Shore’s Tomb pulls upset at 195 pounds

David Tomb was intimidated. He hasn’t been wrestling all that long. He only weighs 173 pounds while competing at 195. And his quarterfinal opponent Friday night at the PIAA Class AA Northeast Regional was a state seventh-place finisher a year ago.

Winning wasn’t necessarily on the Jersey Shore junior’s mind when he started the bout. It surely was when he finished.

Tomb pulled one of the biggest upsets of the first night of the regional tournament, beating Scranton Prep’s Ivan Balavage, 9-7, to move into today’s 195-pound semifinal where he will face Southern Columbia’s Lear Quinton. Tomb was one of 22 local wrestlers who advanced to this morning’s semifinals. Those in the semifinals need just one more win today to qualify for next week’s state tournament.

Southern Columbia led the team race with 54 points after the opening round. Muncy was in second place with 30 points with five semifinalists (Christian Good, Joe Klock, Noah Gush, Mike Kustanbauter and Hunter Poust). Montoursville was in third with 25.5 points with four semifinalists (Wyatt Lutz, Dylan Bennett, Gable Crebs and Gavin Hoffman).

Muncy was dealt a tough blow in the team race before the tournament started when returning state placewinner Jacob Blair failed to make weight at 106 pounds. The returning state eighth-place finisher was ranked as high as No. 1 in the state this season, but finishes the year with a 37-4 record.

Tomb may have been the biggest surprise of the local semifinalists just because he hadn’t had the caliber of win which he recorded last night. But for as nervous and intimidated as he may have been, he never showed it. When the match was tied after he was hit for stalling twice in the third period, Tomb hit a pretty double-leg takedown in the final 20 seconds to get a 9-7 win over Balavage.

“My coaches are always telling me to be fast, and I always thought I would be tired if I did that. But it’s not that way,” Tomb said. “So I’m feeling great. I’m feeling really confident.”

With returning state qualifier Hunter O’Connor looking poised once again to make a run to states at 182, and his twin brother entrenched at 170 pounds, David was bumped up to 195 for the postseason. He stepped on the scale at 173.3 pounds prior to Friday night’s wrestling, but being undersized is something he’s used to.

He didn’t wrestle once this year under 182. A year ago, even though he was listed at 152, he wrestled all season at 182 pounds, where he qualified for the District 4 tournament.

But now Tomb is beginning go get on a roll. He finished second at the Central Sectional tournament two weeks ago to Montoursville’s Gavin Hoffman. He won three consecutive consolation bouts a week ago at districts to reach the third-place match where he fell to Line Mountain’s Ethan Long and finished fourth. Both his losses at districts were to Long.

He’s starting to carry some confidence as he is working harder than he ever has in practice. Former Jersey Shore state champion Sam Eck has even come in to practice to help out Tomb and his teammates.

“I didn’t feel comfortable wrestling up at the beginning of the season. Coach said I had to wrestle there and I didn’t really want to do it, but I’m feeling good now and I’m feeling confident,” Tomb said. “I didn’t think I could do this and I did it. It’s amazing.”

Tomb can still feel the size difference when he gets underneath his opponents. His biggest concern is how dominant his opponents can be in the top position. It’s a big part of why he usually chooses neutral when it’s his option.

The size difference can’t mask the fact that he’s still strong as a bull. He’s the same person who recorded 96 tackles and 17 tackles for loss for the Jersey Shore football team in the fall. He’s taken some of that football instinct and used it in his wrestling.

His double-leg takedown Friday night to get the win looked like a good form tackle. And he was still strong enough to ride out on top and finish the win. Now he’s in a position he never could have imagined two weeks ago. He needs just one win in his next two bouts today to secure a spot in the state tournament.

“I’ve been watching a lot of wrestling lately, and what I watch I put into the match,” Tomb said. “My coach has been saying to do it, so I said I might as well give it a shot, and it worked.”

Sullivan County freshman Nate Higley has run the gauntlet of competition at 132 pounds in the last two weeks facing Athens’ Chris Horton twice, Benton’s Cole Rhone once and Shamokin’s Devin Pietkiewicz once. It’s been the kind of run he needed though to see just exactly where is in one of the deepest weights in the entire regional tournament.

Friday night he posted a technical fall over District 2 champion Matt Davis of Honesdale, and now Higley is set for a matchup with Muncy’s Joe Klock in the 132-pound semifinals, the only of the state-ranked 132-pounders in the district he has yet to face.

“Getting beat by Horton twice and getting beat by Rhone again reset my mindset and I started going a little harder in practice,” said Higley, who improved to 32-4. “I’m keeping that push going since the end of the season is coming. I’m looking to go for a state run.”

Higley has an opportunity to be the first state placewinner in school history, but he’s got a long way to go before that can happen. His match this morning with Klock in the semifinals is against the top-ranked 132-pounder in the state. A win there and he’ll be assured a spot in Hershey, but a loss would very likely mean a third matchup this season with Pietkiewicz, and this one would come in the blood round with a state tournament berth on the line.

None of that seems to matter, though. Higley likes his spot in the bracket after finishing fourth at the District 4 tournament a week ago. He’s just focused on being physical and getting his opponents on the defensive.

“I feel real confident,” Higley said. “I’ve grown a lot this year. I started more chain wrestling and focusing on more technique than anything, especially against these older kids who can kind of out-muscle me.”

