20 area wrestlers qualify for PIAA tournament

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette Muncy’s Joe Klock is wrapped up by Benton’s Cole Rhone during their 132-pound championship match at the Class AA Northeast Regional at Williamsport High School on Saturday.

Hunter Poust couldn’t help but think about it. He didn’t wrestle particularly well in his first two matches of the PIAA Class AA Northeast Regional Tournament, and he couldn’t help but wonder if he jinxed himself by getting rid of the jet black hair he’s been sporting for the last month.

He rid himself of that thought after Saturday night’s 220-pound final. Poust won his third consecutive postseason tournament, posting a 7-5 win over Western Wayne state qualifier Cole Fuller, putting him at ease with his follicle transformation.

“After the first two matches, I was like I hope that isn’t the problem,” Poust said with a smile.

Poust was one of four local wrestlers to capture a championship Saturday, and one of 20 local wrestlers to finish in the Top 4 and earn a spot in next week’s PIAA Class AA tournament in Hershey.

Joining him atop the podium were Montoursville’s Wyatt Lutz (113 pounds), Dylan Bennett (145) and Gavin Hoffman (195).

Taking runner-up finishes were Muncy’s Christian Good (120), Joe Klock (132) and Noah Gush (152), Warrior Run’s Noah Hunt (113), Milton’s Noah Stamm (138), Jersey Shore’s Hunter O’Connor (182) and North Penn-Liberty’s Justin Kriner (285).

Finishing in third were Hughesville’s Luke Gorg (120), Warrior Run’s Jeremy Hanford (126), Sullivan County’s Nate Higley (132), Canton’s Timmy Ward (152), Lewisburg’s Andrew Shedleski (182) and Montoursville’s Cameron Wood (220).

Taking fourth were Lewisburg’s Justin Gessner (120), Muncy’s Coleman Good (145) and Warrior Run’s Christian Wachter (182).

Of the 20 local state qualifiers, 10 of them qualified for the first time, including Bennett, who became Montoursville’s first freshman regional champion since Luke Frey in 2008.

Poust is not one of those first-time state qualifiers. The senior was there a year ago, and at that point he was happy with just being there. The Muncy senior has seen his focus change this year to winning the state tournament.

It’s all part of the transformation Poust has undergone this year from really good wrestler to feared wrestler. He’s been ranked in the top five in the state for much of the year and he’s won 35 consecutive bouts, dating to the final of the King of the Mountain on the second weekend of the season.

He’s been wrestling like someone who should be feared, too. Of the 35 matches in his current winning streak, 23 have ended with a fall. And prior to the regional tournament, all five of his postseason matches had ended in a fall.

Then came this weekend when he opened with a 4-1 win over returning state qualifier Mike Wilcox of Wyalusing. He followed it with a 2-0 win over Lewisburg’s Dakotah Snyder in Saturday’s semifinal.

Not getting his offense going like he wants to, that’s when Poust began questioning his decision to cut his hair. He’s sported black hair since the Indians qualified for the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships the first weekend of February. While the rest of his Muncy teammates dyed their hair blonde for the state tournament, Poust dyed his naturally blonde hair black.

A haircut this week removed pretty much all the remnants of that dye job. But it didn’t remove his ability to win. His win over Fuller in the final last night was a dominant showing against a tough opponent as he broke out to a 7-2 lead before coasting to the victory.

“It’s my senior year and there’s nothing left to lose,” Poust said. “I just have to go for everything I can and be the best I can be on the mat.”

A year ago, Poust was battling with Jersey Shore’s Max Mason throughout the postseason. He lost to Mason in the 220-pound final of the Central Sectional, District 4, and Northeast Regional tournaments before eventually losing to him again in the blood round of the state tournament, falling one win shy of a state medal. Mason went on to finish fourth.

This season has been about Poust proving he’s not only capable of winning on that level, but worth of a lofty state ranking. He’s done nothing to dissuade anybody he’s anything but deserving of his current No. 5 ranking in the state.

