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Montgomery wrestling rallies past South Williamsport, 50-19

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Montgomery's Conner Harer takes down South Williamsport's Landyn Gephart during their match at 145 pounds Thursday.

Montgomery and South Williamsport’s wrestling programs have two things in common. The first is that the two teams have been rolling all year. On the flip side, both programs share a stinging loss at the hands of Benton.

In a clash between the two, the Mounties held a one-point lead after the first four weight classes. From there, however, the Red Raiders rallied through the rest of the night, winning out seven of the next eight matchups in a 50-19 win at South Williamsport Thursday.

The victory for Montgomery comes on the heels of the Red Raiders winning their own home tournament behind four first-place finishers, giving the group a confidence boost as the postseason looms.

“It’s big. The way we bounced back Saturday from Benton’s match, we wrestled really well,” Montgomery coach Denny Harer said. “I was anxious to see tonight how we’d bounce back in our first dual meet. (South Williamsport) is a well coached team, so we knew we’d come here and have a battle. We had to go out, pick a fight, win a fight and that’s what we did.”

The Red Raiders picked up forfeits at 106 and 120 for an early 12-point cushion. The Mounties climbed out of the early hole with wins from Kayvan Shams (113) and Bobby Gardner (126). Shams came up with a second-period pin of Brennan Emery for an initial tie in team score.

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette South Williamsport's Bobby Gardner gets Montgomery's Hunter Leet to his back during their match at 126 pounds Thursday.

Gardner faced a challenge in Hunter Leet, who is fresh off an individual title at the Matness at the MACC tournament. Up against one of the top lineups in Pennsylvania, Gardner strapped in and tuned out the noise.

“It didn’t really matter to me. I’ll wrestle anybody any time,” Gardner said. “I’m always ready to wrestle my style. I always want to be wrestling my match, it doesn’t matter who I wrestle.”

Through the first period, Gardner mounted a 7-1 lead over Leet. From there, he piled on points for a 16-4 major decision.

“I’m really good at pushing the pace and keeping my attacks going, pushing him to the point where he doesn’t want to wrestle me and kind of gives up,” Gardner said.

Sam Persun and Nevin Beachel battled out a 132-pound dogfight that featured three lead changes. Persun narrowed out an 8-7 decision to create an 18-13 advantage for the Mounties.

As quickly as South Williamsport’s flame ignited, it was snuffed out in the middle and upper weights. The following four weight classes were won by the Red Raiders via bonus points.

Conner Harer — the top-ranked 145-pounder in Pennsylvania — made quick work of Landyn Gephart, mounting a 24-8 tech fall with just one second to spare before the first-period buzzer.

Caden Finck (138), Devon Deem (152) and Tanner Springman (160) all pinned their opponents, allowing Montgomery to firmly retake its lead once more. The bonus-point wins throughout the Red Raiders’ lineup came from a strong neutral game.

“Take them down, cut ’em, open them up and try to break ’em,” Harer said.

The Mounties put up one last win at 172, a pin of Braiden Beachel from Landon Lorson. Colby Springman (189) pinned Owen Bird right after. Bradley Leon took a 3-1 decision against Ryan Casella at 215, and Montgomery received a forfeit at heavyweight.

The Red Raiders, since losing to Benton, have won two dual meets and its home tournament. So, does Montgomery still think about its one and only blemish on the season?

“Absolutely. We don’t want to forget about it,” Harer said.

South Williamsport has one last dual meet on tap before the postseason, and another big one at that. The Mounties host Muncy in one week and look to prepare for another go-round with the Red Raiders in due time.

“I think Montgomery’s a great team, so we expect that every single bout is going to be a hard-fought bout. I’m proud of our guys’ effort,” South Williamsport coach Eric Gerber said. “We’ll make a couple changes here, fix a couple things technique-wise and get ready to go again, because we’ll see them again at sectionals.”

MONTGOMERY 50, SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT 19

106: Logan Sauers (M) via forfeit. 113: Kayvan Shams (SW) pinned Brennan Emery, 2:43. 120: Blake Snyder (M) via forfeit. 126: Bobby Gardner (M) major dec. Hunter Leet, 16-4. 132: Sam Persun (SW) dec. Nevin Beachel, 8-7. 138: Caden Finck (M) pinned Gabe Harvey, 3:05. 145: Conner Harer (M) tech fall Landyn Gephart, 24-8. 152: Devon Deem (M) pinned Jonah White, 0:41. 160: Tanner Springman (M) pinned Garrett Cooley, 0:35. 172: Landon Lorson (SW) pinned Braiden Beachel, 1:03. 189: Colby Springman (M) pinned Owen Bird, 3:59. 215: Bradley Leon (M) dec. Ryan Casella, 3-1. 285: Gaven Strouse (M) via forfeit.

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