NORTHEAST CLASS AA REGIONAL RESULTS FROM FRIDAY:

Team standings: 1, Southern Columbia, 54; 2, Muncy, 30; 3, Montoursville, 25.5; 4, Athens, 22.5; t-5, Mifflinburg, 20; t-5, Benton, 20; 7, Line Mountain, 19; 8, Lewisburg, 16; t-9, Warrior Run, 15; t-9, Wyalusing, 15; t-11, Jersey Shore, 12; t-11, Western Wayne, 12;t-13, Bloomsburg, 7; t-13, Midd-West, 7; t-13, North Penn-Liberty, 7; t-13, Troy, 7; t-17, Hughesville, 6.5; t-17, Sullivan County, 6-5; t-19, Milton, 6; t-9, Valley View, 6; t-21, Blue Ridge, 5; t-21, Hanover Area, 5; t-21, Lackawanna Trail, 5; t-21, Lake-Lehman, 5; t-21, Canton, 5; t-26, Berwick, 0; t-26, Central Columbia, 0; t-26, Wyoming Area, 0; t-26, Meyers, 0; t-26, Montrose, 0; t-26, Mount Carmel, 0; t-26, Scranton Prep, 0; t-26, Shamokin, 0; t-26, Towanda, 0; t-26, Honesdale, 0.

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.

Quarterfinals

106: Sheldon Seymour, Tr, bye; Gabe Gramly, Mf, pinned Jason Carver, Me, 1:09; Gable Strickland, Be, pinned Antonio D’Apollonio, SP, 4:17; Blake Wirt, LM, pinned Tristyn Bodie, Ho, 1:49.

113: Wyatt Lutz, Mo, maj. dec. Mario Barberio, Mu, 9-1; Darren Schum, Wy, dec. Joe Rowley, HA, 5-1; Patrick Edmondson, SC, pinned Peter West, Ho, 1:35; Noah Hunt, WR, dec. Nick Yule, Be, 10-4.

120: Jaret Lane, SC, pinned Logan Newton, Wy, :33*; Justin Gessner, Le, maj. dec. Zack Stuart, LL, 13-5; Luke Gorg, Hu, tech. fall Nathaniel McArthur, BR, 15-0, 4:00; Christian Good, Mu, pinned Sammy Segers, SP, 3:42.

126: A.J. Burkhart, At, dec. Ian Yoder, SC, 5-2; Avery Bassett, MW, pinned Robert Long, LL, 2:38; Jeremy Hanford, WR, dec. Joseph Hester, Mt, 7-2; Brandon Judge, VV, pinned Bryce Vollman, Mu, 3:58.

132: Cole Rhone, Be, pinned Devin Pietkiewicz, Sh, 1:32; Chris Horton, At, maj. dec. Garrett Kolb, LL, 18-4; Joe Klock, Mu, pinned Oliver Egan, SP, 3:37; Nate Higley, Su, tech. fall Matt Davis, Ho, 16-1, 6:00.

138: Noah Stamm, Mi, maj. dec. Mike Miner, SC, 11-2; Trevor Bingaman, Mf, maj. dec. Hunter Burke, LL, 12-3; Matt Milbrand, Bl, pinned Makeela Fabrizio, Mt, 1:06; Luke Yonkin-O’Connor, Wy, dec. Matthew Leslie, WW, 6-0.

145: D.J. Erickson, HA, dec. Coleman Good, Mu, 1-0; Colton Babcock, Be, maj. dec. Jake Trumbower, LL, 10-2; Adam Roe, BR, dec. Noah Ettinger, MW, 11-10; Dylan Bennett, Mo, maj. dec. Riley Walker, NP, 16-4.

152: Cade Linn, SC, dec. Cooper Mosier, To, 3-1; Timmy Ward, Ca, dec. Brandon Lawson, Ho, 2-0; Noah Gush, Mu, dec. Nick Zaboski, LL, 7-3; Braden McIntosh, WW, pinned Wyatt Bassett, MW, 4:44.

160: Creighton Edsell, Wy, dec. Jake Carpenter, Sh, 3-0; Nate Bradley, At, tech. fall Alec Buttner, SP, 16-1, 5:12; Gable Crebs, Mo, pinned Kasen Taylor, WW, 1:50; Tyler Stoltzfus, Mf, pinned Corey Mruk, WA, 1:53.

170: Owen Hivner, LT, dec. Kyle Tomb, JS, 7-3; Mike Kustanbauter, Mu, maj. dec. Michael O’Day, Ho, 13-1; David Galasso, At, dec. Cole Aukema, Mt, 11-5; Anthony Scicchitano, SC, pinned Ed Mapes, Wy, 4:24.

182: Gaige Garcia, SC, pinned Jake Mattive, Bl, :31; Andrew Shedleski, Le, dec. J.J. Hooper, HA, 9-4; Hunter O’Connor, JS, pinned Jake Kabonick, Ho, 1:56; Christian Wachter, WR, dec. Justin Joseph, WA, 4-1.

195: Gavin Hoffman, Mo, tech. fall Manus McCracken, MC, 15-0, 1:34; Ethan Long, LM, pinned T.J. Meehan, LL, :58; Lear Quinton, SC, pinned Jaryn Polit-Moran, WA, 2:26; David Tomb, JS, dec. Ivan Balavage, SP, 9-7.

220: Hunter Poust, Mu, dec. Mike Wilcox, Wy, 4-1; Dakotah Snyder, Le, dec. Connor Judge, VV, 7-2; Sean Sprague, SC, pinned John Kuhns-Miller, Ho, :36; Cole Fuller, WW, dec. Cameron Wood, Mo, 4-3.

285: Kaleb Konigus, LL, dec. Kile Kauwell, CC, 2-1; Justin Kriner, NP, pinned Damon Barhight, WA, 3:28; Jaron Renn, LM, dec. John Shnipes, VV, 7-1; Connor Fulmer, SC, pinned Owen Hosler, MW, 1:53.

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