After two consecutive seasons with nine wrestlers making the trip to Chocolatetown, Progressland came away with 10 PIAA qualifiers for the 2019-20 season.
Clearfield’s Mark McGonigal, Glendale’s Cory Johnston and Brock McMillen and Philipsburg-Osceola’s Chase Chapman and Hunter Weitoish all returned to Hershey’s Giant Center for their third (or in McMillen’s case — third) trip, while Bison Oliver Billotte, Vikings’ Zeke Dubler and Tristan Rutter, Mountie Parker Moore and Curwensville’s Zach Holland all made it to the state tournament for the first time.
Billotte, Chapman, Holland, Moore and Weitoish all came away with their first PIAA medals, Johnston added a second and McMillen grabbed his third piece of state hardware, claiming his second straight PIAA title, which earned him the Jim Butler Memorial Outstanding Wrestler Award once again.
In addition to the postseason success that those 10 had, there were plenty of other wrestlers that added accomplishments at the district level and several teams put up winning dual meet records.
Clearfield was 11-7 in dual meet action, P-O went 11-9 and Curwensville turned in an 11-10 campaign and went to the District 9 Duals for the first time in quite a while. Glendale put together a 16-2 season and placed third in the District 6 class 2A Team Duals to better their finish from last year by one.
So once again there were plenty of deserving athletes to choose from for this year’s Progressland High School Wrestling All-Star team.
The Vikings lead the way with four wrestlers on the first team and the Coach of the Year in Billy Dubler.
Clearfield also placed four wrestlers on the first team, while P-O had three first-team selections. Curwensville, Moshannon Valley and West Branch round out the first team with one each.
This year’s team is quite young with 11 underclassmen and just three seniors. Last year’s Progressland All-Star team featured five seniors.
A wrestler was eligible at any weight he wrestled at during the season. Postseason performance, regular season results, head-to-head matchups, strength of schedule and coaches comments all factored into the decision-making for the team.
Outstanding Wrestler: Brock McMillen, junior, Glendale — After suffering three losses and finishing sixth at the rugged Escape the Rock Tournament and then missing time with a medical condition, McMillen came back better than ever. He won the last 16 bouts of the season on the way to his second consecutive District 6, Southwest Regional and PIAA titles.
McMillen beat Burrell’s Ian Oswalt 3-1 in sudden victory in the regional finals, then topped him again in the PIAA Championship, this time taking a 5-1 decision in the second tiebreaker.
‘The Viking junior was tied for third in Progressland in wins, was tied for most technical falls with teammate Rutter and was fourth in major decisions.
A three-time Progressland first teamer, McMillen earned his 100th career win in a dual meet early in the season and by year’s end had become the Vikings’ all-time leader in wins. With one season to go, McMillen has a career mark of 120-8.
Coach of the Year: Billy Dubler, Glendale — The head of the Glendale wrestling program earns his third straight Coach of the Year award as he continues to lead the Vikings to new heights.
This season under Dubler, Glendale won the District 6 class 2A Tournament — its first in program history — while qualifying seven wrestlers for the Southwest Regional Tournament, where the Vikings placed fourth in the team race.
After taking a program record three to PIAAs last season, the Vikings qualified four of PIAAs this year, bringing home two state medals once again.
The team went 16-2 in dual meets, placing third in the D-6 Team Dual Tournament. The Vikings also won the team title at the Fred Bell Tournament, were second at the season-opening Panther Classic and were 17th at Escape the Rock.
106 pounds: Evan Davis, freshman, Clearfield — One of two freshmen on the team, Davis burst on the scene by winning 26 bouts in his first varsity season, including 19 by fall.
One of the area’s most prolific pinners, Davis was tied for fifth in the category with Glendale’s Seth Dudurich and was tops in first-period falls with 12, including stoppages of 10, 14, 16 and 17 seconds.
Davis placed second at the District 4-9 Tournament, fourth at both Tool City and the Ultimate Warrior and fifth at the season-opening Top Hat Tournament.
113 pounds: Zeke Dubler, freshman, Glendale — The second freshman on the team to make his mark, Dubler capped an extremely successful first varsity season (36-9) with a berth in the PIAA Tournament, where he went 1-2.
