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Watkins’ win at 106 pounds secures 3rd-place finish at D4 Duals

FRANK DIMON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Montoursville’s Gavin Livermore earns back points against Muncy’s Tristan Ditzler during their 195-pound bout in the consolation final of the District 4 Duals at Milton on Saturday.

MILTON — The thoughts flowed through Jackson Watkins’ mind like water over Niagara Falls. Those thoughts turned to overwhelming nerves which left the Montoursville sophomore shaking as he prepared to wrestle a varsity match for the first time since the first day of the season.

Warriors coach Matt Yonkin told the 106-pounder to be aggressive. Watkins’ mind cleared of all but one thought: Get Muncy’s Jaden Boore to the mat as quickly as possible.

In a tied match to decide District 4’s third representative to next week’s state tournament, Montoursville and Muncy sent junior varsity wrestlers to the middle of the mat at Milton High School to likely decide the third-place match at the District 4 Duals on Saturday. Watkins found a way to channel his nervous energy into an explosion of offense.

His takedown and fall in just 12 seconds gave Montoursville a six-point lead. No. 1-ranked 106-pounder Branden Wentzel then bumped up a weight class and sacrificed a loss on his resume to hold Muncy’s seventh-ranked Scott Johnson to a decision and give Montoursville a 39-36 win. The Warriors finished third in the district tournament, earning a spot in Monday’s pigtail round of the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships. They’ll travel to Boiling Springs to face the District 3 runner-up Bubblers at 7 p.m. Monday with the winner earning a spot in Hershey for the state tournament on Thursday.

Southern Columbia won its fourth consecutive District 4 Class AA Duals title with a 53-18 win over Line Mountain in the final. The Tigers defeated second place Line Mountain, third-place Montoursville (49-21) and fourth-place Muncy (54-18) to become the first team in District 4 to win four consecutive Class AA duals titles.

Yonkin understood, even in the moment, there was an absurdity to trusting Montoursville’s dual-meet season to a wrestler who wrestled this year for the first time since his elementary school days. But he was confident Watkins could handle the moment against Boore, who himself had stepped on a varsity wrestling mat only twice this season, and both were to accept forfeits.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking when you’re handing over your entire season to an untested sophomore,” Yonkin said. “But the reality is (Boore) is new to the sport as well, and I felt a little more confident in our kid.”

With Muncy and Montoursville tied 33-33 with only two bouts to go, Watkins took an immediate double-leg shot and scored the takedown. But in the process he also trapped Boore on his back and scored the fall in just 12 seconds.

Watkins rose to his feet and looked toward a Montoursville bench which was going absolutely berserk and flexed both his arms ever so slightly. The nerves were gone. If he was shaking, it was out of pure elation. And he was greeted by his teammates as if he had just won a state championship.

“I was so excited because I’ve been working the whole entire season on this and I just wanted a chance to wrestle for my team,” Watkins said. “I just wanted to win for my team because I didn’t want to let them down.”

“I could not be more happy for Jackson,” Yonkin said. “He’s a good kid who works hard and the kids love him. He’s a great part of the team, and for him to be able to experience that moment, I could not be more excited for him.”

Just four bouts earlier, Muncy had been in a position where everything it needed to happen to beat the Warriors had happened. By winning the pre-match coin flip, the Indians were able to dictate a couple key matchups.

Muncy held a 27-6 lead through the first six bouts. And in winning the toss, the Indians thought it could minimize some of the damage through Montoursville’s brutal upper weights. Seventh-ranked Ethan Gush gave up just a decision to fifth-ranked Dylan Bennett despite bumping up a weight class. And in turn, Muncy was able to move Tristan Ditzler up a weight class away from Bennett and into a toss-up match against Gavin Livermore at 195.

For the better part of 4 minutes, that move worked perfectly. Ditzler built a 9-1 lead and likely would have scored a fall if not for the first-period buzzer interrupting his pinning combination on the edge of the circle. But one motion, Livermore changed everything.

