Towanda out of PIAA tournament
HERSHEY - In their opening round match in the PIAA Duals Towanda coach Bill Sexton didn't think the Black Knights wrestled the way they were capable of in a loss to Fort Leboeuf.
On Friday morning the performance he saw out of his squad during a 52-6 win over Lower Moreland is more like what he saw all season long.
"I think they went out more relaxed and wrestled the way we are capable of wrestling," Sexton said. "I think we were overwhelmed by the whole situation yesterday. You hope it doesn't happen, but it did. But, I thought we got over that and wrestled the way we were capable of today.
"Even the matches that we lost today were competitive matches. I liked the way (Jared) Lines battled back and made his a match and I thought Clay Mosier had a heck of a match. He just gave up too many points early."
The run for the Black Knights ended in the afternoon with a 36-24 loss to Huntingdon.
One of the highlights of the morning match for the Black Knights was the return of Terrick Vargason at 132 pounds.
The four-year starter and captain missed the past month with a knee injury before returning with a 5-0 win over Dmitri Bourlako.
"It felt good to be out on the mat again," Vargason said. "The emotions were overwhelming."
The senior weighed in against Fort Leboeuf yesterday, but they didn't want to try his return against a state-ranked opponent.
"We didn't want to come out against a real good kid my very first match," he said. "We didn't want to have a setback with my injury."
For Sexton it was good having Vargason back.
"The highlight for me was Terrick back on the mat," Sexton said. "He worked hard to get back. He controlled his match, scoring from two of the three positions. He had two reversals in the match. It's nice to get back a four-year starter for us. All threw his injury he was a leader for us, but it's easier to lead by example."
For Vargason there was a little pain after, but not too bad and it was nice to be back to get some time before sectionals.
"It's a little sore, but nothing ice can't do," he said. "This really prepares me for sectionals, I can find out what I can do."
Towanda's wrestlers were happy with the team's effort coming off the loss on Thursday.
"It felt really nice," Dayton Wickwire said of the win. "Last match everyone was down, it was good to come back."
The Black Knights know the atmosphere took a little getting used to on Thursday.
"Yesterday there were a lot of jitters," Vargason said. "It was very new and we didn't all know what to expect. Today we came out ready to wrestle."
Getting the win in the morning Friday gave the Black Knights some confidence as a team.
"We are a lot more confident now," Wickwire said. "We know we can really wrestle now."
After losing some close matches late in periods on Thursday Sexton was happy with the way the team finished strong on Friday.
"We scored quite a few points at the end of periods and that was good," Sexton said.
The win against Lower Moreland started at 185 with Dalton Claupein winning 5-3 over Patrick Giordano.
At 195 Dakoatah Manning picked up a 4-1 win over Blair Sykes, before Jeremy Sheets pinned David Chung in 2:38 at 220.
Towanda's Garrett Mosier won by fall in 42 seconds over Tyler McCaffrey at 285, before Nate Secules got a pin in 4:03 at 106 over David Shin.
"It was a good win for Nate," Sexton said. "He's a freshman that we have thrown into a fire and he found a way to get it done. It's big for his confidence and for his future."
At 113 Lines fell 4-3 to Jimmy McGuigan, trailing 4-0 before he battled back late.
Towanda's Nick Secules won by major decision 13-4 over Joey Chalhoub at 120, before Mosier fell 8-3 to Josh Wattenmaker at 126.
Vargason had his 5-0 win at 132, before Steven Yates pinned Dennis Liftsted in 1:20 at 138.
At 145 Tristan Decker won by technical fall 15-0 in 1:44 over Bruno Mariani and at 152 Justin Sheets of Towanda won 9-2 over John Chung.
The Black Knights' Breycin Fulmer won a 10-0 major decision over Brenton Thalheimer at 160 and Wickwire closed out the win with a 3-0 decision over Max Pylayev.
Against Huntingdon the Black Knights took the loss to end their run at the state duals, but Sexton was happy with the effort.
"All you can ever ask from the kids or want from them is to give what they can," Sexton said. "We came back against Lower Moreland and wrestled like Towanda wrestling. They (Huntingdon) scored more points than us and we lost, but you can lose without getting beat and beat up. We lost, but I don't think we got beat or beat up."
The match started at 220 where Huntingdon's Mitchell Lauer earned a 3-0 win over Jeremy Sheets to make it 3-0 Huntingdon.
The next two matches the Black Knights got big pins as Pratt pinned Tyler Morningstar in 1:59 at 285 and Nate Secules got a pin over John Kline in 2:31 at 106.
"We knew we had a shot to get off with some points," Sexton said. "I thought we were equal at 220 and we had an advantage. Sheets was a competitive match, he just came up short and we had a chance at pins the next two matches and we got them. At 113 their kid is just really good and Lines was a little overmatched and they got the pin."
State-ranked Collin Glorioso got a pin of Lines in 19 seconds to make it 12-9 Towanda.
The Black Knights got a hard fought win at 120 as Nick Secules won 4-1 in utb to make it 15-9 Black Knights.
"We got a good solid match out of Nick," Sexton said.
At 126 Mosier fought to try and keep his match to a decision, but Matt Wilson got the pin for Huntingdon with one second left to make it 15-15.
"It was a good effort out of Clay," Sexton said. "He gave up the fall with one second left. He was wrestling a good kid with about 25 wins and he did a good job."
At 132 Vargason led most of the way, but Devon Green tied him late in the third and picked up the 8-6 sudden victory.
Coming off an injury and returning for the first time in a month on Friday the Towanda senior seemed to wear out a little late in the match.
"He's not going to be in the same shape he would be in if he hadn't missed a month," Sexton said. "We rolled the dice there. DJ Knolles has had a solid year as a freshman for us, we thought we would go with the more experienced kid there."
Huntingdon won the next three matches to all but secure the victory as Nathan Russell pinned Yates in 2:05 at 138 and Jacob Oliver won 5-2 over Decker at 145, while Jon Wagner beat Justin Sheets 3-1 at 152.
Wickwire got a win for the Black Knights at 160 as he won 4-0 over Eric Lynn, before Huntingdon's Logan Fisher won 8-1 over Breycin Fulmer at 170 and Matt Norris beat Dalton Claupein 3-0 at 182.
Dakoatah Manning won by forfeit for the Black Knights at 195.
While the Black Knights were eliminated on Friday they were happy with the effort this year.
"Our dual meet season is over and we achieved every goal we had and we exceeded some," Sexton said. "We won the league and that was a big goal. We won districts and that was a big goal. We got here and we won a match here. We had 28 dual meet wins and that was a goal, our goal was 25.
"It's tough to lose, we would have liked to wrestle on, but every team would. To be top 12 in the state meet is not a bad year. Top 12 in the top wrestling state in the country, there's a lot to be proud of. It doesn't make up for the loss, but it's a lot to be proud of."
Now the Black Knights prepare for the individual postseason beginning with sectionals.
"Now we head into the second season from here," Sexton said. "We go to sectionals and we would like to win sectionals. That's another goal."