On the championship stage again last night, Poust took his match to Fuller, forcing what he wanted to do on the returning state qualifier. His early five-point lead forced Fuller to play catch-up late.

“I knew he was strong because I wrestled him last year,” Poust said. “And I knew he was quick and aggressive, too. So I wanted to get to my ties in neutral and not let him get to what he needed. I got to my shots and did what I needed to do.”

While he’s feeling much more confident heading into the state tournament than he did a year ago, Poust isn’t letting that get to his head. He’s keeping on his main focus of one match at a time.

It’s that focus which has allowed him to put together the best match he could against the best of competition over the last three weeks. Now he knows he’s got one more week left to try and reach his goal.

“I don’t want to let it get to my head because states is a whole new tournament and records don’t matter,” Poust said. “Some of these matches this weekend I don’t think I wrestled my best, but just to keep advancing is my main goal.”

Bennett continued his incredible two-week run with another surprising result. After winning the District 4 title at 145 pounds last week as the seventh seed, it wasn’t surprising Saturday when he won the regional title. But it was how he won it which was shocking.

Bennett was staring at a one-point deficit to District 2 champion and returning state qualifier D.J. Erickson of Hanover Area. And in a restart in those final 10 seconds, Erickson called for an optional start and quickly latched on to a cradle trying to ride out the period and limiting what Bennett could do from the bottom position.

But Bennett found a way, fighting through the position, to score a reversal as time expired to take a 7-6 win in a match which looked to be a sure loss.

“I knew there wasn’t a lot of time left, but it proves you have to wrestle the whole time and not give up until the last buzzer,” Bennett said. “There’s a sense of urgency when you have short time like that and you’re down by one. I kept fighting and fighting the position and came out with a reversal at the end.”

Now Bennett will enter the state tournament as one of the top four seeds as a regional champion. It was a position he always thought he could be in since the start of the season. He thought 145 was a weight class which was prime for an opportunity to make a run deep into the postseason, and he’s been proven right.

Bennett’s district and regional tournament wins are the only tournaments he’s won in his brief career. It’s helped him reach a level of confidence he wasn’t at three weeks ago.

“I feel a lot different,” Bennett said. “I feel like I’m wrestling a lot better, and that’s a credit to my coaches and the people who have been helping me get better every day.”

Team standings: 1, Southern Columbia, 150; 2, Muncy, 107; 3, Montoursville, 96; 4, Wyalusing, 62; 5, Athens, 60.5; 6, Benton, 55; 7, Mifflinburg, 53; t-8, Line Mountain, 39; t-8 Warrior Run, 39; 10, Western Wayne, 34; 11, Lewisburg, 31; 12, Jersey Shore, 29; 13, Bloomsburg, 26; t-14, Lake-Lehman, 24; t-14, Midd-West, 24; t-14, Troy, 24; 17, Valley View, 23; 18, Lackawanna Trail, 21; 19, Shamokin, 19; t-20, Milton, 18; t-20, North Penn-Liberty, 18; 22, Hughesville, 17.5; 23, Hanover Area, 16; 24, Sullivan County, 15.5; t-25, Blue Ridge, 13; t-25, Scranton Prep, 13; 27, 27, Canton, 12; 28, Mount Carmel, 11; t-29, Central Columbia, 10; t-29, Honesdale, 10; t-31, Meyers, 8; t-31, Wyoming Area, 8; 33, Towanda, 7; 34, Berwick, 6; 35, Montrose, 4.

