Southern beats Muncy in match of two of top-ranked teams in state
FRANKLIN TWP. — The gym was mortuary-esque. Only the hum of the television play-by-play broadcaster hovered over the dull hum of silence.
It didn’t feel like the kind of setting expected for a wrestling match between two of the three top-ranked teams in Pennsylvania. With one Ian Yoder takedown, though, that changed. The Southern Columbia sophomore sent off a cacophony of screaming and cheering with that second-period takedown of Muncy’s Bryce Vollman in Tuesday night’s first bout. And it was never quiet again as the third-ranked Indians built a 14-point lead before second-ranked Southern Columbia rallied for five consecutive six-point wins in a 39-26 win over Muncy.
Yoder’s takedown of Vollman gave him an early one-point lead in which he added to in the third period of a huge swing bout at 126 pounds. His 5-2 victory in a match where 18th-ranked Vollman was favored sent a buzz through the gym and sent a fire through the Tigers’ lineup.
Southern Columbia and Muncy split the 14 bouts last night, 7-7, but the Tigers’ win at 126 combined with 18 bonus points gave them the edge in the third consecutive matchup of the two teams as state-ranked powers in the last two seasons.
Southern Columbia won its 40th consecutive dual against District 4 competition last night. It hasn’t lost to a District 4 team since falling to Montoursville in the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships on Feb. 13, 2016.
“I think you learn from every match you wrestle, and this is another one,” Muncy coach Royce Eyer said. “They’re No. 2 in the state and we’re right there if we wrestle like we’re capable of. I think we have more we can still do and we haven’t peaked yet.”
But Eyer also acknowledged Tuesday was probably the Indians’ best shot at knocking off the two-time defending District 4 Duals champions. The Tigers wrestled without state placewinner Cade Linn, who is recovering from a knee injury, and super freshman Gavin Garcia, who is recovering from a football injury.
Missing those two wrestlers didn’t prevent Southern from chasing and scoring the necessary bonus points. Third-ranked Kole Biscoe, fourth-ranked Patrick Edmondson, top-ranked Gaige Garcia and 10th-ranked Lear Quinton all picked up falls for Southern. Also, 21st-ranked Preston Zachman took a forfeit at 220 pounds.
Conversely for Muncy, 16th-ranked Mario Barberio, 18th-ranked Christian Good, 21st-ranked Ty Nixon and 13th-ranked Mike Kustanbauter combined for just five bonus points in their five wins. Coleman Good posted a technical fall at 152 pounds and Kustanbauter scored a fall at 182. Muncy turned a 9-0 deficit into a 23-9 lead with six consecutive wins from 138 through 182 pounds.
But despite those convincing victories, Southern was still in a prosperous spot because it knew it had big wins coming and had just limited the damage done by the Indians. It’s part of the reason Yoder’s victory at 126 pounds was so crucial. Not only did the Tigers keep the damage to a minimum through the middleweights, they knocked off one of Muncy’s big guns in the night’s first bout.
“Those guys knew their roles. It’s all about battling and not giving up bonus points,” Southern coach Jerry Marks said. “That was the match, getting bonus points and not giving up bonus points.”
“Ian gave us a great start to the match. It sent an energy through all of us,” Quinton said. “It got everybody ready to go and got everybody excited. Everybody in their heads are saying if he can do it, why can’t we?”
Vollman started the bout as a bundle of energy, taking the fight to Yoder and scoring the initial takedown on a head-inside single with 27 seconds to go in the first period. But they were the final points he scored. And when Yoder scored his takedown off a scramble with seven seconds to go in the second period, it seemed to put some energy back in the sophomore.
He didn’t look like a wrestler who was down to 126 pounds for just the second time this season. Instead, when Vollman appeared to get in on a pair of deep shots in the third period, Yoder fought them off and nearly turned them into takedowns of his own. As importantly, it wiped precious seconds off the clock. When Vollman went for a desperation headlock in the final 10 seconds, Yoder fell on top of him for the bout-securing takedown.
