryce Vollman’s 3-2 ultimate tie-breaker win at 126 pounds was a win the Indians had to have. Mike Kustanbauter’s 7-6 win over Anthony Scicchitano up a weight at 182 was a win it didn’t get in the first matchup.
But neither of those wins carried the momentum of Lane’s fall. They were critical in Muncy keeping the match close and grinding our three points where they could get them. But the bonus points like Southern got from Lane, Fulmer and a forfeit to Gaige Garcia didn’t come for the Indians until Jacob Blair and Mario Barberio accepted forfeits in the final two bouts of the night with the match out of reach.
The difference in the bout was Southern’s ability to get those bonus points. Of Muncy’s five wins in contested bouts, four were by decision. With a chance to get a late takedown for a major decision, Coleman Good instead was taken down by Southern’s Tyler Waltman and held to a 13-8 decision.
After scoring a technical fall over Sean Sprague two weeks ago, Hunter Poust’s offense was slowed down and he was held to a 5-1 victory at 220 pounds. And even though Klock was brilliant on his feet to the tune of nine takedowns, he couldn’t turn Jake Renn for back points. His 20-9 major decision was Muncy’s lone bonus-point win.
“They definitely beat us on bonus points and it drives me nuts,” Klock said. “Renn’s a fighter. He’s definitely a fighter and he’s a good kid.”
“We’re right there. I think we’re two evenly matched teams,” Muncy head coach Denny Harer said. “Tonight they got more bonus points and they got more of the tight matches that could go either way. For us to beat them, we have to win those matches.”