9 matches end in pins as Kittanning tops West Shamokin
It was a match with the type of wrestling one would have seen at the ancient Olympics — bouts ended only when someone was on their back.
All nine contested matches ended with a pin, as Kittanning picked up a 48-36 win at West Shamokin and clinched a spot in the section championship tournament with the Section 3B-AA win Wednesday.
The Wildcats (3-1, 3-1) finished their section schedule with second place in the subsection locked up, which means for the second straight year they will join Burrell and the top two finishers from the 3A subsection in the Jan. 22 Section 3 team tournament.
“You're always working toward the goal of getting back in the section championship match and getting another chance to face Burrell,” Kittanning coach Brandon Newill said. “It's what we're working for and pushing for, but right now we're just talking about what we did in the match today and what we can do to improve.”
West Shamokin (3-5, 0-2) jumped out to a 24-6 lead.
The Wolves got a first-period pin by William Hockenberry at 106 pounds to start the match, which Kittanning's Brandon Malia answered with a fall at 113. West Shamokin received forfeit wins for Cory Blystone (120) and Ethan Schantz (126), and 132-pounder Brian Lukehart won the closest bout of the night by pinning Nathan Goldner at the 4:48 mark of a 2-2 contest.
“Falls are really important, and they ended up making the match a lot closer than how we laid it out on paper going in,” West Shamokin coach Tyler Altmeyer said. “We thought we had a chance to win some matchups, and those falls helped out. I thought we wrestled well.”
Kittanning took control of the match by rattling off five consecutive falls, all of which came in the first period.
Nick Croyle began the run at 138, and he was followed by Brandon Ingram (145), Nate Vukovich (152), Jason Nolf (160) and Elliot Zydonik (170), who scored his fall less than a second before the horn sounded to end his first period.
Brendan Glover ended the run of Kittanning wins with a first-period fall at 182 that cut Kittanning's lead to 36-30.
But the team result had already been settled. Jake Robb (195) and Joel Tack (285) took forfeit wins for the Wildcats, and John Wissinger took an uncontested win at 220 for the Wolves.
West Shamokin has section matches remaining against Burrell and Summit Academy, which will help a young squad gain experience before the section tournament.
“We're still new. We've got a young team, and with the weather and the holiday breaks, it's been tough to get in good practice time,” Altmeyer said. “There's always room for improvement, no matter who you are.”
As for Kittanning, a trio of nonsection matches and the South Side Beaver Duals on Saturday await, as the team tries to improve and get healthier before the team and individual section tournaments.
“We have Brody Trumbull out at 120, David Grafton out at 285, so we had to do some shuffling and do what we needed to make it work tonight,” Newill said. “We're going to get those guys back in the lineup and keep working to get better.”