BVA's Bell grappling with success
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Belle Vernon Area sophomore wrestler Austin Bell is quickly making a name for himself nationally.
Barely a month after he became BVA's second WPIAL champ in school history, Bell inserted his name into the conversation for best sophomore in the country by placing second in the 160-pound bracket at the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) Sophomore Nationals in Virginia Beach.
He followed up that performance by placing eighth at FloWrestling.org's FloNationals at Indiana University of Pennsylvania a week later, also at 160.
“At Sophomore Nationals I think I wrestled really well, until the finals,” Bell said. “It would have been nice to win, but I took two weeks off after the season and only practiced twice before the tournament, so I feel like I still did pretty well. At Flo, the competition was really tough, but I also don't think I wrestled as well. I placed higher than I was seeded, which was great, but I still think I could have done a little better. But I definitely feel like I have taken a few steps forward since the end of the year.”
At Sophomore Nationals, Bell opened his tournament with two straight 15-0 technical falls and then reached the finals with major decisions of 13-1 and 11-2. In the finals, he was pinned in the first period by Chris Weiler from Wyoming Seminary (Pa.), the No. 12-ranked 160-pounder in the country according to FloWrestling's rankings. At FloNationals, Bell was seeded tenth and opened with an 11-2 major decision, before dropping an 8-6 decision to eventual fifth-place finisher Brett Donner of New Jersey. Bell then rattled off three straight decision victories – 8-5, 5-3, and 7-2 – to guarantee himself a spot on the podium. He dropped his last two matches 9-3 to Dylan Lydy of Indiana and 7-5 to Pittsburgh Central Catholic's Travis Palumbo in the seventh place match.
“Austin is getting better every day,” BVA coach Tyler Nauman said. “He's already better than he was at WPIALs. At NHSCA he was taking guys down and dominating guys on top, which shows that he is willing to target his weakness and work on it. His mat wrestling is much better than it used to be and he is diversifying his attacks on his feet. Austin wants to get better and right now he is making himself a wrestler who dominates in all positions.”
The NHSCA puts on a series of prestigious national tournaments, ranging from a major preseason tournament to postseason tournaments based on class that have regularly attracted the top wrestlers in the country for the past 25 years. FloNationals is a relatively new event run by FloWrestling.org, one of the top amateur wrestling websites in the country. This years' event attracted three wrestlers ranked first in the country in their weight class. The field was a who's-who of nationally-ranked underclassmen.
“Going to these big tournaments is about just getting out and wrestling,” Nauman said. “At both of those events he was able to see top-quality guys; guys on the same level that he will see at the WPIAL and state tournaments. Going to these things will prepare you to wrestle on those big stages and the level of nervousness that you might experience is gone.”
Bell's offseason is far from over. He plans on wrestling in several freestyle qualifying tournaments before competing in the Freestyle Nationals later in the summer in Fargo, N.D. Freestyle, or International style, is wrestled in the Olympics and has a different set of rules than scholastic or folkstyle wrestling, which is wrestled during the school season. Bell also plans on competing for Nauman's club team, Team Griffin, in the Disney Duals, and already has his sights set on next season.
“I want to win a second WPIAL title and make it to the state finals,” Bell said. “That's why we work all off-season.”
Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kang’s 9th-inning home run gives Pirates wild victory over Twins
- Rossi: ‘Hockey guy’ Sutter will be missed
- Steelers’ Wheaton adjusting his game moving to slot receiver
- School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
- Pirates notebook: Prospect Tucker unaware of ‘trade’ frenzy
- Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
- Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
- Van Halen plays plenty of favorites in First Niagara show
- 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
- More than 100 stamp bags confiscated in Greensburg; 4 arrested
- Hempfield cyclist to cool wheels in jail during appeal