NTL sends 11 to States, Athens takes third at Northeast Regional.

By: Coy Gobble | Towanda Daily Review | March 5, 2017 | Photo courtesy Coy Gobble


NTL sends 11 to States, Athens takes third at Northeast RegionalWILLIAMSPORT — Wyalusing and Athens will each send four wrestlers to the PIAA State wrestling tournament starting on Thursday, including two regional champions for Athens and one for Wyalusing.

Troy will send two wrestlers and Towanda will send one after competing in the Northeast Regional tournament on Friday and Saturday.

Line Mountain took the team crown, scoring 105 points from two champions, one second-place winner, one third-place winner and two fourth-place winners.

In second was Southern Columbia with 94 points. They finished wth three champions, one second-place winner and one fourth-place winner.

Athens took third with 91 points from two champions, one second-place winner and one third-place winner, and in fourth was Wyalusing with 71 points from one champion, two second-place winners and one third-place winner.

After defeating Berwick's second-seeded Nicholas Yule by technical fall, 22-7, at 4:53 in the quarterfinals of the 106-pound bracket, Troy's Sheldon Seymour fell to Line Mountain's Matty Coller by fall at 5:06.

In consolations, Seymour defeated Warrior Run's Noah Hunt by major decision, 12-4, advancing him to the third-place match and guaranteeing him a spot in the state tournament.

In the third-place bout, Seymour faced Hughesville's Luke Gorg and lost 7-0.

"It feels great," Seymour said after the match. "It was a tough journey to get here. I'm just happy I get to go to states. I was just hoping to make it out of districts realistically, and to make it out of districts, for district four, and being down 10-12 pounds, it made it even tougher. I'm excited for states."

At 113 pounds, Athens' Austin Burkhart defeated Honesdale's Dennis Putzi by technical fall, 16-0, in the quarterfinals. Burkhart then fell to Southern Columbia's undefeated Jaret Lane in the semi-finals by decision, 4-1.

Just like last week, Burkhart fought back through consolations, defeating E.L. Meyers' Anthony Kasper 10-4 to earn a spot in the third-place match.

In the third-place bout, Burkhart controlled the match all of the way through. The former New York state champion did not allow a single point to be scored against him, defeating Bloomsburg's Colby Bronzburg 8-0 to secure third place.

"I'm happy I'm going to states, but then again, I'm kind of disappointed. I know I can wrestle with Lutz and Lane," Burkhart said. "But, I'm going to states, so I can prove it there."

Wyalusing's Josh Haley pinned E.L. Meyers' Jeremy Bergold in the quarterfinals of the 152-pound bracket to advance to the semi-finals where he would meet Athens' Kaidon Winters for the third week in a row.

Winters defeated Bloomsburg's Mitch Milbrand 8-2 in the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals, Winters proved he is consistent; defeating Haley for the third week in a row, 3-0 and advancing himself to the championship match against Southern Columbia's Cade Linn.

Haley fought his way through consolations, pinning Lake Lehman's Jake Tomolonis at 1:42, and then defeating Mifflinburg's Tyler Stoltzfus in the third place match by major decision 13-2.

"I'm happy with (third place)," Haley said. "I'm going back to states, which is good, but there's always room to improve there's always matches I could've won. Overall, it's a good weekend."

Winters shut out Linn in the championship bout, 7-0, to take the Regional title at 152 pounds.

"It feels just as good as the other ones," Winters said after winning the region. "Well, better. Got to keep wrestling hard next week."

At 160 pounds, Wyalusing's Creighton Edsell was the top seed and faced Southern Columbia's Cal Haladay in the quarterfinals. Edsell won the match 3-0, then defeated Shamokin's Jacob Carpenter 2-0 in the semi-finals to earn a spot in the championship match.

In the final, Edsell faced off against Montoursville's Kyle Bennett. After taking Bennett down with an inside single in the first period, Edsell was up 2-0. In the second period, Edsell started on bottom. Edsell stood up, but Bennett held onto his leg and forced Edsell to turn into him, sprawl and cross-face to get his escape point, 3-0. Bennett chose bottom for the third period and escaped but couldn't muster a takedown after that, losing 3-1.

"I feel pretty good," Edsell said. "I was a little sick this week, but I feel good. I pushed through it. I just got to keep wrestling and keep pushing myself. As long as I keep on working hard and pushing it will turn out well for me."

At 170 pounds, Athens' Nate Bradley defeated E.L. Meyers' Colin Browne by technical fall, 21-6 in the quarterfinals. Then Bradley went on to defeat Muncy's Michael Kustanbauter, 4-2 in a sudden victory in the semi-finals to earn a spot in the finals against Southern Columbia's Gaige Garcia.