Late in the second period, down 9-2, Livermore hit Ditzler with a blast double which would have made Jordan Burroughs’ jaw drop. With a cringe-inducing thud, Livermore dropped Ditzler hard to his back and held him there for a five count and three back points. The five-point move cut Livermore’s deficit to 9-7 and forced Ditzler to take injury time to get back his wind.

That one move filled Livermore with confidence and inspired a worried Montoursville bench. Livermore, who was just 9-9 entering that bout, hit another big move midway through the third period and finished it for a fall. And all of a sudden, instead of staring at a desperate situation with a double-digit deficit and only four bouts left, Montoursville had tied the dual and put the control back in its own hands if it could just get a fall from Cameron Wood at 220, which it did, and Perkins’ first varsity victory at 106.

“I was thinking I was in trouble about the whole match,” Livermore said. “But my teammates put me back in the right mindset. And that one takedown got all my confidence back and I was ready to go.”

“We’ve been preaching that every bout counts, every point counts. And for us, with our lineup, it does,” Muncy coach Royce Eyer said. “You can’t have a letdown match, and unfortunately for us, we did. We’ve been battling injury and sickness all year and it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Muncy nearly pulled off an improbable run through the consolation bracket after opening the day with a lopsided loss to Southern Columbia. It beat Milton, 40-39, on criteria in its first consolation match. Cael Hembury, who was quite sick all day, recorded a decisive fall against Canton in the consolation semifinals for a 42-33 win.

But despite the great start against Montoursville, it wasn’t able to close out the dual. The Indians failed to qualify for state duals for the first time since 2017. A Lycoming County team has never won the District 4 Class AA Duals since its inception in 1999.

Milton went 0-2 yesterday, losing to Montoursville and Muncy. Canton opened with a win over Benton before falling to Line Mountain in the semifinals and Montoursville in the consolation semifinals.

“I’m proud of these guys, they battled hard,” Eyer said. “It was a tough day and a long day and there were a lot of tough matches. We got a couple good, quality wins, but unfortunately we lost a few tough ones and close ones. But I was happy with the effort. One match here and one match there and maybe things are different.”

DISTRICT 4 DUALS RESULTS

QUARTERFINALS

No. 1 Montoursville 53,

No. 8 Milton 27

285: Nevin Rauch, Mil, maj. dec. Will Carson, 13-4. 106: Branden Wentzel, Mont, pinned Tyler Geiswite, 1:43. 113: Cole Johnson, Mont, pinned Alex Parker, 2:19. 120: Zane Neaus, Mil, pinned Lucas Sherwood, 3:50. 126: Broc Lutz, Mont, pinned Colton Taylor, 2:58. 132: James Batkowski, Mont, pinned Jaden Wagner, 1:42. 138: Kyler Crawford, Mil, tech. fall Xan Oberheim, 15-0, 5:10. 145: Chase Hoffman, Mil, pinned Zach Barnes, 0:30. 152: Jake Dinges, Mont, pinned Dillan Ando, 5:40. 160: Isaac Cory, Mont, pinned Jason Valladares, 3:33. 170: Cael Crebs, Mont, pinned Aven Ayala, 1:01. 182: Dylan Bennett, Mont, by forfeit. 195: Nathan Rauch, Mil, pinned Caleb Moser, 4:57. 220: Cameron Wood, Mont, pinned Brent Mitch, 1:15.

No. 4 Southern Columbia 54, No. 5 Muncy 18

285: Lear Quinton, SC, by forfeit. 106: Toren Cooper, SC, by forfeit. 113: Scott Johnson, M, pinned Brady Feese, 3:50. 120: Kole Biscoe, SC, pinned Alex Maiorana, 0:59. 126: Jacob Blair, M, inj. def. Garrett Krebs, 1:18. 132: Bryce Vollman, M, dec. Ian Yoder, 6-5. 138: Pat Edmondson, SC, inj. def. Dylan Sharr, 0:42. 145: Mario Barberio, M, dec. Brandon Gedman, 4-2. 152: Wes Barnes, SC, dec. Christian Good, 10-7. 160: Gavin Garcia, SC, by forfeit. 170: Cade Linn, SC, dec. Ethan Gush, 3-0. 182: Tyler Waltman, SC, pinned Tristan Ditzler, 0:22. 195: Gaige Garcia, SC, by forfeit. 220: Max Tillet, SC, wom by forfeit.