Along the way, Dubler had fifth-place finishes at both districts and regionals, took first at the Fred Bell Tournament and second at the Panther Classic.
His 36 wins were tied with McMillen for third most in Progressland, while his 21 pins were tied for the third-highest total with teammate Kyle Jasper.
120 pounds: Jake Ball, sophomore, Moshannon Valley — A bright spot in a down year for the Black Knights, Ball could be counted on in dual meets where he put together a perfect 11-0 record, earning bonus points in all but one of those bouts.
Ball was 20-8 this season with nearly all of his wins earning the team bonus points. He had 11 pins and one technical fall to go with four major decisions, which was tied for seventh most among Progressland wrestlers.
126 pounds: Suds Dubler, sophomore, Glendale — After making an appearance in the PIAA Tournament last season as a freshman, Dubler just missed a second-straight trip after finishing seventh at the Southwest Regional Tournament after earning a runner-up finish at districts two weeks prior.
Dubler, who went 1-2 at the Escape the Rock Tournament, reeled off 14 straight wins after that before his 5-1 loss to returning state champion Jackson Arrington (Forest Hills) in the D-6 finals.
His 31 wins was 12th most in the area and his 15 pins were tied for tenth. Dubler added four major decisions and two technical falls. He has a 72-11 record heading into his junior season.
138 pounds: Zach Holland, senior, Curwensville — After struggling with untimely injuries throughout his career, Holland put it all together in a healthy senior season.
Starting the season with 32 straight victories, Holland’s first loss didn’t come until the finals of the Northwest class 2A Tournament where he fell to eventual PIAA runner-up Kenneth Kiser (Saegertown). Holland won his second straight District 9 title the week before adding the runner-up finish at regionals and adding state hardware with a sixth at PIAAs in his first appearance on the state’s biggest stage.
Also a champion at the Bo Wood and the Fred Bell Tournaments, where he knocked off PIAA qualifier Clayton Royer (Penns Valley ( 3-1), Holland ended the season with a 34-4 record and had 13 pins, two technical falls and a major decision. His 34 wins were good for a tie for sixth in the area. Holland finished his career with a record of 82-22.
145 pounds: Chase Chapman, senior, Philipsburg-Osceola —The Mountie senior capped his career with an eighth-place medal at the PIAA Tournament in his second appearance at the Giant Center.
After suffering a loss in the pigtail round of PIAAs to Biglerville’s Blake Showers, Champman won three straight bouts in the consolations to make the medal rounds where he ultimately fell to Showers again the the seventh-place match.
Chapman was third at the District 6 Tournament and sixth at Southwest Regionals and added a fifth-place finish during the regular season at the New Oxford Tournament. His 32 wins were tied for tenth and his nine major decisions were tops in the area. He added 13 pins and two technical falls and ended his P-O career with a record of 107-46.
152 pounds: Mark McGonigal, sophomore, Clearfield — The Bison sophomore built on an impressive 30-win freshman campaign by going 34-9 in his second varsity campaign, making his second PIAA Tournament in a row.
McGonigal was second at districts, falling to PIAA champion Ed Scott (DuBois) in the finals. He added a third at Northwest Regionals, storming back through the consolation bracket with four straight wins after a tough 4-2 quarterfinal loss to Mifflin County’s Anson Wagner, who he then defeated 5-2 for third.
Also a Tool City champ, Ultimate Warrior runner-up and fifth-place finisher at Top Hat, McGonigal was tied for sixth among Progressland wrestlers in wins with 34. He was tied for second with P-O’s Gabe Dunkelberger in major decisions with seven and added 13 falls. McGonigal is 64-19 going into his junior season.
160 pounds: Hunter Weitoish, junior, Philipsburg-Osceola — The Mountie junior continued his steady year-by-year climb with 33 wins and a state medal.
He was 22-9 and a Northwest class 3A Regional fourth-place finisher as a freshman, just missing a trip to states. He improved to 30-11 last season and made it to states where he went 1-2. As a junior, Weitoish was 33-9 with a second-place finish at districts, a third at regionals and an eighth-place finish at states.