In the finals match, Garcia went up 2-0 in the first period. In the second, Garcia chose down and escaped quickly to make it 3-0. From neutral, Garcia shot in on a quick inside single. Bradley countered with a whizzer but Garcia countered the counter by lifting Bradley's ankle up in front of him and tree-topping him to the mat to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Thirty seconds later, Bradley escaped, making it 5-1 at the end of the second period. Bradley chose bottom to start the third and escaped to make the match 5-2. Garcia shot in on and inside single and Bradley caught it, but Garcia countered with a shoulder dip and recovered Bradley's hips before Bradley could react, 7-2. Bradley escaped and managed a takedown but just didn't have enough time to finish the comeback and fell, 7-5.

"I'm a little disappointed, but I'm happy I moved on," Bradley said. "(Gaige) is real tough, I just got to work on some things. I'm looking forward to competing next week."

Troy's Zach Zimmerman defeated Hanover Area's JJ Hoover 11-7 in the quarterfinals; and, on the other side of the 182-pound bracket, Towanda's Joe Koss pinned Wyoming Area's Adam Buczynski at 3:06 in the quarterfinals.

In the semifinals, Zimmerman upset Lewisburg's number one-seeded Andrew Shedleski, 3-1 and Koss defeated Honesdale's Alec Dragos 5-3 to set up a rematch of the North Sectional final in the Northeast Regional final.

In what seemed to be as even a match as one could draw up, Koss and Zimmerman finished the first period scoreless. In the second period, Zimmerman chose bottom and escaped after 30 seconds to make the score 1-0. In the third period, Koss chose bottom and after 35 seconds, escaped Zimmerman's control, tying the match 1-1.

In the sudden victory fourth period, Zimmerman tapped Koss's forehead, causing Koss to finch, and immediately shot an outside single and swallowed Koss's left leg. Koss then sprawled and released his leg and in an attempt to swing over and gain control of Zimmerman's hips, but Zimmerman grabbed Koss's hips and threw him to the mat, earning the takedown, sudden victory, regional championship and bragging rights over his Towanda rival.

"You know, it's been a long road," Zimmerman said. "Long career. It's fitting to keep moving forward. I think that if I lose initially or face some adversity, people shouldn't count me out. I just wrestle six inches in front of my face and it pays off in these tournaments."

"I don't feel as good as I did last week, but I'm happy going to states," Koss remarked. "It feels really good to make it, I've always wanted to, feels good.

"Zach and I have been wrestling some really good matches the past few weeks. Me beating him last week by a point and him beating me in overtime this week. It was a fun match, I'm happy I got to wrestle and I'm happy I got to move on."

At 195 pounds, Wyalusing's Mike Wilcox defeated E.L. Meyers' Locus Borum 9-3 in the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals, Wilcox edged Scranton Prep's second-seeded Ivan Balavage, 2-1 to advance to the championship match.

Wilcox fell to Montoursville's Gavin Hoffman — the top-ranked wrestler in the state at 195 pounds — by fall at 1:28 in the finals.

"It feels good, finally getting to go to Hershey," Wilcox said. "A lot of years of wrestling, the hard work is starting to pay off for me. Every night we go into the room and battle, it makes us better. (Hoffman) is real tough, I knew that going into the match. I gave it my all."

At 285 pounds, Wyalusing's Dawson Otis pinned Valley View's John Shnipes at 0:41 in the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals Otis saw a familiar foe in North-Penn Liberty's Justin Kriner who he beat in an ultimate tie-breaker, 2-1.

In the finals, Otis faced Line Mountain's number one-seeded Garrett Kieffer. In the first period, eschewing traditional heavyweight wrestling techniques, Kieffer swiped an outside single and got Otis to tumble over, taking the lead 2-0. Just a few seconds later, and just before the end of the first period, Otis escaped Kieffer, making the score 2-1.

Otis deferred choice in the second period and Kieffer chose bottom. In an attempt to turn Kieffer, Otis lost control of him and Kieffer escaped bringing the score to 3-1. Trying to take a few more outside singles that now lacked the element of surprise, Kieffer almost took down Otis a second time, but Otis was saved by the second period buzzer.

In the third period, Otis chose bottom and promptly escaped. With the score now 3-2 Kieffer, Otis was on the offensive. Intitiating contact with wrist control, Otis stepped on Kieffer's toe and purposely or not toppled the mountain of a heavyweight and took the lead, 4-3 with just under a minute to go.

Otis had wrist control on top and tried to flatten Kieffer, but Kieffer dove, faced Otis and grabbed his right leg. Otis overcompensated and Kieffer fireman's carried Otis over top to gain a reversal and a 5-4 lead with just 30 seconds to go.

Otis quickly stood up, escaped, and evened the score at 5-5. The two heavyweights remained in neutral for the rest of regulation. In sudden victory overtime, Kieffer shucked Otis overtop of him and took Otis to his back with a high crotch shot. The match would end there with Kieffer pinning Otis at 6:14.

"I'd feel a lot better if I came in first, but what are you going to do," Otis said. "We worked all week to get this far, just got to work a little more to come out on top at states. I knew how (Kieffer) wrestled, but last week I wasn't quite ready for him. This week I worked hard and I came in ready and still fell a little short."

The state tournament will start Thursday morning at The Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.