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Come-from-behind wins help Wildcats in wrestling

BELLEFONTE — When the draw set the starting weight at 285 pounds, Central Mountain knew it had gained an advantage in its dual meet with Bellefonte on Friday.

But when the Red Raiders (11-4) picked up an upset win over the Wildcats (9-3) at 106, the advantage had seemingly swung back to Bellefonte.

In the end, though, it was pair of come-from-behind wins at 120 and 126 that enabled Central Mountain to win eight of 14 bouts in a 33-27 win over Bellefonte that came down to the last bout of the night.

In that last bout, Central Mountain’s Nikolas Miller needed just 1 minute, 32 seconds to turn and pin Bellefonte’s undersized Tyler Putnam for the clinching fall.

“We knew we were in a pretty good spot finishing up with Nik Miller there at the end,” Wildcats coach Biff Walizer said. “He’s put in a lot of time and done a lot of work. We were pretty confident there.”

On the flip side, Bellfonte coach Mike Maney knew he put Putnam in a difficult situation.

“Give Tyler Putnam credit. We put him in that situation, unfortunately, too many times this year. He goes out and battles,” he said. “He’s undersized, and it’s the same way at 285. The match didn’t come down to there. There were too many things prior to that that needed to go our way and unfortunately it didn’t.”

Cyrus McCarl staked Central Mountain to a 3-0 lead at 285 as he used three takedowns to earn a 6-1 decision over Max Barrier.

But, at 106, Raider Aidan O’Shea used a first-period takedown and an escape in the third to earn an upset win over Gino Serafini to tie the match at 3-3.

“I thought 106 was a great match for us. We haven’t even come close to beating him before,” Maney said. “That was a big win for Aidan. Hopefully it’s a big momentum builder for the postseason.”

The upset figured to put Bellefonte in a great position, as it expected it might win four of the next five bouts. However, comebacks in two of those next five bouts by Central Mountain enabled the Wildcats to win three in a row to steal the momentum.

“They got the win at 106, which was an upset on their end. After that, our guys found a way to battle back,” Walizer said.

Central Mountain inched back ahead at 113 as Derek Keen decisioned Aaron Little, 7-1. That set up back-to-back comebacks for the Wildcats.

At 120, Bellefonte’s Nathan Smth led Braylon Corter, 6-2, midway through the second period. Corter, though, outscored Smith, 9-3, the rest of the way for the win.

“(The) 120 bout was another big win, coming from behind. That was a freshman in Braylon Corter. He showed a lot of growth in that match after giving up a couple of takedowns early on,” Walizer said.

The Wildcats did it again at 126. The Raiders’ Lane Aikey built a 5-0 first-period lead over Taylor Weaver, but the Wildcat used two third-period takedowns and three nearfall points to win, 10-7.

“We figured we would win at 120 and 126 and we lost. Those two hurt and kind of took the momentum away after 106,” Maney said.

Bellefonte was, as expected, tough at 132 and 138. Jude Swisher built a 14-0 lead before scoring a fall in 5:02. And, at 138, Alex Coppolo won 11-2 to give the Raiders a short-lived 13-12 lead.

Central Mountain jumped back in front with back-to-back pins. Lane Potter struck in 42 seconds at 145 and Kaden Falls followed with a 48-second fall at 152.

Ethan Richner got six of those points back at 160 with a 59-second fall that cut the Central Mountain lead to 24-19.

The Wildcats picked up another key win at 170 as Caleb Porter decisioned Stephen Ivicic, 7-1.

“(The match) at 170 was also a swing bout, as far as records going in,” Walizer said.

Trailing by eight, Bellefonte produced back-to-back major decisions to tie the bout. Tyler Benner won 11-1 at 182 and Ethan Rossman followed with a 14-2 win at 195.

Central Mountain 33, Bellefonte 27

285: Cyrus McCarl, CM, dec. Max Barrier, 6-1. 106: Aiden O’Shea, B, dec. Gino Serafini, 3-2. 113: Derek Keen, CM, dec. Aaron Little, 7-1. 120: Braylen Corter, CM, dec. Nathan Smith, 11-9. 126: Taylor Weaver, CM, dec. Lane Aikey, 10-7. 132: Jude Swisher, B, pinned Tristan Probst, 5:02. 138: Alex Copolo, B, Major dec. Hayden Walizer, 11-2. 145: Lane Porter, CM, pinned Brady Martin, 0:42. 152: Kaden Falls, CM, pinned Alec Bossert, 0:48. 160: Ethan Richner, B, pinned Damien Galentine, 0:59. 170: Caleb Porter, CM, dec. Stephen Ivicic, 7-1. 182: Tyler Benner, B, major dec. Paul Risley, 11-1. 195: Ethan Rossman, B, maj. dec. Gage Sutliff, 14-2. 220: Nik Miller, CM, pinned Tyler Putnam, 1:33.

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