The Daily Press

Dutch wrestling falls in semifinals at D9 Team Duals

- Special to the Press

With perennial area wrestling powers Clearfield and St. Marys making the drop from AAA to AA this year, the AA team duals had some new schools in the mix for the team title. However, when the dust cleared it was the Brookville Raiders claiming their 10th consecutiv­e championsh­ip.

Seeding for the bracket was critical as Clearfield, the Dutch and Brookville all went 1-1 against each other. All three teams are in the top 20 in AA state rankings. The Dutchmen defeated Clearfield 3924. Clearfield defeated Brookville 45-27 and the Raiders bested the Dutch 36-21 during the regular season. Having no clear top seed, it was done via a point system which awarded the Bisons the top spot. This set up a semi-final showdown between the Dutch and the Raiders.

Having received their only dual meet loss of the season from the Raiders, Head Coach Dom Surra thought that with a couple favorable draws and a different result here or there that the Dutchmen could make the finals where they would more than likely meet up with the top seeded Clearfield Bisons who they had already defeated. One thing they did not count on Saturday at the Brookville High School gym for the D9 team duals was having to give up 6 points for a forfeit at 107 pounds. Brookville and the Dutch had not fielded a 107 pounder all season. In January's dual neither team weighed in a grappler at 107. This resulted in a 'no match' and thus no score. Saturday would be different. Zani Spellman, a junior, weighed in at the 107 pound slot for the Raiders. She had not wrestled a match or been in the lineup all season until now. This would make for 6 additional team points that the Dutch would have to make up.

The match began at 172 pounds where St. Marys drew first blood. It matched up St. Marys standout Waylon Wehler (19-2) against Raider Easton Belfiore (10-8). Wehler wasted little time as he decked the Raider in 1:02 of the first period. The Dutch led 6-0. Next on the mat at 189, Hunter Chillelli (7-6) who weighed in at 172 faced Gavin Hannah (17-6). Giving up nearly 20lbs to a quality opponent, he wrestled a gutsy match. He fought off his back numerous times refusing to be pinned. In doing so he saved a team point and the Dutch lead was cut to one, 6-5.

At 215 Bryson Tucker took on Brookville standout, Jackson Zimmerman. Zimmerman used a takedown and a cradle to get the fall in 1:27 of the first. This would put the Raiders up 11-6.

Next up, Dutchman Alex Lukaschuni­s, 215 pounder, moved up to heavy weight to face off with Baily Miller. The first period ended scoreless but in the second, Miller was able to lock up a cradle and got the fall in 3:37. Dutch trailed 17-6.

At 107, Brookville's newfound wrestler received a forfeit making it 23-6.

At 114 Dutchman Jayce Walter (8-7) and Jared Popson (21-7) battled once again. In January's dual meet (at 121pounds) the St. Marys freshman gave Popson all he could handle in a 9-5 regular decision. Popson scored a takedown and 3 back points from a tilt to end the first period 5-0. Walter took down to start the second and Popson rolled up 3 separate near fall points to set the score at 13-0 nearing the end of the second. Walter wasn't about to give up as he used a reversal and cradle in the third putting the Raider on his back and nearly getting the fall. Popson ended up with a 13-5 major decision expanding Brookville's lead to 27-6.

Coach Surra bumped 114 pounder Aiden Beimel (13-5) up to 121lbs to face Antonio Thorton (6-9) in an attempt to stage a comeback. Beimel didn't disappoint. 45 seconds into the first Beimel hit a beautiful takedown and turned Thorton with an arm bar getting the fall in 1:33 picking up a much needed 6 points to make the score 27-12 in favor of the Raiders.

Next up was 127 where Cole Neil (9-5) faced off against Cole Householde­r (22-5), ranked 3rd in the state in AA. The first period saw Householde­r score a takedown and an escape by Neil to set the score at 2-1. Householde­r chose down to start the 2nd and garnered an escape, a takedown and a number of near falls via a tilt to lead 10-2 at the end of 2. Neil took neutral to begin the 3rd. A takedown made it 122. Householde­r again went to his tilt but this time he didn't let Neil off his back and got the fall at 5:23. That made the score 33-12.

The 133 pounders were next to hit the mat. Dutch freshman AJ Himes (6-5) and Raider senior Brecken Cieleski (16-9) put on a spirited match. Himes went all out as the team needed a big win heading into a strong part of the Dutch line up to preserve a shot at a team victory.

Himes struck first with a takedown and two back points to go up 4-0. It looked as if the period would end that way but a controvers­ial escape call at the very end of the first made it 4-1. Cieleski took down to begin the second. He got a quick escape but a lightning fast takedown by Himes made it 6-2. Celeski turned up the wick and added an escape, a quick takedown and a set of near fall points to put him up 8-6 after two. Himes chose neutral to begin the third. A takedown and back points by Cieleski led to a fall at 5:17 ending the chances of a Dutch comeback.

With the score now 39-12, Brookville forfeited to Owen Tamburlin-Lang, Jaden Wehler, Andrew Wolfanger and Landon Cook making the final score Brookville 39, St. Marys 36.

In earlier action, Cranberry defeated Clarion in a quarter final match. Clearfield then went on to defeat Cranberry 39-25 in their semifinal.

In the finals, the Brookville Raiders were able to avenge their earlier defeat to Clearfield 33-26 in a battle royal to clinch another AA D9 team championsh­ip.

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