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Ligonier Valley senior captures Southwest Regional title

| Saturday, March 2, 2013, 9:57 p.m.
Ligonier Valley's Joshua Patrick grapples with Bedford's Ryan Easter during their 120-pound championship bout at the PIAA Southwest AA Regional Wrestling Tournament on March 3, 2013 at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

A Patrick again ended up on top of the podium for Ligonier Valley in the PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional championships. The first name just changed.

One season after his younger brother, Justin, became the Rams' first PIAA Class AA Southwest Regional champion, Josh, a senior, added another title to the team's collection.

A thrilling championship bout of the 120-pound weight class ended in favor of Josh Patrick, who defeated top seed and District 5 champion Ryan Easter of Bedford, 4-3, in the tiebreaker portion of overtime Saturday night at the Cambria County War Memorial in Johnstown.

One extra-loud fan in the stands helped fuel his fire.

“I heard his dad say, ‘He's getting tired,' and I just wanted to show I wasn't,” said Patrick, who scored a two-point near-fall to decide the match.

Justin Patrick, a junior 113-pounder, aimed to become a two-time region winner, and through one period against South Fayette's Seth Carr, he was tied at 2. But Carr scored a reversal in the second period and then limited his opponent to an escape in the third.

“It's kind of a down because I train with him every day and want him to do well,” Josh Patrick said. “Hopefully, he can recover and learn from his mistakes.”

The brothers train together because, as Josh bluntly put it, no other Rams around their weight really challenge them. Justin placed fourth in the PIAA and first in the region and District 6 last season. Josh, who improved to 27-0, took fifth in the PIAA, third in the region and first in the district last season.

Both Patricks advance to the PIAA championships, which begin Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey. The top five in each weight class from the Southwest region qualify.

Two from Southmoreland are through. Sophomore Austin Griffiths (106 pounds) avenged his loss to Burgettstown's Austin McDermitt in the WPIAL finals with a 6-2 victory in the region's third-place bout.

“I think every match starts out even,” Griffiths said. “Every match is a new match. He could come back and beat me the same way after I just beat him again.”

Freshman heavyweight Jacob Beistel edged Moshannon Valley's Jack Brunnell, 6-5, to place fifth.

“Our future is bright with those two young guys, and freshman Evan Myers (120), who was a match away from giving himself an opportunity to reach states,” Southmoreland coach Ryan Shaw said.

Derry freshman George Phillippi (113) lost a heart-wrenching semifinal bout to Justin Patrick but recovered well to place third. Phillippi, who lost by pinfall in an ultimate tiebreaker with Patrick, won his next two matches by scores of 3-0 to earn his first PIAA berth.

Blairsville had two finalists — sophomore Andrew Doak, the No. 1 seed, lost, 3-1, to Freedom's Boe Bonzo. Sophomore Scott Thompson (182), the No. 2 seed, dropped a 13-4 decision to Burrell's Dakota DesLauriers. Senior Noah Tarr (145), a No. 1 seed, finished third.

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at wwest@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.

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