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WAHS, Muncy finish strong at King of the Mountain

MILL HALL — Nobody said it was going to be easy, and the second day of the 2019 King of the Mountain wrestling tournament was anything but that for Williamsport.

Perched in sixth place with a half dozen wrestlers still alive in the championship bracket of the tournament, day two was not very kind to the Millionaires.

“It is tough but we knew it was going to be that way,” said Millionaire coach Brian Nasdeo. “We got three guys through to medal and we had four guys in the blood round so I can’t complain because we are so young. We have to put together some of those matches, but that is why we are here. Because we are young we need to learn those things so that at the end of the year we can put those things together and get better. Our schedule is really tough. We go to Bethlehem for their Christmas tournament, then to Tool City and we have a quad next week down at Shikellamy so by the time December is finished, we are going to be battle-tested.”

The Millionaires started the day on a rough road that saw them drop five of six wrestlers in the quarterfinals. When the final tally was taken, Riley Bower was the only survivor for the Millionaires with a close 1-0 nod over Bryce Gonzalez of Pottsville at 138 and Bower capped his strong tournament by winning the gold with a solid 7-1 decision over Ian Oswalt of Burrell in the finals.

“He was standing out there and taking that kid’s best shots, and he wasn’t penetrating,” said Nasdeo of Bower in the finals. “I said to him you have to get out there and start shooting and once he got the bug and figured that he could get to his (Oswalt’s) legs he was fine. I knew he had to keep building the score because I knew that kid was dangerous.”

Adhering to Nasdeo’s advice, Bower kept the pressure on Oswalt and looked strong in winning 7-1 going away.

Following his gold medal win, Bower reflected on his match.

“I had a tough bracket, but right now, I feel really good about being able to win the tournament,” said Bower. “I got my feet moving and was able to take him down and get back points. I could feel him break so I just kept the pressure on him. He was a little hard to score on and he did a good job of staying away from high point moves.”

Falling back into the consolations with losses in the quarters were Cael Nasdeo with a tough 6-5 loss to Gino Serafini of Central Mountain at 106 before Luke Segraves was the victim of a fall at the hands of Nathan Hellerbaum of Chesnut Ridge in 49 seconds at 113.

Bower temporarily stopped the bleeding for Williamsport with his advancement, but for the next three Millionaires, it was a loss back to the consolations.

Roman Morrone was pinned in 2 minutes, 50 seconds by Trevor Wyandt of Chestnut Ridge at 145, Owen Mahon was also the victim of a fall in 2:51 at the hands of Erik Gibson of Forest Hills at 152 and Ethan Williamson couldn’t overcome an escape surrendered to Giomar Ramos of Canon MacMillan in a 1-0 loss in a battle of the big boys at 285.

For their efforts, the Millionaires finished 10th in the team race with 100.5 points.

Muncy made an appearance in the annual tournament and on the strength of five placewinners, the Indians of coach Royce Eyer finished 12th in the team race tied with District 7 power Burrell.

Following the tournament, Eyer reflected on how he felt his team fared in the two-day marathon.

“This is a tough tournament and our guys did a great job today,” said Eyer. “It was a long weekend but they did a good job. Scotty Johnson came in here as a freshman and knocked off some big guys to win the championship. He had a really great tournament and that should give him a lot of confidence. (Jacob) Blair and (Bryce) Vollman both did good jobs battling their way back to finish third and we had a couple of other guys placing well it has been a good tournament for us.”

Here is how the Indians fared in the long two-day affair:

For his three wins en route to the title at 113, Johnson decisioned Cayden Walter of Brookville, 7-6, followed that with a 5-1 win over Nathan Holderbaum of Chestnut Ridge and put his name on the title with a 3-2 nod over Julien Maldonado of Boyertown in the finals.

Blair started his Saturday’s action with a 3-1 win over Alex Coppolo of Bellefonte before he dropped his semifinal bout 7-2 to Sam Mcmonagle of West Chester Henderson. Not to be denied his third-place finish, Blair decisioned Cal Schoffstall of Pottsville, 9-3, before downing Owen Wolcott of State College, 7-3, in the medal round.

Vollman took pretty much the same route as did Blair when he started with a 3-2 win over Kyle Everly of Mifflin County before falling in the semis to Ian Oswalt of Burrell 9-3 in the semis. Needing a pair of wins to climb back to third, Vollman responded with a pair of shutouts, 3-0 over Bryce Gonazlez of Pottsville Area and 2-0 over General McLane’s Matt Leehan.

Christian Good fell in the second championship round Friday to Brendan Finnerty of Thomas Jefferson before battling back with five straight wins in the wrestlebacks to take seventh at 160.

Cael Hembury won his first three bouts in the tournament before bowing 10-0 to Hunter Hefflefinger of Big Spring in the semis. Guaranteed of a place, Henbury slipped to fifth when he dropped back-to-back decisions to Gavyn Beck of Franklin Regional and Hadyn Crum of Mifflin County.

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