Also a third-place finisher at Ultimate Warrior and a fourth at New Oxford, Weitoish was ninth in area wins with 33 and third in technical falls with three. He added 13 pins and two major decisions and takes an 85-29 record onto his final season.
170 pounds: Hayden Kovalick, sophomore, Clearfield — The Bison sophomore had a highly successful first varsity season that was capped by a fourth-place finish at the Northwest Regional Tournament, just missing a trip to PIAAs.
Kovalick was 4-2 at regionals a week after capturing the District 4-9 Tournament title, pinning his way through. Kovalick added a fourth at Tool City and a seventh at Top Hat.
Among the falls leaders in Progressland, Kovalick was tied for tenth with 15 and his 28 wins was 14th highest in the area.
182 pounds: Ethan Yingling, junior, West Branch — A steady performer on a very young team, Yingling led the Warriors with a 27-9 record and was the lone West Branch wrestler to qualify for regionals.
He placed fourth at the District 6 class 2A Tournament, going 4-2 with losses to a pair of PIAA qualifiers. Yingling also added a fifth-place finish at the Ultimate Warrior Tournament.
His 27 wins tied him with Curwensville’s Jake Carley for 15th among Progressland leaders and his five major decisions tied him for fifth with Clearfield’s Karson Kline. Yingling enters his senior season with a record of 70-30.
195 pounds: Parker Moore, junior, Philipsburg-Osceola — After a 9-16 season as a sophomore, Moore enjoyed an incredible breakout campaign that landed him on the podium at Hershey with a sixth-place finish.
Moore was 36-9 with a third-place finish at districts and a first at Southwest Regionals where he defeated District 6 champion Tanner Dluhos (Westmont Hilltop) 7-1 with a late flurry. Moore had two pins and a major decision at PIAAs where he went 3-3.
With a third-place medal at Ultimate Warrior and a fourth at New Oxford also in his pocket, Moore was among the leaders in nearly all categories with 36 wins (tied for third), 17 pins (eighth), three majors (tied for ninth) and two technical falls (tied for fourth).
220 pounds: Cory Johnston, senior, Glendale — The last of three seniors on the all-star team, Johnston finished his career with a seventh-place medal at PIAAs after going 3-2 in Hershey.
Johnston was second at regionals, dropping a 3-1 decision in sudden victory to eventual third-place finisher Duane Knisely (Chestnut Ridge). He won a District 6 title with a 5-4 win over Mount Union’s Jake Ryan, who had two victories over him earlier in the season.
Also a Fred Bell Tournament champ and runner-up at the Panther Classic and Escape the Rock, Johnston led Progressland in both wins (39) and pins (25) and ended his Vikings career second on the all-time wins list with a record of 111-26.
285 pounds: Oliver Billotte, sophomore, Clearfield — After spending the majority of the regular season at 220, Billotte made the move to 285 for the postseason and it paid off with a PIAA medal.
The Bison sophomore won the District 4-9 title and took second at the Northwest Regional Tournament before a 3-3 performance at PIAAs that ended with an eighth-place medal.
Along the way, Billotte placed third at both the Top Hat and Tool City Tournaments while wrestling at 220 and added another third at the Ultimate Warrior Tournament, this time competing at heavyweight.
Billotte had 37 wins, which trailed only Johnston in Progressland, and his seven losses all came to PIAA placewinners. Billotte was also second to Johnston in pins with 22, eight coming in less than a minute. Billotte has a 52-16 career record.
Glendale’s Dudurich and Rutter lead the second team. Rutter put together a 34-15 season that saw him qualify for PIAAs at 145. Rutter ended his career with a 104-40 record. Dudurich was 32-11 and finished second at the D-6 tournament before placing eighth at regionals. He was 102-46 for his career.
Also on the second team are Clearfield’s Nolan Barr (120), Luke Freeland (138) and Kline (152), Curwensville’s Carfley (106), Nick Fegert (126), Jake McCracken (170) and Duane Brady (182), Glendale’s Dudurich and Kyle Jasper (285), who clocked the fastest fall this season with an 8-second pin, Mo Valley’s David Honan (220), P-O’s Coudriet (113) and Gabe Dunkelberger (132) and West Branch’s Will Herring (152).