ALLPORT — Twelve years ago, West Branch head coach Jason Bainey found himself in a similar situation to what the Moshannon Valley wrestling team is dealing with in present day.
With just a handful of kids, Bainey started rebuilding the Warriors from the bottom. And on Tuesday night, Bainey garnered his 200th win with a 51-18 victory over the short-handed Knights.
“When I started here 12 years ago, I think we had four or five kids in the program,” he said. “There have been a lot of good people who have been a part of those 200 wins. I have assistant coaches who have been with me for a long time. That’s what it takes. We have had a lot of community support and booster club support.
“We’ve also been blessed with wrestlers who have put the time in. This is a reflection of the whole community. I’m just proud to be here and be a part of it.”
Both coaches knew coming in there would be several forfeits, so they worked to try and get matchups for as many of their kids as possible.
That resulted in seven bouts on the mat, of which the Warriors won four.
“We knew coming in that they were short-handed,” Bainey said. “Thad is fighting the same story on varsity, we are on junior high.
“The kids were anxious to get back to their home gym and wrestle. We had a rough weekend at the Juniata Duals. So we got as many matchups as we could.”
The match started at 113, where neither team had an entry.
At 120 pounds, Kaleb Sallurday picked up a forfeit win to give the Warriors the early 6-0 lead.
The first bout of the night took place at 126 pounds, where the Knights’ Jake Ball went up against the Warriors’ Parker Johnson.
Johnson led 6-5 after the first period, after a long flurry resulted in three nearfall points for each after a takedown and a reversal. Johnson also got a penalty point.
Johnson scored the early takedown in the second period, before Ball was able to find his feet and nab a reversal.
He took Johnson to his back and pinned him in 3:55.
“Jake started out a little sluggish,” said Knights head coach Thad Walstrom. “He is cutting some weight and we did have to bump him up to get the matchup we wanted. But he has been wrestling well.”
Moshannon Valley made it 2-for-2 at 132 pounds, as Alex Richner made quick work of West Branch’s Jaxon Myers, earning the fall in 27 seconds to put the Knights on top 12-6.
West Branch tied things up at 138 pounds, as John Myers garnered the fall in 2:22 over Austin Shoff. The match was scoreless going into the second period, where Myers chose down. He quickly took advantage and got Shoff to his back for the fall.
At 145 pounds, the Warriors’ Logan Folmar received a forfeit, as did WB’s Will Herring at 152. That gave West Branch a 24-12 advantage.
“Thad and I talked alot,” said Bainey. “We were just trying to get matchups. We knew since we had a full team we would be favored. I’m a big fan of kids wrestling. Unless it’s the district duals or team finals, we want kids wrestling. That’s what the fans came here to see.”
The Warriors picked up another win at 160 pounds, as Tyce Cantolina quickly took down Aaron Domanick before pinning him in 1:40.
West Branch’s Hayes Jones got a forfeit at 170 pounds to put the hosts on top 36-12.
It also gave the Warriors’ lone senior — Brandon Foltz — a chance to wrestle on Senior Night.
He faced off against Niko Smeal, who broke out to a 5-4 lead after the first period en route to a fall in 3:57.
There was no match at 195, leaving the Warriors to bump Ethan Yingling up to face off against David Honan.
Yingling quickly worked Honan to the mat, earning the fall in 49 seconds.
The last bout of the night was between the Knights’ Nathan Beers and Warrior sophomore Billy Bumbarger, who also bumped a weight to get a match.
The two went scoreless through the first period, before Bumbarger chose down to start the second. He escaped and managed to get Beers down just before the end of the period.
Beers chose neutral to start the third, but was unable to score, giving Bumbarger the 3-0 win.
“Billy weighs 196 pounds, but we bumped him up to heavyweight so he could wrestle,” Bainey said. “I’m happy with the fact that we got as many matchups as possible.”
The match closed out with a forfeit win to West Branch’s Landen Pase, setting the final at 51-18.
“We lost the toss and the one match we wanted, but we won three out of the seven,” Walstrom said. “We gave up a lot of forfeits as usual.
“We have a good group of kids. There are only seven of them. But they work hard. They come in every day and bust their butt and go out and get the job done.”
Moshannon Valley dropped to 0-8. The Knights host Tussey Mountain on Thursday.
West Branch improved to 5-7 overall. The Warriors host Everett on Thursday.
NOTES: The annual Dylan Ludwig Memorial Award was given to Alex Richner, while the Brandon Denochick Memorial Award was presented to Ethan Yingling. ... Richner and Beers were also honored alongside Foltz on Senior Night.
West Branch 51,
Moshannon Valley 18
113—No match. (0-0).
120—Kaleb Sallurday, WB, won by forfeit. (6-0).
126—Jake Ball, MV, pinned Parker Johnson, WB, 3:55. (6-6).
132—Alex Richner, MV, pinned Jaxon Myers, WB, :27. (6-12).
138—John Myers, WB, pinned Austin Shoff, MV, 2:22. (12-12).
145—Logan Folmar, WB, won by forfeit. (18-12).
152—Will Herring, WB, won by forfeit. (24-12).
160—Tyce Cantolina, WB, pinned Aaron Domanick, MV, 1:40. (30-12).
170—Hayes Jones, WB, won by forfeit. (36-12).
182—Niko Smeal, MV, pinned Brandon Foltz, WB, 3:57. (36-18).
195—No match. (36-18).
220—Ethan Yingling, WB, pinned David Honan, MV, :49. (42-18).
285—Billy Bumbarger, WB, dec. Nathan Beers, MV, 3-0. (45-18).
106—Landen Pase, WB, won by forfeit. (51-18).