By Lynn Saternow
Allied News Sports Editor
MERCER COUNTY AREA —
Lakeview heavyweight Sam Breese is making his second straight trip to the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships Thursday, but this time there’s a big difference.
Breese is the Northwest Region champion.
Breese had the crowd at Sharon High School cheering loudly as he decked Union City’s Jeff Burger in 1:49 to clinch the 285-pound title. Burger scored a takedown, but Breese reversed and clamped Burger on his back for the win.
“No controversy there,” said a happy Lakeview coach Tom Tingley after the match. “So many of those matches are one point, or a controversial call here or there. Sam went out there and got the pin. That was a stacked weight class. Now we get back work on a few things and get ready for Hershey.”
There was some controversy in the heavyweight consolation match where Forrest Christmann of Slippery Rock, the District 10 champion, lost on a stalling point late in the match.
Breese, the NW Region runner-up to Reynolds’ Blake Heim last year, had beaten Christmann in the semifinals, 2-1, with a penalty point against Christmann for a hand to the face being the difference.
Christmann and Grove City’s Luke Walter (132) both came close to earning a state berth but losses in the consolation finals eliminated them.
Christman, headed for Edinboro, finished his senior year at 32-5. Walter, a sophomore, went 31-11.
Breese (33-4) will open wrestling Thursday morning in Hershey against Southwest Region 5th-place finisher Jacob Beistel (34-5) of Southmoreland. Last year he posted a 1-2 mark in Chocolatetown and is looking for a spot high on the medal stand this year.
Reynolds senior Austin Matthews won his 4th Northwest AA Region championship Saturday, putting him in rare company. But there’s another elite club he’s looking to join – the state champion’s club.
Matthews has won every postseason tournament he’s ever been in except one – the PIAA state tourney. And the Raider star leads a stellar group of county 8 matmen to Hershey this coming week.
The group finished in the top three in each weight to earn slots at state. Joining Matthews and Breese as champion were: Sharon’s Jarray Norris (126), copping his second title, and Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145). Locals finishing second were: Sharon’s Michael Bonner (138) and Reynolds’ Jamar Henry (182). Taking third were Raiders’ Seth Hogue (106) and Michael Bartolo (113).
Other region champs repeating their 2012 wins were Redbank Valley’s Willis Gruver (113), Saegertown’s Tyler Vath (120), Kane’s Evan Delong (160).
First time champs were: Saegertown’s Devin Brown (106); Smethport’s Karl Lightner (132), Brookville’s Brock Zacherl (138); Union City’s Tim Vargo (170); Saegertown’s Dylan Reynolds (182); Corry’s Ryan Morris (195); Cochranton’s Cam Cyphert (220).
Matthews was also a big part of the Raiders winning their 16th regional title, the first under second-year coach Casey Taylor. Reynolds posted 118 points to outdistance Saegertown (97) and Brookville (94.5).
“The kids did a good job,” said Taylor. “It’s kind of repetitive, but as I’ve said before, the kids weren’t supposed to do any of this as the start of the year. Every thing they did, they overachieved this year. But our expectations are always high at Reynolds.
“I’m happy with the effort of every kid. I’ve never had to say one of our kids didn’t give their full effort.
“We’re taking 5 kids to state. Last year we took 3. And with only one (Matthews) coming back, I’m sure a lot of people thought he would be the only one going this year. But the kids really came around. And Austin is a big reason. He’s a real leader. And my coaches (Joe Reichard, Mark Bartolo and Marty Taylor) deserve a lot of the credit too.”
106 – Saegertown’s sensational sophomore Devin Brown (44-1) is ranked No. 1 in the state and he showed why as he dominated District 9 champion Taylor Ortz of Brookvile in the finals for a 9-1 major decision. Brown reportedly was a state place-winner in Ohio last year out of the Steubenville area before transferring to Saegertown. In the consolation finals, Reynolds freshman Seth Hogue punched his ticket to state with a 5-2 decision over Greenville sophomore Jase Paxson.
113 – Willis Gruver of Redbank Valley repeated his 2012 title, bouncing back from a loss to Cody Blankenship of Kane in the D-9 finals. In the region final he beat Blankenship, 4-2. Reynolds advanced another wrestler to state here as sophomore Michael Bartolo rallied from behind in the third period to take the lead and then pinned Brookville frosh Cole Aaron. Bartolo lost to Gruver in the semifinals, 6-2.
120 – Saegertown sophomore Tyler Vath won his second straight crown, having topped the field at 106 last year. Vath in the finals rolled over Trent Neely of Smethport, the D-9 champ, by a 9-1 rout.
126 – Sharon’s Jarray Norris made it three repeat champions in a row as he took a masterful 6-1 decision over Kyle Lukowich of Conneaut Area. Norris (35-2) trailed 1-0 early in the second period but nailed a takedown and backpoints to grab the lead and never looked back.
Norris is well-known for his takedown ability, but Lukowich staved that off in the first period. “If I were drawing up a game plan to wrestle Jarray, I’d probably do the same thing,” said Sharon coach Dave Ciafre. “Reduce the match to 4 minutes rather than 6. But Jarray knows how to score and win and he did what he had to do. He wasn’t feeling well this weekend, but he still came through. Now we want to get down to state and get something. He’s come close before.”
132 – Smethport’s Karl Lightner upped his record to a perfect 31-0 with a 17-5 romp over D-10 champion Adam Fish of Seneca. Fish is only a freshman and is 34-5 heading to Hershey.
