Wrestlers Win On Senior Night-Expanded Coverage (02/21/2018)
(By CSZ Sports Writer Kenn Staub) The Clarion Bobcat wrestling team celebrated Senior Night in style, winning their dual meet with the Redbank Valley Bulldogs in the last minute of the last period of the last bout of the evening. Senior Frank Weber was the evening’s hero, scoring a takedown just past the halfway point of the third period in his 145-pound bout with Caleb Snyder to earn a 6-5 victory and break a 33-33 deadlock, giving the Bobcats their tenth win of the season, 36-33.
Competing before a sometimes raucous crowd, the Bobcats won six of the eight contested bouts, two by pin fall. Redbank Valley was the beneficiary of four Clarion forfeits, a factor which ultimately got the Bulldogs back into the match and put them in a position to win after an early twenty-one point deficit.
“It was a fun match,” said Clarion head coach Brian Luton, adding “Duals like this are exciting. The crowd gets in to it and really adds to the atmosphere. The team really wanted this win tonight. The seniors wanted to get the win on Senior Night and everyone did their part to make it a reality. When your guys wrestle with grit and determination it’s easy to be proud of them,” said Luton.
Things were going the Bobcats’ way through the early going, as the Bulldogs could only manage a single victory, a pin at 195-pounds, in the first seven weight classes.
Wrestling began at 152-pounds where Clarion’s Ryley McMasters converted a grape vine into a pin of Coltin Bartley during the waning moments of the first period (1:55).
Next up for Clarion was 160-pounder Colton Rapp, making his first appearance on the mat since the tail end of the 2016-2017 season owing to a football injury. In a storybook return, the Bobcat grappler stuck Bryan Layton using a peterson halfway through the second period (2:51).
“Getting Colton back in the line-up tonight was huge. One, I was happy for him to get a chance to wrestle in his senior season. Two, he brings an attitude the other guys feed off. He’s a tough kid that’s been at it for a long time and his experience really overwhelmed his opponent,” said Luton after the match.
Camden Boggess followed with a 10-8 decision at 170-pounds over Redbank Valley’s Hutson Martz, putting Clarion ahead 15-0. Boggess seemed to be in total control after the first period, using a takedown and near cradle for back points to go up 4-0. Starting on their feet at the outset of the second, Boggess extended his lead with another takedown before Martz began making a comeback. With less than ten seconds remaining in the period, Martz reversed Boggess into a near fall position, setting the score at 6-4 heading into the final stanza. Martz tied the bout with a two point near fall from the top position to open scoring in the third. At the 1:13 mark, however, Boggess clinched victory with a reversal that exposed his opponent’s back.
When asked to comment on Boggess’s match, Luton said, “Cam had a big win for us. It was a back and forth match but ultimately Cam won enough positions to take control and finish on top. Martz wrestled a scrappy match and was able to keep it interesting. Cam is a physical wrestler and that takes its toll over the course of a match.”
Seth Nellis took a 4-2 decision over Kobe Bananno in the 182-pound bout, putting the Bobcats ahead 18-0 and setting the stage for one of the more exciting scraps of the evening.
Though relatively short, the 195-pound bout between Redbank Valley’s Logan Minich and Clarion’s Colt Stimmell did not lack for action. Minich started the scoring with a takedown, which Stimmell escaped from twenty-two seconds later. Once on his feet, Stimmell slipped and was able to counter a charging Minich to record a takedown of his own. Minich subsequently escaped to tie the score 4-4. Stimmell took a brief lead with another takedown, but Minich again escaped. With the score 5-4 in Stimmell’s favor he wriggled out of a Minich headlock for another takedown and then racked up three near fall points to forge ahead 10-4. Stimmell was seemingly in control on top when Minich pulled off a reversal and proceeded to stick his Bobcat opponent with twenty-five seconds in the first period (1:35), much to the consternation of the Clarion fans and loud delight of the Bulldog faithful in attendance.
Though the match didn’t go Clarion’s way, Luton said, “Stimmell probably had one of the more exciting matches of the night. It didn’t go our way in the end but Colt wrestles hard every time he steps on the mat. He had Minich in trouble early but just wasn’t able to hang on. Minich is one of the better wrestlers at the weight in our district. I give Colt credit for going after him and almost pulling off a nice ‘upset.’”