Team key: Athens, At; Benton, Be; Berwick, Bw; Bloomsburg, Bl; Blue Ridge, BR; Canton, Ca; Central Columbia, CC; Danville, Da; Elk Lake, EL; Hanover Area, HA; Honesdale, Ho; Hughesville, Hu; Jersey Shore, JS; Lackawanna Trail, LT; Lake-Lehman, LL; Lewisburg, Le; Line Mountain, LM; Meyers, Me; Midd-West, MW; Mifflinburg, Mf; Milton, Mi; Montoursvillt, Mo; Montrose, Mt; Mount Carmel, MC; Muncy, Mu; North Penn-Liberty, NP; Scranton Prep, SP; Shamokin, Sh; Southern Columbia, SC; Sullivan County, Su; Towanda, To; Troy, Tr; Valley View, VV; Warrior Run, WR; Western Wayne, WW; Wyalusing, Wy; Wyoming Area, WA.

Championship

semifinals

106: Sheldon Seymour, Tr, pinned Gabe Gramly, Mf, 4:36; Gable Strickland, Be, pinned Blake Wirt, LM, 3:29.

113: Wyatt Lutz, Mo, tech. fall Darren Schum, Wy, 17-2, 4:16; Noah Hunt, WR, dec. Patrick Edmondson, SC, 6-4.

120: Jaret Lane, SC, pinned Justin Gessner, Le, :43; Christian Good, Mu, dec. Luke Gorg, Hu, 3-2.

126: A.J. Burkhart, At, dec. Avery Bassett, MW, 3-2; Brandon Judge, VV, dec. Jeremy Hanford, WR, 7-2.

132: Cole Rhone, Be, dec. Chris Horton, At, 9-3; Joe Klock, Mu, pinned Nate Higley, Su, 3:26.

138: Noah Stamm, Mi, maj. dec. Trevor Bingaman, Mf, 11-0; Matt Milbrand, Bl, dec. Luke Yonkin-O’Connor, Wy, 6-1.

145: D.J. Erickson, HA, dec. Colton Babcock, Be, 5-2*; Dylan Bennett, Mo, pinned Adam Roe, BR, 4:55.

152: Cade Linn, SC, dec. Timmy Ward, Ca, 3-1; Noah Gush, Mu, dec. Braden McIntosh, WW, 7-4.

160: Creighton Edsell, Wy, dec. Nate Bradley, At, 7-2; Tyler Stoltzfus, Mf, tech. fall Gable Crebs, Mo, 17-2, 5:17.

170: Owen Hivner, LT, dec. Mike Kustanbauter, Mu, 7-4#; Anthony Scicchitano, SC, dec. David Galasso, At, 10-6.

182: Gaige Garcia, SC, dec. Andrew Shedleski, Le, 5-2; Hunter O’Connor, JS, maj. dec. Christian Wachter, WR, 16-8.

195: Gavin Hoffman, Mo, tech. fall Ethan Long, LM, 17-2, 2:05; Lear Quinton, SC, dec. David Tomb, JS, 7-1.

220: Hunter Poust, Mu, dec. Dakotah Snyder, Le, 2-0; Cole Fuller, WW, pinned Sean Sprague, SC, :59.

285: Justin Kriner, NP, dec. Kaleb Konigus, LL, 2-1, sv; Connor Fulmer, SC, dec. Jaron Renn, LM, 3-0.

* — Benton deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct

# — Lackawanna Trail deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct

Consolation

quarterfinals

106: Jason Carver, Me, bye; Tristyn Bodie, Ho, dec. Antonio D’Apollonio, SP, 3-2.

113: Mario Barberio, Mu, pinned Joe Rowley, HA, 1:36; Nick Yule, Be, pinned Peter West, Ho, :41.

120: Logan Newton, Wy, dec. Zack Stuart, LL, 11-5; Nathaniel McArthur, BR, won by forfeit Sammy Segers, SP.

126: Robert Long, LL, dec. Ian Yoder, SC, 4-0; Bryce Vollman, Mu, dec. Joe Hester, Mt, 9-4.

132: Devin Pietkiewicz, Sh, pinned Garrett Kolb, LL, 1:10; Matt Davis, Ho, pinned Oliver Egan, SP, 2:17.

