Gable Crebs named Wrestler of the Year

Ears around Canon McMillan had begun to perk up at the mention of Gable Crebs’ name. The Montoursville senior had made quite a bit of noise in reaching the semifinals of the Powerade Tournament just after Christmas.

He had already knocked off returning Class AAA state placewinner Dorian Crosby of Cathedral Prep and returning state qualifier Austin Crouse of Chestnut Ridge. And he had done so convincingly, beating Crosby, 7-3, and pinning Crouse in just 56 seconds. So when he opened a 5-0 lead on returning Class AAA state placewinner Donovan Ball of Cedar Crest in the semifinals, it was clear Crebs was pulling his best Nuke LaLoosh announcing his presence with authority.

Then everything changed. First, Ball turned Crebs’ left leg awkwardly as they rolled out of bounds in the second period. Then, after securing a third-period takedown and sitting in a leg lace-like situation, Ball drove on Crebs’ legs bending his left knee awkwardly again and eliciting a shout from Crebs.

To that point, Crebs had yet to lose during the first month of his final high school season. He had already knocked off one state qualifier to win the Tom Best Memorial Top Hat in the season’s opening week before he ever got to the Powerade. Six of his first seven wins were by fall.

Who knows how his season would have gone had he not missed multiple weeks because of the knee injury he suffered. But it still ended up being quite the season regardless.

Crebs walked away from his final season as a 100-match winner and a state placewinner. He was the most consistent producer for the Warriors all season, and for his effort, he’s been named the Sun-Gazette’s Wrestler of the Year.

Five of Crebs’ eight losses came to wrestlers who ended up in the state finals (Gaige Garcia, Kolby Franklin and Ball). Another came to a state fourth-place finisher, and the other two came from injury defaults following his injury at the Powerade.

He was one of the most improved wrestlers in District 4. He was the leader of a lineup full of state caliber wrestlers. And he was the kind of hammer which set an example for a young lineup still getting its footing on the varsity level.

Crebs was part of a key core along with his younger brother Cael, Cameron Wood and Dylan Bennett which helped the Warriors make a run in the District 4 Duals tournament despite overhauling a large chunk of the team.

And maybe the season didn’t quite end the way Crebs wanted it to, with a seventh-place finish at the state tournament, but it couldn’t take away from what he did to get there. He was undefeated in dual meets at 18-0. He finished with 20 falls. He became the 17th wrestler in school history to reach 100 career wins.

The season was nothing but a success for Crebs. It may have been left with a little “what if” because of what happened at the Powerade in December, but it ended with Crebs earning a state medal, the only thing he coveted from his final season.

“It’s a little bittersweet, definitely,” Crebs said following the state tournament in March. “But it feels good to get a state medal.”

If nothing else, this season felt like a stepping stone for Crebs. It’s clear he has yet to to reach his full potential. He’ll go to wrestle for his dad, Roger, at Lycoming College in the fall. If there’s anything this year told us about Crebs – his run at the Powerade in particular – it’s that he’s capable of wrestling with, and beating, whoever steps across from him on the mat.

His name will reside on multiple banners, and rightfully so, inside the Montoursville wrestling gymnasium. His contributions to the program as a four-year starter, including helping the Warriors finish in the top six in the state team tournament in 2016, are too numerous to count.

He could look back on that knee injury in December and play the what if game, but it’s not in his nature. He’s proud of what he’s been able to accomplish in high school while still knowing there’s more to be done.

“To think some of the kids to come out of out school,” Crebs said, “I appreciate being mentioned with them.”

WRESTLER OF THE YEAR

Gable Crebs, Montoursville

The strides Crebs has made over the last two seasons vaulted him to one of the most reliable performers in the Montoursville lineup on a nightly basis. He’s as talented a one-time state qualifier and state placewinner as District 4 has seen. Driven by the disappointment of missing the state tournament by one win as a junior, Crebs wrestled the entire season like a man on a mission. He showed just how far he had come when he dominated returning state qualifier Dane Csencsits in the 195-pound final of the season-opening Top Hat tournament. He asserted himself as one of the best in the state with his run at the Powerade which saw him staring down the barrel of a spot in the final before suffering a knee injury. Rightfully earned his spot in Montoursville wrestling history as a state placewinner and a 100-match winner.

Runner-up: Cameron Wood

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Braden Bower, Williamsport

Was part of the first wave of talented wrestlers which will be infiltrating the Williamsport program over the next couple years, but may have been even better than advertised. Reached the finals of all four maor regular-season tournaments in which the Millionaires participated, winning the Top Hat and the Tool City tournaments. In his first varsity tournament, Bower defeated state qualifiers back-to-back to win the Top Hat. He followed it up with a win at the King of the Mountain over eventual state champion Jackson Arrington of Forest Hills. With each passing week, Bower provided an eyebrow-raising victory and became the biggest hammer in a lineup which advanced to the district duals championship match for the first time in school history.