After Minich put Redbank on the board, making the team score 18-6, Clarion’s Tom Wurster, the #20 ranked 220-pounder in the state, squared off against Aiden Gardner, the 12th ranked wrestler at the weight class in the Northwest Region. Wurster prevailed 10-5 in a physically grueling match that was interrupted multiple times so that athletic trainers could tend to Gardner’s bloody nose.
“Tom had a nice effort tonight. He has been working on expanding hos offense, so you’re seeing some growing pains there but he is always able to control the flow of the match. Tom is tough to score on but his opponent did a nice job making things tough for him. Tom settled in after a back and forth first period and was able to get a solid decision for the team.
The teams exchanged forfeits in the next two bouts, with Clarion’s Matt Coleman unopposed at 285-pounds and Redbank Valley’s 106-pounder Trenten Rupp having his hand raised.
With the score 27-12 in the Bobcat’s favor, Bulldog Mason Songer, ranked #11 in the Northwest Region at 113-pounds, took a 6-2 decision over Login Dehner. Brayden Altobelli (120-pounds), Ethan Wiant (126-pounds), and Hunter Martz (132-pounds) then received consecutive forfeits for Redbank Valley, pulling the Bulldogs ahead 33-27.
Clarion’s Cutter Boggess accepted a forfeit at 138-pounds, the fifth in a six weight class span, to knot the match 33-33 and set up Weber’s heroics.
Snyder took Weber down to forge ahead 2-0 in the first period, before surrendering an escape as time expired. Weber opted to start the second on bottom, escaping shortly after the opening whistle to tie the bout 2-2. Once on his feet, Weber shot a double leg to take Snyder down and gain a 4-2 advantage. Weber’s lead held until two seconds remained in the period, at which time Snyder reversed his opponent to tie the bout four apiece. Snyder chose bottom in the third, escaping from Weber to take a brief 5-4 lead. With just under a minute remaining and the fan’s cheers building to a crescendo, Weber converted another double leg takedown and rode Snyder out to win the bout and claim victory for Clarion.
Said Luton, “What more do you say about Frank? You practice your whole career for a moment like hr had tonight. Frank had two critical takedowns, the last one with under a minute left. He was able to get a good breakdown and ride out Snyder for the win.”
Prior to the match, Clarion honored its six seniors on the roster: Weber, McMaster, Nellis, Rapp, Stimmell, and Wurster. When asked to talk about this year’s seniors, Luton said, “I’m extremely proud of this group of seniors. They have had a nice run as Bobcat wrestlers. They were the core of our team over the past few seasons. These guys have been our ‘studs’ in the line-up and we are going to miss them next year. In this group we have district finalists and regional qualifiers. As a team they took third at the team duals last season. Between this group of guys there are a lot of career wins exiting the program at the end of the season.”
Luton continued, “Outside of wrestling they are an even better group of young men. The leadership and attitude they have been able to bring to the program has been so helpful for the younger guys. To go out on Senior Night in the fashion they did doesn’t surprise me. I’m super proud of them and lucky to have had the opportunity to be their coach.”
Senior-Ryley McMasters: Ryley wrestles, played football, and is a member of the National Honor Society. His future plans include attending college. He is the son of Steve and Anita McMaster.
Senior-Seth Nellis: Seth wrestles and played football. His future plans include pursuing the electrician trade in an apprentice program. He is the son of Ken and Cindy Nellis.
Senior-Colton Rapp: Colton wrestles and played football. His future plans include attending Mt. Union University to major in Exercise Science. He is the son of Ron and Tracy Rapp.
Senior-Colt Stimmell: Colt wrestles and played football. His future plans include attending college to major in film production. He is the son of Mike and Amy Stimmell.
Senior-Frank Weber: Frank wrestles, as well as runs cross country and track. His future plans include pursuing the welding trade at a tech school or apprentice program. He is the son of Lee and Krista Weber.
Senior-Tom Wurster: Tom wrestles, played football, and participates in a coop program with Swartfager welding. His future plans include joining the Marines. He is the son of Mike and Stacie Wurster.
(*individual rankings from papowerwrestling.com 02/07/18)