New gym, new wrestlers start sea­son with a win for Penns Val­ley

Centre Daily Times - - Front Page - BY NATE COBLER [email protected]­ [email protected]­


Com­pet­ing in the first match of the year can be nerve-wrack­ing for any wrestler.

Add in com­pet­ing for the first time in the school’s new gym with fresh­man starters, and things could just go bad.

For Penns Val­ley, the Rams had two of their three fresh­man starters pick up wins Fri­day night in a 59-21 win over South­ern Hunt­ing­don. They also at one point rat­tled off six straight pins.

“For our first dual in here, we did al­right,” se­nior Bay­lor Shunk said of com­pet­ing in the new gym.

Added coach Joel Brinker: “You want to walk out (the) first match with a win. It was nice. The kids showed up. It was a good win.”

A sign hang­ing on the gym’s wall had a pic­ture of the en­tire wrestling squad with a say­ing, “New Gym, Same Tra­di­tion.”

New faces like fresh­men Hay­den Yearick and Cole Felker kept that tra­di­tion of win­ning with pins in their de­buts.

Yearick, who wres­tles at 106 pounds, ad­mit­ted af­ter the match he hasn’t been ner­vous for a match in a long time. It showed by him rac­ing out to a 7-1 lead. He then stuck the Rock­ets’ Ray­mond Goss in 1:32 for a stel­lar de­but and a six­point lead for Penns Val­ley.

“I felt happy for the team to rack up the points and get us started,” Yearick

said. “It was fun. It was just nice to be on this team and just wres­tle.”

Felker said that he had some but­ter­flies and that start­ing for the var­sity team is hard but he would even­tu­ally get used to it.

Well, he seemed to get used to it right away.

Felker hit a re­ver­sal in the sec­ond pe­riod for the first points of his 152pound match with South­ern Hunt­ing­don’s Jor­dan Bai­ley, who fin­ished 28-4 last year. Felker pinned the se­nior in 3:45.

His team­mates and crowd erupted with ex­cite­ment as the Rams ex­tended their lead to 29-15.

“It’s great. It boosted my con­fi­dence,” Felker said of the win. “I think we will have a re­ally good team this year.”

Nate Long is the other fresh­man starter for Brinker’s squad. Brinker said Fri­day night’s match for Long was his first since sixth grade.

For some­one who has not wres­tled in three years, Long looked ex­plo­sive record­ing the first take­down in his 126-pound bout. His nerves seemed to get to him, though, as he gave up a penalty point in the sec­ond pe­riod and then an es­cape with 57 sec­onds left in the match, which he ended up fall­ing 3-2.

“Hay­den has been wrestling for a while. His brother, Dar­ren, had a good ca­reer here with us,” Brinker said of his three fresh­man. “He’s been around it. We ex­pect him to go out and scrap and com­pete. Long, he’s knock­ing the rust off him. We brought him up be­cause he’s a strong and scrappy kid, so very pleased with his per­for­mance. Cole, that kid last year was like 28-4, I’m very happy for him. He is a strong kid, too. It’s good to see your youth get wins.”

So, how did the rest of the team do?

Shunk was dom­i­nant in his 120-pound match against Cole Hicks. Shunk rat­tled off three take­downs and col­lected four sets of near-fall points. He earned the 17-2 tech­ni­cal fall at the buzzer of the first pe­riod.

Fol­low­ing Long’s close loss, the Rams for­feited at 132 pounds and trailed 15-11. It was at that point when the pin pa­rade be­gan.

Clay­ton Royer earned a fall in 1:40 at 138 pounds. Malachi DuVall at­tempted to hit a spla­dle early in his 145-pound bout but pinned his op­po­nent with one sec­ond re­main­ing in the first pe­riod. Felker’s fall fol­lowed.

Clay­ton Upcraft had the fastest pin of the night in 44 sec­onds at 160 pounds. Penns Val­ley’s lead was 35-15.

Zach Royer took just 1:19 to fin­ish his op­po­nent at 170 pounds. Abra­ham Alle­bach, also known as “Ham­mer,” laid it on his 182pound op­po­nent to the tune of a fall in 1:12. An­drew Sharer made his re­turn to the wrestling mat af­ter miss­ing last sea­son to a shoul­der in­jury with a for­feit win. The Rams were up 53-15.

“We know that mid­dle lineup, up through is pretty solid for us,” Brinker said. “We kind of ex­pect to get wins. We’d like to see bonus points out of them all sea­son be­cause we are go­ing to need them. It’s a very ex­pe­ri­enced group and very sea­soned. It’s good to have Malachi back. Upcraft, he took care of busi­ness.”

The fi­nal points of the night for Penns Val­ley came with Dil­lon Co­valt re­ceiv­ing a for­feit at 285.

The Rams came so close to win­ning 13 of the 14 bouts. Justin Dar­ling­ton was up 7-0 head­ing into the third pe­riod of his 113pound match. How­ever, the Rock­ets’ Austin Dell had a tough ride game and turned Dar­ling­ton over for a pin with 51 sec­onds left in the match.

Caelob Packer led 7-6 with roughly 20 sec­onds left in his match at 220 pounds be­fore giv­ing up his sec­ond tech­ni­cal point for in­ter­locked hands. He got re­versed and was pinned with seven sec­onds left in his match.

“I know their heavy­weight was side­lined tonight, who was a state qual­i­fier,” Brinker said. “I know this is a solid lineup we have over­all. I think th­ese guys know it. We’ve got high ex­pec­ta­tions and goals for our­selves. Ex­cited to see what the sea­son brings.”

Fol­low Nate Cobler on Twit­ter all sea­son long for high school wrestling up­dates


Penns Val­ley’s Cole Felker looks for a take­down on South­ern Hunt­ing­don’s Jor­dan Bai­ley on Fri­day night.


Penns Val­ley’s Hay­den Yearick, right, looks for a shot against South­ern Hunt­ing­don’s Ray­mond Goss in their 106-pound bout on Fri­day.

NATE COBLER [email protected]­

Penns Val­ley’s team hud­dles up be­fore the Rams’ 59-21 win over South­ern Hunt­ing­don.


Penns Val­ley’s Malachi DuVall at­tempts to spla­dle South­ern Hunt­ing­don’s Bran­don Runk in their 145-pound match.

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