Runner-up: Kaiden Wagner, Lewisburg

BREAKOUT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR

Anthony Robinson, Williamsport

Robinson’s career prior to this season was all about potential and how he still hadn’t quite realized what he was capable of. His final season with the Millionaires was all about tapping into that potential and turning it into results. The senior became an anchor in the middle of a lineup full of young talent. His strong senior season helped him earn a spot next year on the George Mason wrestling team. He helped set a new tone with the program, growing from an afterthought in District 4, to one of the best up-and-coming programs in the area for the next few years.

Runner-up: Kyler Crawford, Milton

COACH OF THE YEAR

Brian Nasdeo, Williamsport

This was supposed to be the year where we began to see the fruits of Brian Nasdeo’s labor pay off. And boy, did we. For the first time in school history, Williamsport reached the finals of the district duals tournament, upsetting state-ranked DuBois in the semifinals before taking second place. Took one of the youngest lineups in District 4 and made it one of the most exciting teams to watch. A lineup full of high-energy, high-paced wrestlers, the Millionaires put the rest of the district on notive that they’re not going away anytime soon. The Millionaires qualified two wrestlers for the state tournament for the first time since 1995 when it had two state placewinners. Nasdeo has rebuilt this program from the ground up, and this seemed to be just the first step in sustained success coming for Williamsport.

Runner-up: Biff Walizer, Central Mountain

First team

(Wrestler, school, grade, season record, career record)

106 pounds

Derek Keen, Central Mountain, Fr., 31-10, 31-10

PIAA Class AAA state qualifier … District 6 and Northwest Region third-place finisher … Went 0-2 in his first state tournament, losing to eventual seventh-place finisher in opening round … Central Mountain’s lone state qualifier … Part of strong lightweight group which helped Central Mountain post a 13-2 dual record … Finished fifth at season-opening Top Hat and was third at the Conestoga Holiday Classic … First-time selection.

113 pounds

Braden Bower, Williamsport, Fr., 36-5, 36-5

PIAA Class AAA state qualifier … District 4/9 champion … Northwest Regional third-place finisher … Made the finals of all four regular-season tournaments, winning both the Top Hat and the Tool City tournaments … Went 13-0 in dual meets, including a win over state qualifier Gabe Gramly … Helped Williamsport reach the District Duals final for the first time … Went 1-2 at first state tournament, avenging loss to Jude Swisher … First-time selection.

120 pounds

Johnny Shreffler, Central Mountain, Sr., 24-9, 71-40

One-time state qualifier had his season cut short by injury at the regional tournament … Third at District 6 Class AAA tournament … Took first at season-opening Top Hat … Finished second at Conestoga Holiday Tournament … Defeated state qualifier Garrett Giedroc in a dual, 3-0 … Defeated state qualifier Kyler Crawford, 6-0, in a dual … Went 10-4 in duals for 13-2 Wildcats with three losses coming to state qualifiers … Two-time selection.

126 pounds

Bryce Vollman, Muncy, So., 30-7, 60-44

PIAA Class AA state qualifier … Central Sectional champion … District 4 runner-up … Northeast Regional champion … Went 0-2 at his first state tournament … Top Hat runner-up … Went 6-1 combined in District 4 and PIAA Duals tournaments … Helped Muncy to fourth PIAA Duals tournament berth … Went 20-3 in dual meets with wins over state qualifiers Noah Hunt and Ben Heinrich … Two-time selection.

132 pounds

Nate Higley, Sullivan County, So., 35-4, 70-12

PIAA Class AA state qualifier … North Sectional champion … District 4 runner-up … Northeast Regional champion … Qualified for states for the second year in a row, going 1-2 finishing a win shy of placing for second time … Two losses at states came to eventual fifth and seventh-place finishers … Defeated eventual state placewinner Anthony Glasl by fall in the finals of the Darren Klingerman Invitational … Only losses were to state qualifiers … Two-time selection.

138 pounds

Mario Barberio, Muncy, Jr., 38-11, 111-38

PIAA Class AA state qualifier … Central Sectional and District 4 champion … Northeast Regional fourth place … First-time state qualifier went 1-2 in Hershey … One of three Muncy wrestlers to reach 100 career wins this season … Defeated state qualifiers Dominic DeFalco, Nate Higley and Luke Gorg during regular season … Went 6-1 during District 4 and PIAA Duals … Went 23-2 in dual meets … Second on team with 38 wins … First-time selection.