“We knew he was hurting a little bit. But he sucked it up and got the win for us,” Marks said. “He’s a young guy who started at 135 and has worked his way down. He did a nice job of managing his weight this week for a big match.”
Muncy struggled to finish matches much of the night, even in bouts it won. In bouts where the Indians appeared headed for bonus points, they would see their points plateau in the third period, or they would miss on opportunities for falls.
Barberio locked a cradle in the third period but couldn’t secure a fall, instead settling for an 8-3 win. Christian Good hit a spladle in the third period but settled for a 7-1 win. Coleman Good recorded five sets of back points, but couldn’t make a final cradle work for a fall.
“I think it’s a mental thing. The mentality you take from the practice room to upstairs has got to be the same,” Eyer said. “We can wrestle for 45 minutes to an hour live in the room and everyone is going hard. You wrestle up here and we’re gassed after the first period. That tells us it’s something in their head. We have our work to do to focus on the mental part of the game because I think that’s where we’re struggling.”
Quinton put the writing on the wall for the final outcome when he scored a fall in the third period against Cael Hembury at heavyweight. Muncy sought out the matchup with Hembury and Quinton because of the pair’s familiarity with each other. In last year’s regular-season dual, Hembury caught Quinton in a headlock for a fall which nearly handed Muncy a win.
Last night, Quinton made sure to stay away from the headlock. He dodged one early and then worked from space to get low shots for takedowns before giving the Tigers a 27-23 lead it never relinquished with his fall.
“I was a little surprised with the move they made to forfeit to Zachman and bumping up,” Marks said. “We know Hembury is very dangerous, so our plan was to work on low shots and then work on top for a fall, and it worked out for us.”
“In the back of my mind I was thinking the only move he has from his feet is the headlock,” Quinton said. “After he tried to hit it the first time, I smartened up and kept my distance.”
Southern is expecting to have both Gavin Garcia and Linn back for a potential rematch in the District 4 Duals tournament. The Tigers are currently the top seed for the tournament as one of only two undefeated teams in District 4, along with Sullivan County.
“We knew the matches would be tight and it would come down to bonus points,” Eyer said. “We split the matches and we got blown out by 13, so it’s frustrating giving up six of our seven losses by pin. But credit to them. They did a great job through the middle and fought real hard. They fought off their backs when we got them there, and we didn’t fight off ours when we got there. They did a great job and we have some work to do.”
No. 2 Southern Columbia 39, No. 3 Muncy 26
126: Ian Yoder, SC, dec. No. 18 Bryce Vollman, 5-2. 132: No. 4 Patrick Edmondson, SC, pinned Jacob Hill, 1:21. 138: No. 16 Mario Barberio, M, dec. Mike Miner, 8-3. 145: No. 18 Christian Good, M, dec. Keir Hill, 7-1. 152: No. 10 Coleman Good, M, tech. fall Anthony Sola, 16-1, 3:46. 160: No. 21 Ty Nixon, M, dec. No. 19 Shane Miller, 8-3. 170: Ethan Gush, M, dec. Brandon Gedman, 3-1. 182: No. 13 Mike Kustanbauter, M, pinned Tyler Waltman, 3:48. 195: No. 1 Gaige Garcia, SC, pinned Tristen Ditzler, 0:35. 220: No. 21 Preston Zachman, SC, by forfeit. 285: No. 10 Lear Quinton, SC, pinned Cael Hembury, 4:38. 106: Brady Feese, SC, pinned Alex Maiorana, 1:58. 113: No. 3 Kole Biscoe, SC, pinned Chase Crawley, 1:43. 120: Grady Oden, M, dec. Garrett Krebs, 4-3.
Takedowns: Southern 13, Muncy 12.
Junior high: Southern Columbia, 76-12.
Official: Mike Millward.
Records: Muncy (12-1), Southern Columbia (10-0).