Vollman helps propel Muncy
HUGHESVILLE — The boos rained down on Muncy’s Bryce Vollman with a thunderous echo. Fans didn’t like the way the junior finished off his 7-5 win over Warrior Run’s Noah Hunt in the 132-pound final Saturday at the District 4 Central Sectional.
He didn’t particularly care. He was in survival mode. He hurt his right knee early in the third period which required him to take an injury timeout and he was trying to survive Hunt’s vicious onslaught of takedown attempts. Largely, it meant Vollman had to stand his ground, or when necessary, retreat.
Vollman was hit for stalling three times as he just tried to survive the bout. He finally did as the buzzer mercifully sounded securing his second consecutive sectional title. As the boos from fans engulfed Hughesville High School’s gym, Vollman encouraged more. The boos again started as he received his gold medal and continued even as he needed help climbing down off the podium.
“You gotta love everything that’s involved with wrestling, whether it’s good or bad,” Vollman said while sitting on the training table with a basketball-sized bag of ice taped to the outside of his right knee. “You just have to keep your head up and keep going.”
No matter how the night ended for Vollman, he played a role in Muncy running away from the rest of the field and capturing its third consecutive Central Sectional title. He was one of four Muncy champions, joining Scott Johnson, Jacob Blair and Mario Barberio as the Indians advanced all 10 of its wrestlers to next week’s District 4 tournament with Top-4 finishes.
Ethan Gush (170 pounds), Tristen Ditzler (182) and Bailey Hadzinikolov (195) all finished second. Christian Good took third at 152, and Cael Hembury (285) and Chase Crawley (120) finished fourth. Crawley forfeited his third-place match, and Hembury injury defaulted after being tested by the trainer for a concussion.
It was the second consecutive year Muncy qualified double-digit wrestlers to the district tournament. Last year it had 11 qualifiers.
“We planned on bringing 10 to districts and we did that,” Barberio said. “We were hoping to get everyone in the finals, but not everything works out. But overall I think coach (Royce Eyer) is happy. I’m happy with my performance and I’m happy with everyone’s performance.”
The Indians got just the kind of performances it expected to from the majority of its finalists. Johnson, Blair, Vollman, Barberio and Gush were favorites to reach the final of their respective weight classes, if not win them. But to get Ditzler and Hadzinikolov to the finals in the upper weights was what helped separate Muncy from the pack.
Ditzler is a .500 wrestler who took a critical loss in the consolation semifinals of the District 4 Duals tournament against Montoursville which led to the Indians being eliminated. But he put together two outstanding performances to reach the final at 182 before running into third-ranked Dylan Bennett of Montoursville, who won the title with his third fall in under a minute of the day.
Ditzler cruised to a 10-3 win over Montgomery’s Ben Marino in the quarterfinals. He then scored a third-period fall against second-seeded Sam Hostrander of South Williamsport in the semifinals to reach his first section final.
“This is a great confidence boost for him,” Vollman said. “He’s been working so hard with all of us. We go to the weight room together, we go for extra mat time together. It’s awesome to see it work out like this for him.”
“He’s been working on his offense and he’s beginning to peak at the right time,” Barberio said. “I think needed that finals situation where he could be part of the parade of champions and enjoy that moment. Maybe next week he can come back with more confidence and keep advancing.”
Hadzinikolov was one of the biggest secrets of the Central Sectional if only because he had wrestled just three matches in his first varsity season before yesterday. Dealing with a knee injury from football season, Hadzinikolov was the last seed in the 195-pound field and had to wrestle in the pigtail round.
But after winning that first bout, he hit a cement job against No. 2 seed Hoyt Bower of Warrior Run for a fall in the quarterfinals. He then needed just 1:07 to pin Benton’s Andrew Wolfe in the semifinals. His run came to an end with a 3-2 loss to Central Columbia’s Dylan Devlin in the final, but he established himself as a threat at his weight class and scored valuable points for the Indians.
“I remember wrestling with Bailey all through elementary school, but then he stopped wrestling and I don’t think he ever should have,” Vollman said. “But he’s back now and it’s awesome to have him back.”