145 pounds

Lane Porter, Central Mountain, So., 22-10, 24-11

District 6 champion … Northwest Regional qualifier … Had season end by injury at regional tournament … First-year starter for Wildcats went 12-3 in dual meets … Defeated state qualifier Christian Good at Top Hat … Finished fourth at Top Hat … Avenged regular-season loss to Drew Balestrini in first round of regionals … First-time selection.

152 pounds

Cael Crebs, Montoursville, So., 33-6, 57-11

PIAA Class AA state qualifier … Central Sectional champion … District 4 runner-up … Northeast Regional third place … First-time state qualifier went 2-2 at states losing in blood round … Losses at states were to eventual fourth and eighth-place finishers … Went 22-0 in dual meets for Warriors … Posted a career high in wins … First-time selection.

160 pounds

Anthony Robinson, Williamsport, Sr., 36-10, 75-34

PIAA Class AAA state qualifier … District 4/9 champion … Northwest Regional third place … Committed to wrestle at George Mason … Finished with a career-high 36 wins … Finished third at the Top Hat, fith at King of the Mountain, sixth at the Hurricane Classic and third at Tool City … Four of seven tournament losses were to eventual state placewinners … Helped Millionaires reach first district duals final … First-time selection.

170 pounds

Dylan Bennett, Montoursville, So., 35-7, 71-20

Central Sectional champion … District 4 champion … Northeast Regional fifth place … Is a two-time district champion … Went 23-1 in dual meets … Defeated state qualifiers Kolt Schaeffer, Austin Mele and Martin Cosgrove during regular season … Placed fourth at Powerade … Finished fourth at season-opening Top Hat … Defeated four eventual state qualifiers in postseason … Two-time selection.

182 pounds

Hunter O’Connor, Jersey Shore, Sr., 34-7, 115-38

PIAA Class AA eighth-place finisher … Central Sectional, District 4 and Northeast Regional champion … Lycoming commit … Third in school history in career wins … Placed at the state tournament for second consecutive year … Jersey Shore’s first two-time state placewinner since 2015-16 … Won Top Hat and Garrett Scott Invitational tournaments … Was 13-2 in duals for the Bulldogs … Went 16-4 after making the permanent move to 182 pounds … Three-time selection.

195 pounds

Gable Crebs, Montoursville, Sr., 34-8, 107-41

PIAA Class AA seventh-place finisher … Central Sectional champion … District 4 and Northeast Regional runner-up … Finishes 14th in school history in career wins … Defeated state qualifier Dane Csencsits to win Top Hat … Reached semifinals of Powerade before finishing sixth after suffering knee injury … Finished with 20 falls … Was 18-0 in dual meets … Two losses at states were to eventual second and fourth-place finishers … Two-time selection.

220 pounds

Cameron Wood, Montoursville, Jr., 42-6, 97-35

PIAA Class AA fourth-place finisher … First-time state placewinner … Central Sectional and Northeast Regional champion … District 4 runner-up … Only losses at state tournament to eventual runner-up and third-place finisher … Top Hat runner-up … Powerade fourth-place finisher … Went 24-0 with 17 falls in dual meets … Three wins over state qualifiers during regular season … Went 8-0 wrestling up at 285 pounds … Two-time selection.

285 pounds

Jake Edwards, Central Mountain, Sr., 26-9, 52-17

District 6 and Northwest Regional fourth-place finisher … Was a two-time regional qualifier in two years as a starter … Top Hat and King of the Mountain runner-up, Conestoga Valley tournament third place … Went 11-2 in dual meets … Helped Central Mountain to HAC-I, Big 7 and District 6 tournament championships … Two-time selection.

Second team

(Weight, wrestler, school, grade, season record, career record)

106: Kaiden Wagner, Lewisburg, Fr., 33-9, 33-9

113: Taylor Weaver, Central Mountain, Fr., 24-9, 24-9

120: Riley Bower, Williamsport, Fr., 34-10, 34-10

126: Carter Dawson, Williamsport, Fr., 22-8, 22-8

132: Devon Deem, Montgomery, Fr., 32-14, 32-14

138: Luke Gorg, Hughesville, Jr., 34-9, 100-27

145: Christian Good, Muncy, Jr., 32-12, 78-49

152: Coleman Good, Muncy, Sr., 20-8, 105-46

160: Ty Nixon, Muncy, Fr., 32-16, 32-16

170: Ethan Gush, Muncy, So., 37-16, 56-31

182: Cameron Andrews, North Penn-Liberty, Sr., 32-8, 94-41

195: Tanner Riggle, Central Mountain, Sr., 29-11, 66-42

220: Dakotah Snyder, Lewisburg, Sr., 40-4, 117-35

285: Nevin Rauch, Milton, Jr., 31-11, 50-26

Mitch Rupert covers wrestling for the Sun-Gazette. He can be reached at 570-326-1551, ext. 3129, or by email at mrupert@sungazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Mitch_Rupert.

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