Central Mountain wrestling remains unbeaten

MILL HALL — How good the Central Mountain wrestling team has been this year may be best summarized in coach Biff Walizer being unsatisfied by a 33-point win over Shikellamy on Thursday night.

The Wildcats won five consecutive bouts to break a tie, recorded six falls for the third time in six duals, and kept their unbeaten record intact with a 50-17 win. But with the crux of its dual-meet schedule beginning Saturday, the veteran coach wanted to see more effort from his team.

“I wasn’t completely pleased with our effort from top to bottom,” Walizer said. “So hopefully this can be a learning tool for our guys and we can move forward from it.”

It wasn’t as if Central Mountain wrestled poorly, but it left some points on the floor. Tanner Riggle gave up five third-period points to 10th-ranked Adam Young, and Young scored the decisive takedown with two seconds to go for a 6-4 win at 220 pounds. Lane Porter was turned for back points twice in the third period of a scoreless bout eventually won, 5-0, by Drew Balestrini at 145.

But Central Mountain overcame those disappointments because of a stretch of success started by state-ranked Jake Edwards at 285 pounds. Edwards, who himself said he was a bit disappointed in his own performance, overcame an early deficit to post a 4-2 win. It wasn’t a victory which earned big points, but it did stop the momentum Shikellamy had picked up by winning two of the night’s first three bouts, including Young’s last-second win.

Edwards’ Central Mountain (6-0) teammates then rattled off five consecutive wins, including first-period falls from Derek Keen, Taylor Weaver and Johnny Shreffler to turn a 9-9 tie into a commanding 27-9 lead. Dalton Bechdel and Kayden Busey kept the train rolling with two more victories which all but put the match out of reach for Shikellamy (1-3).

“(Shikellamy) was screaming because of what happened at 182 and 220 and that kind of boosted them a little bit,” Edwards said. “So I think their confidence went down after I won and ours went up.”

Edwards was caught early in his bout with the Braves’ Conell Fain trying to force a big move. It gave Fain the bout’s first takedown and a 2-0 lead. Edwards quickly escaped and decided to make sure his next big move came when the time was right.

After trying to force it early, Edwards waited for the proper moment and three Fain to his back as the first period buzzer sounded for a takedown and a 3-2 lead. From there, Edwards was active in trying to get position for snap-downs, but didn’t force the issue. His 4-2 win wasn’t sexy, but it surely was effective.

“I still wanted to score, but I wasn’t getting enough pull action from my upper body,” said Edwards, who wrestled Greco-Roman in Fargo over the summer. “Wrestling upper body is my style. I feel comfortable there. I tried to throw him early and I should have waited a little bit. But I got back up and wrestled tough. I still have to get better.”

“He got a couple snap-downs and got the kid’s head underneath him, but that kid had a good way of working out of that,” Walizer said. “So at that point, it’s good not to lose your patience and do something that can get you in trouble.”

Central Mountain’s lightweights rolled that momentum-shifting victory by Edwards into a match-changing results by posting three consecutive falls. Derek Keen hit a sweet duck-under for a takedown and quickly transitioned into a pinning combination which resulted in a fall in 1:04. Taylor Weaver picked up a couple quick takedowns before locking up a cradle for a fall in 40 seconds. And returning state qualifier Johnny Shreffler needed just 14 seconds to get a fall at 120 pounds.

Those three have been pillars in the Central Mountain lineup in its six duals. They’ve combined to record 46 of a possible 54 bonus points in the Wildcats’ six duals. Keen has recorded two falls, a technical fall and picked up three forfeits. Weaver has four falls, a technical fall and a forfeit. And Shreffler has three falls and a forfeit.

“It’s nice to see those two freshmen (Keen and Weaver) out there not holding back and just firing away,” Walizer said. “Then, Johnny Shreffler, having him right there after those two, he’s really hungry after last year. It’s nice to have those three right in a row. We’re feeding off the momentum they get us for sure.”

The hope is that kind of production carries into the next two weeks of the season which features a likely matchup with state-ranked Cumberland Valley on Saturday at the Dallastown Duals, along with individual duals against State College, Williamsport, Mifflin County and Bellefonte.

“In the room it’s all about bonus points,” Edwards said. “It’s all we care about. If you’re close to those bonus points, we have to get it because it’s going to be big come district duals and team states.”

“We certainly have an active stretch coming up here and we’ll be tested,” Walizer said. “Starting this weekend we’re going to have matches determined by bonus points and us getting them and them not getting them.”

Central Mountain 50, Shikellamy 17

182: Evan Bingaman, S, pinned Gage Sutliff, 3:39. 195: Nik Miller, CM, pinned Kurtis Raker, 1:08. 220: Adam Young, S, dec. Tanner Riggle, 6-4. 285: Jake Edwards, CM, dec. Conell Fain, 4-2. 106: Derek Keen, CM, pined Hunter Beaver, 1:04. 113: Taylor Weaver, CM, pinned Caleb Yoder, 0:40. 120: Johnny Shreffler, CM, pinned Damian Wolfe, 0:14. 126: Dalton Bechdel, CM, maj. dec. Coltyn Sempko, 9-0. 132: Kayden Busey, CM, dec. James Hallman, 7-5. 138: Cade Balestrini, S, tech. fall Cody Coleman, 21-6, 5:27. 145: Drew Balestrini, S, dec. Lane Porter, 5-0. 152: Alonzo Henry, CM, pinned Jacob Egan, 4:32. 160: Caleb Porter, CM, maj. dec. Jermez Herring, 12-0. 170: Austin Confer, CM, pinned Isaiah Betz, 1:29.

Takedowns: Central Mountain 17, Shikellamy 14.

Official: Mike Millward.

Records: Central Mountain (6-0), Shikellamy (1-3).

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