ALTOONA — The Philipsburg-Osceola wrestling team experienced plenty of ups and downs during the District 6 class 2A Tournament Friday and Saturday at the Altoona Fieldhouse, ending up in seventh place out of 26 teams and qualifying six for the Southwest Regional Tournament.
The Mounties had seven wrestlers seeded in the Top 6 and got five of them through to regionals, while also getting a big boost from 120-pounder Nick Bryan, who came in as the 12th seed.
Bryan, Chase Chapman (132), Austin Foster (145), Hunter Weitoish (160), Parker Moore (195) and Tyler Anderson (220) all advanced to regionals by placing in the Top 6, while Nick Coudriet (113) and Chase Klinger (285) gave themselves a chance to make it with seventh-place finishes should someone not be able to make it. Coudriet and Klinger were both 3-2 in the tournament.
“I’m not sure we got all the guys through we expected to, but it’s a blessing to see some of the other guys get through,” P-O head coach Brad Pataky said. “The belief and trust in the process and trying to get the guys to understand the mindset is huge.”
Weitoish led the Mountie contingent with a second-place finish, although he suffered a disappointing loss in the finals, while Chapman fell a little short of his goal with a third-place finish, but also achieved a big milestone by achieving the 100th win of his career.
Weitoish pinned his way to the semis where he scored a 4-3 win in sudden victory over Bishop McCort’s Ethan Marcozzi when the Marauder was hit with his second stall call of the bout in the overtime period.
That set up a finals matchup with St. Joseph’s Keegan Rothrock, who defeated Weitoish 7-3 in the Ultimate Warrior Tournament three weeks ago.
Weitoish took a 2-0 lead after one with a takedown and aggressive ride, using a bar to keep Rothrock down.
Rothrock chose down to start the second, but Weitoish stayed in control and was able to turn him for three nearfall points to take a 5-0 lead before giving up an escape late in the period.
The Mountie built the advantage to 7-2 late in the third when he gave up a reversal with about 20 seconds left in the match. Rothrock jumped out in front of the Weitoish and put in a front headlock before hitting the Mountie with a desperation cement mixer that resulted in three nearfall points and tied the match at 7.
Rothrock then won a scramble 30 seconds into overtime and won the bout 9-7 with a takedown. Weitoish is 27-5 this season.
“He came out ready to wrestle. He was firing on all cylinders,” Pataky said of Weitoish. “But it really goes back to one of the concepts we talk about, which is wrestling from whistle to whistle. You can be dominating a guy for five minutes and 55 seconds and the last five seconds something happens.
“It’s a good lesson for him to learn right now. He still has another year. And he has the region and the state level coming up and to learn that lesson now is a little easier to swallow than learning at regionals or states.”
Chapman fell into the consolation bracket after a tough semifinal loss to Penns Valley’s second-seeded Clayton Royer, who built a 16-4 lead before pinning the Mountie at 5:23.
But Chapman rebounded in the consey semifinals in a big way, scoring a 17-4 major decision over Claysburg-Kimmel’s Cade Keithley to advance to the third-place match, while earning the 100th win of his career in the process.
“It’s a huge milestone in any wrestler’s career to get to 100 wins,” Pataky said. “Even though he didn’t accomplish his district goals, he stilled wrestled his heart out and gave everything he had.”
Chapman (26-9) went on to defeat Richland’s fourth-seeded Allen Mangus 5-1 in the third-place bout and helped his coach provide the team with another lesson.
“That 100-win mark is just a milestone on top of the larger perspective,” Pataky said. “We’re trying to get our kids to understand there is a bigger picture. A hundred wins is great, but can you make it to the regional tournament? Can you make it to the state tournament? Winning at the highest level is going to get you to 100 wins.
“Seeing Chase get to 100 wins made everyone on the team see it’s possible.”
Moore (29-6) came back from a tough 11-9 loss to Glendale’s Seth Dudurich in the semifinals to pin Bellwood’s Dominic Caracciolo before taking care of Huntingdon’s Zack Peck 15-8 in the third-place bout.
Bryan, Foster and Anderson all had tough endings to their tournaments, losing in both the consey semis and fifth-place bouts, but they all did enough earlier in the weekend to punch their tickets to regionals.
Bryan went 3-3, knocking off two kids seeded higher than him along the way. Kovac was also 3-3, winning two straight consey matches to get into the Top 6, and Anderson went 2-0 on Friday, making it to the semis to earn his way to the next round of the postseason.
“We had some ups and downs throughout the day,” Pataky said. “Our goal was to make the guys understand to have the same mindset in every match. You need to go into every match thinking this is the most important match. Don’t think ahead and don’t worry about what happened behind. Live in the present.”
Scott Frantz (126), Gabe Dunkelberger (132), Alex Dunkelberger (152) and Dom Shaw (170) were all eliminated on Saturday. Both Dunkelbergers went 2-2 in the tournament.