138 – Sharon’s Michael Bonner and Brock Zacherl of Brookville locked up in one of the more exciting matches of the night and unfortunately, one of the most controversial. Bonner led 8-7 with seconds to go when he was called for stalling by the ref that tied up the match. Then in overtime, Zacherl countered a shot by Bonner with a cradle for a takedown and the controversial 10-8 win that had fans booing vociferously.
“That was horrible,” said an angry Coach Ciafre about the stalling call. “He deserved to be the champ. And earlier in the match Michael had in a cradle for a takedown and they didn’t give it to him and then in overtime they gave it to the other kid. But I’m happy to be taking two kids to state and we’ll see what we can do down there.”
145 – It was a repeat of the District 10 finals here and it was a repeat winner. Reynolds junior Levi Stoyer scored a first period takedown and went on to a 3-2 victory. Last week the score was 3-1. “Levi wrestled a phenomenal match,” said Coach Taylor. “He got that first takedown and that was the difference. He has wrestled like a chess player all year long, he puts the right pieces together at the right time.”
152 – Coudersport’s Kyle Bova came into the tournament with a glowing 34-0 record, but he was no match in the finals for Reynolds’ Austin Matthews as the Raider nailed down his 4th straight title. Matthews (45-1) notched an early takedown and back points and rolled from there to an 18-6 romp.
“Fourth time’s a charm, I guess,” said Matthews with a laugh about his final trip to state where he’s finished 8th then 2nd twice. “I didn’t know much about Bova, but I watched him wrestle at the Fred Bell and he pinned Geer from Franklin in about 30 seconds. And anytime you are undefeated, no matter what competition you wrestle, you’re pretty good.”
160 – Kane’s junior Evan Delong (26-1) notched his straight region title with a 5-3 victory over D-10 champ Taylor Fox of Fort LeBoeuf.
170 – Union City’s Tim Vargo (23-1) built a lead and then decked Chris Matthews of Franklin in 4:25.
182 – For a second straight week it was a finals meeting of Saegertown’s Dylan Reynolds and Jamar Henry of Reynolds and the Panther sophomore again prevailed, this time by a 7-2 count. “Even though he lost, I was happy with the way Jamar wrestled,” said Coach Taylor. “He went after him and didn’t quit.”
195 – Corry’s Ryan Morris defeated Jake Johnson of Eisenhower, 8-2, to become Corry’s first Class AA champ since 1984. Corry has wrestled several years in AAA.
220 – Turnabout is truly fair play when it comes to Cochranton’s Cam Cyphert and Fort LeBoeuf’s Evan Daley. Last year, Cyphert bead Daley at the D-10 finals, but lost to him in the region finals. This year it was reversed. Daley won at districts, but in the region finals Saturday, Cyphert came through with a 5-2 decision.
106 – Devin Brown (Saegertown) maj. dec. Taylor Ortz (Brookville), 9-1; 113 – Willis Gruver (Redbank Valley) dec. Cody Blankenship (Kane), 4-2; 120 – Tyler Vath (Saegertown) maj. dec. Trent Neely (Smethport), 9-1; 126 – Jarray Norris (Sharon) dec. Kyle Lukowich, 6-1; 132 – Karl Lightner (Smethport) maj. dec. Adam Fish (Seneca), 17-5; 138 – Brock Zacherl (Brookville) dec. Michael Bonner (Sharon), 10-8; 145 – Levi Stoyer (Reynolds) dec. Robert Boozer (Cochranton), 3-2; 152 – Austin Matthews (Reynolds) maj. dec. Kyle Bova (Coudersport), 18-6; 160 – Evan DeLong (Kane) dec. Taylor Fox (Fort LeBoeuf), 5-3; 170 – Tim Vargo (Union City) pinned Chris Matthews (Franklin), 4:25; 182 – Dylan Reynolds (Saegertown) dec. Jamar Henry (Reynolds), 7-2; 195 – Ryan Morris (Corry) dec. Jake Johnson (Eisenhower), 8-2; 220 – Cam Cyphert (Cochranton) dec. Evan Daley (Fort LeBoeuf), 5-2; 285 – Sam Breese (Lakeview) pinned Jeff Burger (Union City), 1:49.
(Winner goes to state)
106 – Seth Hogue (Reynolds) dec. Jase Paxson (Greenville), 5-2; 113 – Mike Bartolo (Reynolds) pinned Cole Aaron (Brookville), 4:35; 120 – Matt Wheeler (Northwestern) dec. Tyler Kuzma (Fort LeBoeuf), 2-0; 126 – Nick Monico (Saegertown) dec. Brett Himes (Ridgway), 6-0; 132 – Dalton Zimmerman (Brookville) dec. Luke Walter (Grove City), 3-0; 138 – Matt Humes (Saegertown) dec. Cody Bova (Coudersport), 2-1; 145 – Zach Vroman (Brookville) dec. Ty Haines (Redbank Valley), 3-1 OT; 152 – Taylor Harrington (Fort LeBoeuf) dec. Samuel Colebert (Oswayo Valley), 5-2; 160 – Cole Shirey (Redbank Valley) dec. Brodie Zacherl (Brookville), 2-1 UTB; 170 – Alex Gular (Port Allegany) dec. Austin Andrews (Cochranton), 4-3; 182 – Aaron Hook (Redbank Valley) dec. Joe Hines (Hickory), 3-0; 195 – Trevor Beiter (Seneca) dec. Jake Wichert (Oswayo Valley), 9-4; 220 – Jaykup Durlin (Youngsville) dec. Logan Rickert (Reynolds), 1-0; 285 – Nicholas Budd (Port Allegany) dec. Forrest Christmann (Slippery Rock), 2-1.