No. 3 Canton 32,

No. 6 Benton 31

285: Trevor Williams, C, dec. Andrew Wolfe, 3-1. 106: Chase Burke, B, dec. Isaac Landis, 7-2. 113: Ethan Kolb, B, dec. Bailey Ferguson, 4-0. 120: Dylan Granahan, B, by forfeit. 126: Remington Morrow, B, maj. dec. Austin Allen, 9-0. 132: Gable Strickland, B, pinned Miah Lehman, 1:23. 138: Hayden Ward, C, pinned Caden Temple, 4:14. 145: Riley Parker, pinned Mason Smith, 4:58. 152: Zeke Gillilan, C, dec. Josh Fisher, 5-2. 160: Brenen Taylor, C, maj. dec. Mason Michae l, 12-1. 170: Nolan Lear, B, dec. Timmy Ward, 7-4. 182: Garrett Storch, C, maj. dec. Jake Bobersky, 11-3. 195: Derek Atherton-Ely, C, pinned Kaleb Michael, 2:56. 220: Zach Poust, B, pinned Chance Deljanovan, 5:29.

No. 2 Line Mountain 45, No. 7 Mount Carmel 21

285: Dominick Bridi, LM, dec. Austin Reed, 12-5. 106: Aidan Kritzer, LM, pinned Kris Kalbarchick, 0:48. 120: Lane Schadel, LM, dec. Jake Adzema. 126: Trevor McDonald, MC, dec. Blake Wirt, 4-1. 132: Mason Leshock, LM, dec. Tyler Winhofer, 8-6. 138: Ian Coller, LM, dec. Joey Bendas, 6-0. 145: Bryce Carl, LM, pinned Zach Reed, 5:39. 152: Matty Coller, LM, pinned Tyler Owens, 2:41. 160: Riley Heim, LM, pinned Thomas Davitt, 3:20. 170: Noah Berkoski, MC, pinned Alex Leitzel, 1:58. 182: Jacob Feese, LM, dec. Shane Weidner, 8-1. 195: Damon Backes, MC, pinned Cale King, 1:29. 220: Hunter Minnig, MC, by forfeit.

SEMIFINALS

No. 4 Southern Columbia 49, No. 1 Montoursville 21

106: Branden Wentzel, M, by forfeit. 113: Cole Johnson, M, pinned Toren Cooper, 5:41. 120: Brady Feese, SC, tech. fall Lucas Sherwood, 16-1, 5:43. 126: Kole Biscoe, SC, maj. dec. Broc Lutz, 10-0. 132: Ian Yoder, SC, dec. James Batkowski, 7-5. 138: Pat Edmondson, SC, maj. dec. Xan Oberheim, 10-0. 145: Brandon Gedman, SC, pinned Emery Balint, 2:55. 152: Wes Barnes, SC, pinned Jake Dinges, 3:54. 160: Gavin Garcia, SC, dec. Isaac Cory, 3-0. 170: Cael Crebs, M, won by default Cade Linn, 4:00. 182: Dylan Bennett, M, dec. Tyler Waltman, 2-0. 195: Max Tillet, SC, pinned Gavin Livermore, 0:47. 220: Gaige Garcia, SC, pinned Cameron Wood, 1:10. 285: Lear Quinton, SC, pinned Lane Stutzman, 1:32.

