Bobcat Varsity Wrestlers Earn First Win, Defeating Kittanning 40-31 (01/16/14)

(By Kenn Staub)

The Clarion High School Wrestling Team earned its first victory of the 2013-2014 campaign, defeating the Kittanning Wildcats 40-31 in an away match on Wednesday, January 15th. Sophomores Alexander Burkhart (195lbs.) and Zack Huet (HWT) scored pins for the Bobcats, with Sr. Riley Gunter (145lbs.) and Jr. Jacob Troutman (160lbs.) both shutting out their opponents.

(Photo by Kenn Staub) Sr. Riley Gunter (145lbs.) with a half

(Photo by Kenn Staub)
Sr. Riley Gunter (145lbs.) with a half

Wrestling started at 113lbs. with Bobcat Sophomore Caleb Bailey facing Sophomore Malia Brendon of Kittanning. In a bout that could have gone either way, Brendon was able to parlay a single, first period takedown into a 2-0 victory, giving the Wildcats an early 3-0 lead. Following the opening bout, Clarion was the beneficiary of consecutive forfeits to Sophomore Adrian Weber (120lbs.), Sr. Tristan Shaffer (126lbs.), and So. Leo Aiello (132lbs.).

With the Bobcats ahead 18-3, action on the mat resumed at 138 pounds, as Clarion Sophomore Prince Brooks squared off against Sophomore Nick Croyle. In a closely contested bout, Brooks succumbed by pin fall as time was expiring in the third period.  This Kittanning victory halved the Bobcats’ lead, 18-9.

In the next bout of the evening Gunter, in the words of Head Coach Rob Sintobin, “proved once again that he is a capable leader by jump starting the match.” After a scoreless first period, Gunter started the scoring in the second by earning an escape against Kittanning Jr. Brandon Ingram. From there on out Gunter dominated, scoring another five points in the second period and six in the third, all through back points, to claim a 12-0 major decision. The victory stretched Clarion’s lead to 22-9.

Clarion Sophomore Allan Barrett (152lbs.) made his varsity debut against Kittanning Senior Jason Nolf, one of the top rated wrestlers in the country. Nolf prevailed via pin despite a game effort by Barrett, drawing the Wildcats to within seven points of Clarion.

Bobcats Troutman and Addison Hockins (172lbs.), both wrestling up a weight class, prevailed in the next two bouts against wrestlers Coach Sintobin described as “difficult opponents”. Troutman scored a takedown in the first period and back points in the second to defeat Wildcat Sophomore Nate Vukovich 4-0. Hockins negated a 4-3 second period deficit by scoring seven points in the third to earn a 10-6 victory over Kittanning Senior Elliot Zydonik.

The Wildcats narrowed Clarion’s lead to 28-21 when Sophomore Cade Hepner pinned Bobcat Will Staub (182lbs.) in the next contest. Burkhart (195lbs.) quickly recouped the lost six points for Clarion, when he stuck Kittanning Senior Wyatt Hill in the first period (1:30). Wildcat Sophomore Jacob Robb earned a major decision against Bobcat Sophomore Zach Sintobin (220 lbs.), narrowing the Bobcats’ lead to 34-25. Clarion as able to again negate any ground Kittanning had gained, this time when Huet pinned Wildcat Soophomore Joel Tack 30 seconds into their match-up. Coach Sintobin credited Burkhart and Huet with “helping put the team score over the top”, as Clarion held an insurmountable 40-25 lead.

The evening concluded with Clarion Sophomore Alex Struble (106lbs.) facing Kittanning Sophomore Jacob Shaner. Struble fell by pin in the third period of a spirited bout which saw the lead exchange hands several times as the second stanza drew to a close.

Coach Sintobin described the Bobcats’ victory as a “giant step forward for Clarion wrestling”, noting “we hope to continue to improve as we head to Jersey Shore this weekend for a twelve team dual meet tournament.”

(Thanks to Kenn Staub for this article.)