Clarion Falls In First Dual Meet of 2018 (01/09/2018)

(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub)  The Clarion wrestling team traveled to Brockway on Wednesday, Jan. 5 to scrap with the Rovers in their first dual meet of the new year. Tom Wurster got the Bobcats off to a quick start with a victory at 220-pounds, but after that the Rovers got rolling and won the next six consecutive weight classes. Though Clarion would try to climb back into the match following Brockway’s run, their efforts ultimately proved to be too little, too late as they fell 41-15. Clarion head coach Brian Luton described his team’s performance as flat, stating that the Bobcats “didn’t put our best foot forward and just never really got things going.” He further noted that “it was the first time all season we just didn’t have our best stuff.”

Tom Wurster on his way to victory in the darkened Brockway gymnasium.

Wurster, the Northwest Region’s #7 ranked 220-pounder as determined by in their most recent poll, scored two first period takedowns to take an early 4-1 lead against Brockway’s Justin Smith. Smith, starting from the down position in the second, managed an escape, but was taken down forty seconds later by Wurster to make the score 6-2. Wurster hit a switch from the down position to reverse Smith three seconds into the third period and then rode the Brockway wrestler for the remainder of the bout to win 8-2 and give the Bobcats’ a 3-0 lead.

The Brockway surge began at heavyweight with Hayden Thompson using a power half to pin Clarion’s Matt Colemen in the first period (1:02). Tanner Morelli accepted a Clarion forfeit at 106-pounds to put Brockway up 12-3.

Login Dehner engages in some “spaghetti wrestling”.

Bobcat Login Dehner met Dominic Inzana in the 113-pound bout. Though both wrestlers attempted to take the other down throughout the first period, neither could convert their shots into points. Inzana chose to start the second period from the down position, using a switch to escape within five seconds of the opening whistle. As time wound down in the second, Inzana took Dehner down and stuck the Clarion grappler with one second remaining in the period (2:59). Brockway’s Adam Stine received a forfeit at 126-pounds, extending the Rovers’ lead to 24-3.

Clarion’s Colton Zacherl faced a stiff challenge in the 132-pound bout when he was matched up against Anthony Glasl, ranked #8 in the state by Glasl, who typically wrestles in the 126-pound weight class, was leading Zacherl 10-1 when he pinned the Bobcat grappler in the latter portion of the first period (1:24), making the match score 30-3.

Bobcat Cutter Boggess found himself behind 2-0 when Santino Inzana took him down at the edge of the mat as time expired in the first period during the 138-pound contest. Boggess, starting the second in the down position, reversed Inzana to tie the bout 2-2. Inzana subsequently reversed Boggess and then exposed the Clarion wrestler’s back to end the period with a 6-2 lead. Inzana, ranked #5 in the Northwest Region by pappowerwrestling, turned it on in the third, scoring a reversal and two takedowns to win a 12-4 major decision.

Frank Weber battles to prevent his opponent from escaping.

With Brockway up 34-3 Clarion’s Frank Weber took the mat to face Linkin Nichols in a 152-pound match-up. Weber scored the only points of the first period, taking Nichols down with a single leg shot. The Brockway grappler took the down position in the second and repeatedly tried to escape, with all attempts proving futile as he either scampered out of bounds with Weber attached to his back or found himself the victim of repeated standing mat returns. After the scoreless second, Weber used a peterson to reverse Nichols in the third to extend his lead by two points, 4-0. With a minute remaining Nichols slipped through a Weber headlock to make the score 4-2, where it would stay through the remainder of the bout. Weber’s win made the team score 34-6 and would be the first of three consecutive Bobcat victories.

Nick Porciello at the start of his bout.

Clarion’s Nick Porciello had to overcome not only Brockway’s Bryce Grecco, but also referee-assessed penalty points to win the 160-pound bout. Porciello used a takedown to score first, but Grecco tied the match 2-2 when the Bobcat grappler was penalized for first using an illegal hold and then locking his hands. Grecco found himself down 5-2 shortly into the second period but then Porciello was again penalized for using an illegal hold, this time giving the Brockway wrestler two points and making the score 5-4. A Grecco escape tied the bout 5-5 heading into the third. Porciello put on a takedown clinic in the final frame, scoring on three shots to win 11-9. Luton was pleased that Porciello was able to take a few negative situations and come out of it with a positive, citing the number of takedowns his grappler shot and scored on in the final period. He added “I’m sure you won’t see too many more penalty points from him the rest of the season.”

The Bobcat’s final victory came at 170-pounds when Camden Boggess defeated Andrew Hickman in an improbable manner that had the Brockway crowd loudly disagreeing with the official. Hickman scored a takedown in the first period and had Boggess locked in a cradle when he allowed his own shoulders to touch the mat long enough for the referee to call a defensive pin (1:22). This pin made the match score 34-15 and would be the last points on the Bobcats’ side of the ledger for the evening. When asked about the confusion surrounding the conclusion of the 170-pound bout, Luton revealed that he “was more focused on Cam’s position and didn’t notice the other wrestler’s shoulders on the mat. Initially I thought the referee called the fall against us and I was headed to the scorer’s table to discuss a questionable call. Before I could get there the referee informed the Brockway wrestler that he had pinned himself. At that point it’s not my argument anymore.” In his characteristic good humor Luton said, “I can tell you the home crowd strongly disagreed with the call.”

Clarion’s Seth Nellis and Brockway’s Eric Johnson wrestled a scoreless first period in their 182-pound bout. Johnson had Nellis in jeopardy during the final minute of the second period, staking himself to a 5-1 lead. An escape in the third by Johnson would set the final tally at 6-1. The last bout pitted Clarion’s Colton Stimmell against Rover Garret McClintick, ranked #7 in the Northwest Region by McClintick jumped to a 3-0 lead after the first period, extended it to 8-0 in the second, and finished the third ahead 13-0 to earn a major decision and setting the final team score at 41-15 in Brockway’s favor.

When asked to find some positives for the evening, Luton cited the performances by Wurster and Weber. “Those are two guys we really rely on to score team points every dual and they delivered on the expectations. That’s what you need from your seasoned wrestlers.”

Luton feels that the team now “really understands that they can’t take a day off in practice or just loaf through and expect to compete at a high level. These guys are resilient.”