No. 2 Line Mountain 50, No. 3 Canton 30

106: Aidan Kritzer, LM, dec. Isaac Landis, 4-3. 113: Bailey Ferguson, C, pinned Brody Long, 0:31. 120: Lane Schadel, LM, pinned Austin Allen, 0:42. 126: Blake Wirt, LM, pinned Miah Lehman, 0:54. 132: Hayden Ward, C, pinned Mason Leshock, 3:48. 138: Ian Coller, LM, tech. fall Riley Parker, 16-1, 5:26. 145: Bryce Carl, LM, pinned Tyler Williams, 1:14. 152: Matty Coller, LM, pinned Brenen Taylor, 1:29. 160: Riley Heim, LM, pinned Zeke Gilliland, 0:22. 170: Timmy Ward, C, pinned Alex Leitzel, 1:07. 182: Garrett Storch, C, pinned Cale King, 1:38. 195: Jacob Feese, LM, pinned Derek Atherton-Ely, 3:14. 220: Trevor Williams, C, by forfeit. 285: Dominick Bridi, LM, pinned Jaden Fantini-Hulslander, 2:54.

CONSOLATION QUARTERS

No. 5 Muncy 40,

No. 8 Milton 39*

(Muncy wins on Criteria I, most first points scored, 16-8)

106: Tyler Geiswite, Mil, pinned Jaden Boore, 0:35. 113: Scott Johnson, Mun, pinned Alex Parker, 0:22. 120: Chase Crawley, Mun, dec. Zane Neaus, 5-0. 126: Jacob Blair, Mun, pinned Colton Taylor, 0:56. 132: Bryce Vollman, Mun, pinned Jaden Wagner, 0:27. 138: Kyler Crawford, Mil, pinned Dylan Sharr, 2:33. 145: Mario Barberio, Mun, by forfeit. 152: Christian Good, Mun, pinned Chase Hoffman, 4:45. 160: Dillan Ando, Mil, pinned Kobe Fowler, 1:31. 170: Ethan Gush, Mun, pinned Jason Valladares, 2:52. 182: Aven Ayala, Mil, pinned Tristan Ditzler, 3:30. 195: Nathan Rauch, Mil, by forfeit. 220: Brent Mitch, Mil, dec. Cael Hembury, 6-4. 285: Nevin Rauch, Mil, pinned Matt McCauley, 1:13.

No. 6 Benton 54,

No. 7 Mount Carmel 12

106: Chase Burke, B, pinned Kris Kalbarchick, 1:11. 113: Ethan Kolb, B, by forfeit. 120: Dylan Granahan, B, dec. Jake Adzema, 3-1. 126: Gable Strickland, B, pinned Trevor McDonald, 2:21. 132: Caden Temple, B, pinned Tyler Winhofer, 3:44. 138: Mason Smith, B, pinned Joey Bendas, 0:37. 145: Zach Reed, MC, dec. Josh Fisher, 7-0. 152: Thomas Davitt, MC, dec. Mason Michael, 9-7. 160: Nolan Lear, B, by forfeit. 170: Shane Weidner, B, dec. Jake Bobersky, 3-0. 182: Damon Backes, MC, dec. Kaleb Michael, 9-3. 195: Teagan Benner, B, by forfeit. 220: Andrew Wolfe, B, pinned Hunter Minnig, 1:59. 285: Zach Poust, B, dec. Austin Reed, 10-8.

CONSOLATION SEMIS

No. 5 Muncy 42,

No. 3 Canton 33

113: Scott Johnson, M, by forfeit. 120: Chase Crawley, M, dec. Bailey Ferguson, 6-4. 126: Alex Maiorana, M, pinned Austin Allen, 1:00. 132: Jacob Blair, M, pinned Miah Lehman, 0:22. 138: Bryce Vollman, M, dec. Hayden Ward, 2-0. 145: Mario Barberio, M, pinned Riley Parker, 1:41. 152: Christian Good, M, pinned Zeke Gilliland, 0:22. 160: Brenen Taylor, C, pinned Kobe Fowler, 3:44. 170: Timmy Ward, C, pinned Christian Niemczyk, 0:24. 182: Garrett Storch, C, dec. Ethan Gush, 3-2. 195: Derek Atherton-Ely, C, pinned Tristan Ditzler, 3:15. 220: Trevor Williams, C, pinned Obie Benner, 3:15. 285: Cael Hembury, M, pinned Jaden Fantini-Hulslander, 1:09. 106: Isaac Landis, C, by forfeit.