138: Hunter Burke, LL, pinned Mike Miner, SC, 4:45; Makeela Fabrizio, Mt, dec. Matthew Leslie, WW, 4-0.

145: Coleman Good, Mu, maj. dec. Jake Trumbower, LL, 11-0; Noah Ettinger, MW, dec. Riley Walker, NP, 7-5.

152: Cooper Mosier, To, dec. Brandon Lawson, Ho, 3-2; Wyatt Bassett, MW, dec. Nick Zabosi, LL, 6-4.

160: Jacob Carpenter, Sh, pinned Alec Buttner, SP, 2:51; Kasen Taylor, WW, dec. Corey Mruk, WA, 7-1.

170: Kyle Tomb, JS, pinned Michael O’Day, Ho, 2:29; Ed Mapes, Wy, dec. Cole Aukema, Mt, 5-0.

182: Jake Mattive, Bl, dec. J.J. Hooper, HA, 5-4; Justin Joseph, WA, dec. Jake Kabonick, Ho, 8-4.

195: Manus McCracken, MC, pinned T.J. Meehan, LL, 4:39; Ivan Balavage, SP, pinned Jaryn Polit-Moran, WA, :45.

220: Mike Wilcox, Wy, dec. Connor Judge, VV, 6-1; Cameron Wood, Mo, pinned John Kuhns-Miller, Ho, 1:52.

285: Kile Kauwell, CC, pinned Damon Barhight, WA, 2:19; John Shnipes, VV, pinned Owen Hosler, MW, :36.

Consolation

semifinals

106: Blake Wirt, LM, pinned Jason Carver, Me, 1:22; Gabe Gramly, Mf, tech. fall Tristyn Bodie, Ho, 16-1, 4:20.

113: Patrick Edmondson, SC, dec. Mario Barberio, Mu, 4-1; Darren Schum, Wy, dec. Nick Yule, Be, 7-0.

120: Luke Gorg, Hu, pinned Logan Newton, Wy, 2:52; Justin Gessner, Le, maj. dec. Nathaniel McArthur, BR, 11-2.

126: Jeremy Hanford, WR, maj. dec. Robert Long, LL, 11-2; Avery Bassett, MW, dec. Bryce Vollman, Mu, 5-4.

132: Nate Higley, Su, dec. Devin Pietkiewicz, Sh, 8-4; Chris Horton, At, pinned Matt Davis, Ho, :24.

138: Luke Yonkin-O’Connor, Wy, dec. Hunter Burke, LL, 7-2; Trevor Bingaman, Mf, pinned Makeela Fabrizio, Mt, 2:05.

145: Coleman Good, Mu, dec. Adam Roe, BR, 8-7; Colton Babcock, Be, dec. Noah Ettinger, MW, 4-2, sv.

152: Braden McIntosh, WW, dec. Cooper Mosier, To, 6-3; Timmy Ward, Ca, dec. Wyatt Bassett, MW, 6-2.

160: Jacob Carpenter, Sh, dec. Gable Crebs, Mo, 7-2; Nate Bradley, At, pinned Kasen Taylor, WW, :31.

170: David Galasso, At, dec. Kyle Tomb, JS, 8-2; Ed Mapes, Wy, dec. Mike Kustanbauter, Mu, 4-1.

182: Christian Wachter, WR, dec. Jake Mattive, Bl, 1-0; Andrew Shedleski, Le, dec. Justin Joseph, WA, 5-0.

195: Manus McCracken, MC, dec. David Tomb, JS, 7-3; Ivan Balavage, SP, dec. Ethan Long, LM, 15-10.

220: Mike Wilcox, Wy, dec. Sean Sprague, SC, 8-3; Cameron Wood, Mo, dec. Dakotah Snyder, Le, 2-0.

285: Jaron Renn, LM, dec. Kile Kauwell, CC, 7-4; Kaleb Konigus, LL, dec. John Shnipes, VV, 3-1.

