Austin Johnson, Muncy wrestling fends off late push from Sugar Valley
MUNCY — Though Sugar Valley took a one-point lead with two weight classes to go, and Muncy’s wrestling team already held a forfeit in its pocket at heavyweight, the Indians already had all the insurance they needed.
At the blow of the whistle, Austin Johnson — the No. 4 215-pounder in Class AA — pounced on Kyle Stahl, pinning the latter in 17 seconds to rip the carpet out from under the Phoenix.
With Johnson’s bonus points and Matthew McCauley winning via forfeit at 285, Muncy fended off a late push from Sugar Valley, 41-30 in its own gym Friday.
“I wanted to pin him as fast as I could. I didn’t want the match to string out at all, I just wanted it to be over and get it done,” Johnson said on his fall over Stahl.
Being the fifth-ranked top incoming freshman in Pennsylvania ahead of the season, Johnson kicked off his varsity career with major individual tournament titles at the Top Hat and King of the Mountain.
Now sitting at 26-0, Johnson has only been dialing up his intensity on the mat, his 17-second pin of Stahl being just the latest example.
“I have the best practice partners and the best coaches, so I knew that I was prepared for this season and I have high goals,” Johnson said.
Sugar Valley started with a six-point lead having taken a forfeit at 106. From there, Josh Hill (113) posted a 17-0 tech fall on Jamen McCloskey, and two forfeits later, Scott Johnson — the top-ranked 132-pounder in the state — pinned Gavin Hampton in one minute, 23 seconds as the Indians rifled off 23 unanswered points.
As two top-10 wrestlers in their classes, both Johnsons have been a force for the Indians this season. The duo’s pair of pins illustrated what they bring to Muncy’s lineup in the mid to upper weights.
“I think we had a great showing with those guys tonight. You know day in and day out that those guys are gonna perform,” Indians coach Patrick Sparks said. “They work very, very hard to be able to do that and they pick our guys up when they need to be picked up and show their leadership when they need to show their leadership.”
Sugar Valley started its rally at 138 when Isaiah Conoway took a 6-4 decision over Alex Maiorana. Two pins for Cameron Quick (1:46) and Malachi Gottshall (3:38) later, and the Phoenix came back from the ashes, only down 23-21.
Gottshall’s pin of Jacob Fowler didn’t come easy. The two both had chances to pin one another and had an answer each time either wrestler had the upper hand. According to Sparks, it came down to inexperience, and Fowler has been getting more reps and results as of late.
“We’ve got a lot of young wrestlers who have taken some time off. Jacob (Fowler), it’s his first year ever wrestling, and to see where he’s come from the start of the season till now … it wasn’t like that at the beginning of the season,” Sparks said. “And because he’s coming to the room everyday and working his butt off, he’s able to have matches like that as opposed to what he was experiencing at the beginning of the season.”
The 189-pound clash between Cayden Weaver and Jacob Cooley was another thriller. Entering the third period tied 4-4, Weaver got over the hump and pulled away with a 9-6 decision in Sugar Valley’s favor to finally take the lead, 30-29 before Austin Johnson’s pin.
“Jacob (Cooley), same thing. Somewhat inexperienced, but he’ll definitely give you everything he can on a daily basis,” Sparks said on Cooley’s match.
Muncy’s Ty Nixon pinned Corey King at the 1:14 mark in the 160-pound bout. Sugar Valley received a forfeit at 172.
The Indians have a busy week ahead with CMVT, Benton and South Williamsport coming their way for the last three dual meets of the season.
“I just hope our team keeps improving,” Austin Johnson said. “I know there’s some injuries and some kids couldn’t wrestle tonight, which kind of hurt us, but I think we’ll keep getting better as a team.”
MUNCY 41, SUGAR VALLEY 30
106: Kylee Hill (SV) via forfeit. 113: Josh Hill (M) tech fall Jamen McCloskey, 17-0. 120: Ryan Driscoll (M) via forfeit. 126: Phil McCormick (M) via forfeit. 132: Scott Johnson (M) pinned Gavin Hampton, 1:23. 138: Isaiah Conoway (SV) dec. Alex Maiorana, 6-4. 145: Cameron Quick (SV) pinned Landon Wommer, 1:46. 152: Malachi Gottshall (SV) pinned Jacob Fowler, 3:38. 160: Ty Nixon (M) pinned Corey King, 1:14. 172: Colten Elters (SV) via forfeit. 189: Cayden Weaver (SV) dec. Jacob Cooley, 9-6. 215: Austin Johnson (M) pinned Kyle Stahl, 0:17. 285: Matthew McCauley (M) via forfeit.