No. 1 Montoursville 44,

No. 6 Benton 22

113: Ethan Kolb, B, dec. Cole Johnson, 9-2. 120: Dylan Granahan, B, pinned Lucas Sherwood, 5:04. 126: Gable Strickland, B, maj. dec. Broc Lutz, 9-1. 132: James Batkowski, M, tech. fall Remington Morrow, 16-0, 5:36. 138: Caden Temple, B, dec. Xan Oberheim, 8-2. 145: Emery Balint, M, pinned Mason Smith, 3:09. 152: Jake Dinges, M, tech. fall Mason Michael, 16-1, 6:00. 160: Nolan Lear, B, pinned Ethan Lepley, 0:59. 170: Isaac Cory, M, tech. fall Jake Bobersky, 16-0, 5:30. 182: Cael Crebs, M, pinned Kaleb Michael, 0:35. 195: Dylan Bennett, M, pinned Teagan Benner, 0:06. 220: Cam Wood, M, maj. dec. Zach Poust, 10-2. 285: Lane Stutzman, M, dec. Andrew Wolfe, 4-3. 106: Branden Wentzel, M, maj. dec. Chase Burke, 9-1.

THIRD-PLACE MATCH

No. 1 Montoursville 39,

No. 5 Muncy 36

120: Chase Crawley, Mun, pinned Lucas Sherwood, 2:20. 126: Jacob Blair, Mun, pinned Broc Lutz, 1:18. 132: James Batkowski, Mont, pinned Dylan Sharr, 3:27. 138: Bryce Vollman, Mun, dec. Xan Oberheim, 7-3. 145: Mario Barberio, Mun, pinned Emery Balint, 1:35. 152: Christian Good, Mun, pinned Jake Dinges, 1:45. 160: Isaac Cory, Mont, pinned Kobe Fowler, 0:57. 170: Cael Crebs, Mont, pinned Christian Niemczyk, 0:10. 182: Dylan Bennett, Mont, dec. Ethan Gush, 5-0. 195: Gavin Livermore, Mont, pinned Tristan Ditzler, 4:49. 220: Cameron Wood, Mont, pinned Obie Benner, 0:49. 285: Cael Hembury, Mun, pinned Lane Stutzman, 3:32. 106: Jackson Watkins, Mont, pinned Jaden Boore, 0:12. 113: Scott Johnson, Mun, dec. Branden Wentzel, 4-0.

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

No. 4 Southern Columbia, 53, No. 2 Line Mountain 18

120: Kole Biscoe, SC, tech. fall Lane Schadel, 15-0, 3:41. 126: Lane Schadel, LM, by forfeit. 132: Ian Yoder, maj. dec. Mason Leshock, 11-5. 138: Pat Edmondson, SC, dec. Ian Coller, 6-0. 145: Brandon Gedman, SC, dec. Bryce Carl, 9-3. 152: Wes Barnes, SC, pinned Matty Coller, 2:35. 160: Gavin Garcia, SC, pinned Alex Leitzel, 0:18. 170: Cade Linn, SC, pinned Riley Heim, 0:51. 182: Tyler Waltman, SC, dec. Jacob Feese, 3-2. 195: Max Tillet, SC, pinned Cale King, 1:05. 220: Gaige Garcia, SC, pinned Dominick Bridi, 0:43. 285: Lear Quinton, SC, by forfeit. 106: Aidan Kritzer, LM, by forfeit. 113: Brody Long, LM, by forfeit.

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