Fifth-place

consolations

106: Jason Carver, Me, dec. Tristyn Bodie, Ho, 10-8, sv.

113: Mario Barberio, Mu, maj. dec. Nick Yule, Be, 10-0.

120: Nathaniel McArthur, BR, dec. Logan Newton, Wy, 4-0.

126: Bryce Vollman, Mu, dec. Robert Long, LL, 4-1.

132: Devin Pietkiewicz, Sh, dec. Matt Davis, Ho, 8-4.

138: Hunter Burke, LL, pinned Makeela Fabrizio, Mt, 4:12.

145: Noah Ettinger, MW, pinned Adam Roe, BR, :52.

152: Cooper Mosier, To, maj. dec. Wyatt Bassett, MW, 11-2.

160: Gable Crebs, Mo, pinned Kasen Taylor, WW, 2:32.

170: Mike Kustanbauter, Mu, dec. Kyle Tomb, JS, 12-5*.

182: Justin Joseph, WA, pinned Jake Mattive, Bl, 3:46.

195: Ethan Long, LM, pinned David Tomb, JS, 1:55.

220: Sean Sprague, SC, dec. Dakotah Snyder, Le, 2-0.

285: Kile Kauwell, CC, pinned John Shnipes, VV, 2:45.

* — Jersey Shore penalized one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct

Third-place

consolations

(Both advance to state tournament)

106: Gabe Gramly, Mf, dec. Blake Wirt, LM, 6-0.

113: Patrick Edmondson, SC, dec. Darren Schum, Wy, 6-2.

120: Luke Gorg, Hu, pinned Justin Gessner, Le, 2:02.

126: Jeremy Hanford, WR, dec. Avery Bassett, MW, 11-6.

132: Nate Higley, Su, pinned Chris Horton, At, 3:28.

138: Luke Yonkin-O’Connor, Wy, dec. Trevor Bingaman, Mf, 5-3.

145: Colton Babcock, Be, maj. dec. Coleman Good, Mu, 12-4.

152: Timmy Ward, Ca,, dec. Braden McIntosh, WW, 5-1.

160: Nate Bradley, At, dec. Jacob Carpenter, Sh, 5-2.

170: Ed Mapes, Wy, dec. David Galasso, At, 5-2.

182: Andrew Shedleski, Le, pinned Christian Wachter, WR, 2:57.

195: Ivan Balavage, SP, dec. Manus McCracken, MC, 5-1.

220: Cameron Wood, Mo, dec. Mike Wilcox, 5-3, tb.

285: Jaron Renn, LM, won by forfeit Kaleb Konigus, LL.

Championship finals

(Both advance to state tournament)

106: Sheldon Seymour, Tr, dec. Gable Strickland, Be, 5-1.

113: Wyatt Lutz, Mo, tech. fall Noah Hunt, WR, 16-1, 4:20.

120: Jaret Lane, SC, pinned Christian Good, Mu, 1:12.

126: A.J. Burkhart, At, pinned Brandon Judge, VV, 2:52.

132: Cole Rhone, Be, dec. Joe Klock, Mu, 5-0.

138: Matt Milbrand, Bl, dec. Noah Stamm, Mi, 1-0.

145: Dylan Bennett, Mo, dec. D.J. Erickson, HA, 7-6.

152: Cade Linn, SC, dec. Noah Gush, Mu, 1-0.

160: Tyler Stoltzfus, Mf, maj. dec. Creighton Edsell, Wy, 10-2.

170: Owen Hivner, LT, pinned Anthony Scicchitano, SC, :55.

182: Gaige Garcia, SC, maj. dec. Hunter O’Connor, JS, 13-3.

195: Gavin Hoffman, Mo, pinned Lear Quinton, SC, :16.

220: Hunter Poust, Mu, dec. Cole Fuller, WW, 7-5.

285: Connor Fulmer, SC, dec. Justin Kriner, NP, 2-0.

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