Ridgway Downs Clarion On The Mat (02/20/2018)

(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub) The Clarion Bobcat wrestling team could only win three of nine contested bouts against the Ridgway on Thursday, Feb. 8, falling to the Elkers 46-21. “We really thought we had a chance in this dual,” said Luton, “but tonight’s performance was not one of our better showings as a team.”

Clarion found itself behind the eight ball early on, taking losses in seven of the first eight weight classes to put themselves in a 34-6 hole.

The match got underway with Kyle Bush accepting a Bobcat forfeit at 126-pounds to put the Elkers up 6-0. Ridgway sandwiched two bonus point victories in between another Clarion forfeit, this time to Logan McClain at 145-pounds, to jump ahead 23-0.

Luke Tomaski got the first of the Elkers two consecutive bonus point wins, scoring a third period 15-0 technical fall (4:42) over Colton Zacherl at 132-pounds. Bryce Barclay, the 13th ranked 138-pounder in the state, followed with a third period pin (4:46) of Clarion’s Cutter Boggess.

Ryley McMasters was unopposed at 152-pounds, receiving a forfeit to get the Bobcats on the board and making the team score 23-6.

Nick Porciello looks for a shot.

The 160-bound bout between Clarion’s Nick Porciello and Ridgway’s Jacob Wickett proved to be one of the more tightly fought of the evening. After wrestling a scoreless first period, Wickett started the second on bottom from where he escaped and then transitioned from a double leg shot to a duck under for the takedown. Porceillo subsequently escaped, making the bout score 3-1. Wickett scored another takedown with less than ten seconds remaining in the period, but a game Porceillo escaped as time ran out to make the score 5-2 heading to the third. Porciello escaped from the bottom of the referee’s position to open the final period, but Wickett was able to fend off all subsequent take down attempts and eventually began playing “keep away” to seal a 5-3 victory.

At 170-pounds Damon Kelly needed a little less than two periods (3:28) to take a technical fall victory against Clarion’s Camden Boggess, giving Ridgway a 31-6 lead.

Another tight contest followed at 182-pounds, with the Bobcats’ Seth Nellis squaring off against the Elkers’ Robert Briggs. Briggs held a 1-0 lead after two periods of wrestling, the product of an early escape in the second. Nellis tied the bout with an escape to begin the third, but gave up a takedown with less than forty seconds remaining to fall 3-2.

With Ridgway ahead 34-6 Clarion finally got things going, closing out the match by winning three of the last four contested bouts.

Ben Smith with the pin.

Ben Smith had a stout outing against the Elkers’ Maximus Ehrensberger at 195-pounds. Smith, who held a considerable height advantage over the stockier Ehrensberger, started the first period with a throw for a takedown and tilted his Ridgway opponent twice to carry a 6-0 lead into the second. Ehrensberger chose to start the second period in the neutral position, which proved to be somewhat of a tactical mistake as Smith took him down and exposed his back to go ahead 11-0. The end finally came when Smith stuck Ehrensberger with a little over a minute remaining in the period (2:58). Coach Luton thinks Smith is starting to hit his stride after missing the first part of the season while recovering from an appendectomy. “His confidence is increasing and his ability to put kids away has been really nice to see,” commented Luton.

Clarion’s Tom Wurster, ranked #20 in Pennsylvania at 220-pounds, used head control to score a takedown in the first period against Hunter Kos, the only points of the opening stanza. Starting from the bottom in the second, Wurster reversed Kos and worked a half nelson to eventually earn the pin (3:26), cutting Ridgway’s lead to 34-18. “Tom had another nice performance tonight. He has his sights set on Hershey [the state championship tournament] and you can see that coming through in his recent matches,” said Coach Luton.

Jacob Kunselman added to Ridgway’s lead when he used an arm bar to pin Matt Coleman in the first period of the 285-pound bout (1:45), making the score 40-18.

Login Dehner works from the top.

Bobcat Login Dehner slipped through Gary Emerick’s headlock ten seconds into the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the 113-pound bout. Dehner worked from the top the remainder of the period but was unable to pad his lead. The wrestlers started on their feet at the start of the second, with Dehner recording two takedowns to go up 6-1. Neither wrestler could score in the third, with Dehner’s win giving Clarion their final three team points of the match. Coach Luton was complimentary of Dehner, noting “Login had a nice win for us tonight. He’s one of our guys you can count on to wrestle hard every match regardless of the opponent.”

The match concluded with 120-pounder Nico Heredero accepting another Clarion forfeit, setting the final at 46-21 in the Elkers’ favor.

In summing up the match, Coach Luton said, “As a coaching staff we expect a lot out of the guys. We know what they are capable of and expect them to wrestle to their potential every day, whether it be practice or competitions. There were some bright spots and some encouraging moments. We just didn’t have the whole package tonight.”

(* individual rankings from 02/07/2018)