Clarion Varsity Wrestling Team Has Nine Place Winners, Including Two Champions, At Penn Hills Invitational (02/10/14)

(By Kenn Staub)

On Saturday, January 8th the Clarion Varsity Wrestling Team competed in the Penn Hills Invitational, facing opponents from the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL). The Bobcat grapplers acquitted themselves and the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference quite well, as nine wrestlers were place winners including two, Jacob Troutman (152lbs.) and Zach Sintobin (220lbs.), who came away with individual championships.

The Bobcats’ Alex Struble (106lbs.) met Penn Hills sophomore Zack Crankshaw in the event’s opening round, falling 3-1 to the tournament’s eventual third place finisher. Relegated to the consolation semifinals the Clarion sophomore squared off against sophomore Brandon Toomey of Gateway, losing 5-2 in another hard fought bout.

Clarion sophomore Adrian Weber (120lbs.) received an opening round bye, placing him in the semifinals against McKeesport junior Kelvin Williams. Weber wrestled to a 6-1 victory over Williams, earning himself a place in the championship bout. Sophomore Keagan Lawson of North Hills scored a 15-3 major decision over Weber in the finals, leaving the Bobcat wrestler with a 1-1 on the record on the day, good for second place.

Like Weber, the Bobcats’ Tristan Shaffer (126lbs.) captured second place with a 1-1 record.  Shaffer, a Clarion senior, received an opening round bye and then decisioned McKeesport Sophomore Cameron Zuber 6-2 in the semifinals. In the finals, sophomore Ben Turner of Indiana defeated Shaffer 3-1 in overtime to claim the tournament’s championship.

Bobcat sophomore Leo Aiello (132lbs.) began his day by pinning sophomore Josh Steele of McKeesport in the second period (2:50) of their opening round bout. North Hills senior David Badamo decisioned Aiello 12-5, in the second round, on his way to capturing the tournament championship. Aiello wrestled strong on the consolation side of the bracket, pinning Sophomore Zack Ramer of West Shamokin in the first period (0:24) and then scoring an 11-1 major decision over Knoch freshman Max Freyermuth to earn third place with a 3-1 record.

Clarion sophomore Prince Brooks (138lbs.) was pinned in his first round match against sophomore Brandon Yobst of Knoch, but rebounded with two straight victories. In the consolation semifinals Brooks pinned Indiana sophomoer Hunter Scherf in the first period (0:38) to earn a rematch with Yobst. The consolation finals saw Brooks exact a measure of revenge, as he beat Yobst 4-3 to secure a 2-1 record and third place.

Senior Riley Gunter (145lbs.) met West Shamokin sophomore David Ramer in the first round, scoring a pin in the opening stanza of their bout (1:30). Gunter fell to eventual tournament champion senior David Tuzikow by pinfall in the second round, placing him in the consolation finals. The Clarion senior came back from his defeat nicely, decking McKeesport senior Izure Peters-Massey in the last period (4:49) of their consolation finals’ bout to go 2-1 for the event and earn third place.

By virtue of a small three person field and his top seeding, Bobcat junior Troutman did not wrestle until the finals of his weight class. When finally taking the mat, Troutman showed no ill effects from having to sit for the bulk of the day, sticking senior Dennis Sanders in under a minute (0:53) to claim Clarion’s first championship of the event.

(Photos by Kenn Staub) Jacob Troutman (152lbs.) beginning the pinning combination on his McKeesport opponent to capture  the championship

(Photo by Kenn Staub) Jacob Troutman (152lbs.) beginning the pinning combination on his McKeesport opponent to capture the championship

Bobcat sophomore Austin Holz (160lbs.) lost by pinfall to sophomore Nick Conti of Gateway in the first round and Indiana freshman Bobby Bell in the consolation quarterfinals. Clarion sophomore Will Staub lost by pinfall to eventual tournament runner-up senior Elliot King of North Hills, the WPIAL’s 5th ranked AAA wrestler at 185lbs., in the first round. Staub was pinned in the consolation quarterfinals by Indiana sophomore Ben Strong.

Clarion’s Alexander Burkhart lost a 6-1 decision to fellow sophomore Devon Cuda of North Hills. Burkhart rebounded from this defeat in the consolation semifinals, outlasting McKeesport senior Mike Smith to earn a 9-8 victory. Sophomore Trent Orr of Indiana defeated Burkhart 14-8 in the consolation finals, leaving the Bobcat grappler to settle for fourth place with a 1-2 record.

Sophomore Sintobin went 2-0 on the day to secure the Bobcats’ second championship of the tournament. Following an opening round bye, Sintobin pinned senior Jake Kunselman of Indiana in the third period of the semifinals (4:56). A bloodied Sintobin defeated North Hills senior Michael Bonsmann, the WPIAL’s 10th ranked AAA wrestler at 220lbs., 6-3 to stake his claim to the weight class’s title.

(Photos by Kenn Staub) Zach Sintobin (220lbs.) looking for an opening against his North Hills opponent in their championship bout

(Photo by Kenn Staub) Zach Sintobin (220lbs.) looking for an opening against his North Hills opponent in their championship bout

Bobcat sophomore Zach Huet’s 2-2 record was good enough for fourth place among the heavyweights. Huet made quick work of West Shamokin sophomore Tyler Fox in their opening round match-up, scoring a pin in under a minute (0:42).  In the semifinals Huest found himself head-to-head with Penn Hills junior Mike Ames, the WPIAL’s 6th ranked AAA wrestler at 285lbs., who pinned the Clarion grappler on his way to claiming the weight class title. The consolation semifinal proved to be a squash for Huet, as he beat Knoch sophomore Kevin Kidd in 0:14.  Huet fell 3-2 in the consolation semifinals to senior Eli Swain of North Hills.

Clarion Head Coach Rob Sintobin felt his team “showed a lot of improvement” during the tournament, adding “we pulled out some close matches that put individuals in position to medal.” He noted it was “reinvigorating to have a couple tournament champions.” Coach Sintobin believes the confidence level of his team is increasing as a whole and that he hopes this will pay positive dividends at the upcoming district tournament (February 21 and 22).

Clarion will return to action on Tuesday evening (02/11) when the varsity will see its first home action of the season, taking on Curwensville at 4:15 and then facing Sheffield for Senior Night at 7:15.

(Thanks to Kenn Staub for this article.)