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GANT: Bison Place Eighth at North West AAA Regionals; Billotte Advances to Super Regional

ALTOONA, Pa. — With the goal of placing in the top-2, so they could advance to the 2021 West AAA Super Regional next weekend, six Clearfield Bison took to the familiar mats of the Altoona Area High School Field House at the North West Regional tourney on Saturday morning in split action for the first time.

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Weight classes 106 through 138 rounded out the morning session, while 145 to 285 took over for the early evening round.

The Clearfield Bison ended up in eighth place with 51 team points, the best output of any District 9 team. The Bellefonte Red Raiders defended their North West Regional title from a year ago with 119 points.

Two Bison wrestlers competed in the morning session.

The tourney started out great for 106 pound Bison sophomore Evan Davis as he upset the District 10 champion from Cathedral Prep, Sam Staab (8-2). Davis, the six seed, had a 5-point move in the first period that Staab, the three seed, was never able to overcome entirely. Down 5-1 after one period, Staab closed the gap to 6-4 after two. Davis was reversed early in the third period to see the bout become tied at 6-6, but escaped with 43 seconds left and held off Staab from any further scoring to come away with the 7-6 win.

In Davis’ semifinal bout, he was matched up with the District 6 champion, Casey Smith (18-1) the number two seed out of Juniata. About halfway through the first period, Smith scored the match’s opening takedown. Davis was injured at that time and was not permitted to continue, thus ending his tournament at 1-1 and 16-8 overall for the season. Davis sits with a 42-23 career record.

Junior Luke Freeland, who rejoined the team partway through the season after returning from injury, entered the tourney with a 6-6 record and the five seed. Freeland scored the opening takedown in his quarterfinal bout against the District 8 two-time champ Troy Jacobson (7-0) of Taylor Allderdice. Down 3-2 after one period, Jacobson picked up an escape and a takedown to take a 5-3 lead, but Freeland narrowed the gap to 5-4 shortly before the second period ended. Freeland was unable to escape Jacobson’s ride over the final two minutes and the bout ended 5-4.

In Freeland’s consolation match, he faced Cathedral Prep’s Elijah Hunt (8-4), the District 10 runner-up. Tied 2-2 midway through the bout, Hunt scored the final five points over the last period and a half to score a 7-2 victory. Freeland will enter his senior season with an overall record of 48-39.

The afternoon session was more successful as each of the four Clearfield entrants made it to the medal stand. The final result was one runner-up and three fourth place finishes.

The Bison quartet of medalists were led by returning state placewinner Oliver Billotte at 285.

Billotte (20-3) made short work of his quarterfinal opponent, District 10 champion Mark Chambers (8-1) of Erie McDowell. That match lasted all of a minute as Billotte easily manhandled Chambers with a one minute fall.

Oliver Billotte on the the podium!

Next up for Billotte in the semifinals was the District 6 champion, Altoona’s Trevor Manley (12-7). Billotte used a takedown in each of the first two periods to earn a 5-1 win to set up a rematch of last week’s District 4/9 championship match against Selinsgrove’s Nate Schon (35-0) in the regional final.

Different week, same result, as Schon, a 2019 PIAA state champion and Iowa State recruit, pinned Billotte in 50 seconds. Last weekend Billotte lasted 3:34.

Billotte will be the lone Bison to return to Altoona next weekend, as he will compete in the West AAA Super Regional, looking to place top-4 and secure a second state medal. Four wrestlers from each East and West Super Regional will compete at Hershey on March 13. Billotte is 20-3 on the current season and 72-18 overall.

In Karson Kline’s quarterfinal match at 145 pounds, he gained a measure of revenge as he wrestled Central Mountain’s District 6 champion, Griffin Walizer (16-7). Walizer pinned Kline in the waning seconds of the dual meet, while countering Kline’s winning takedown attempt. Another close match ensued here. The back and forth match actually ended in a 4-4 tie after regulation. Kline wasted no time during the sudden victory period as he executed a double leg takedown for the win only 10 seconds in to the extra period.

Kline then was knocked in to the wrestlebacks by Cathedral Prep’s Steffan Lynch (12-1) by a 12-2 major decision. Kline was then eliminated in the third place bout by the eventual runner-up, Kyler Everly (15-5) of Mifflin County. Kline, a junior, finished his season with a 17-7 record and will take a 67-40 record in to his last year.

Freshman Carter Chamberlain at 172 pounds picked up some valuable post season experience in going 2-2 in the regional tourney.

First he defeated District 8 champion Mateo Bradbury (6-1) of Westinghouse by fall in 1:31. Chamberlain was dominating with a 6-1 lead at the time of the fall.

Unfortunately, next up for Chamberlain was 2019 PIAA State Champion Trey Kibe (16-0) of Mifflin County. The senior, and three time regional champ, was a bit much as he tech falled Chamberlain 16-1 in 4:09.

Chamberlain assured himself a spot on the podium with a 7-6 win over fellow freshman Magnus Lloyd (19-5) of General McLane. An escape with 38 seconds in the final period proved to be the winning point.

A rematch with St. Marys’ Nick Crisp (15-1) from the District 4/9 final awaited Chamberlain in the third place bout. Chamberlain closed the gap on the senior a bit, from 12-3 to 7-3, to finish his successful freshman campaign at 15-10.

At 215, junior Mark McGonigal entered as the top seed and drew Rhoan Woodrow (11-6) from Meadville in the quarterfinals. McGonigal had no issues there and disposed of Woodrow 7-0 with two takedowns, a reversal, and an escape.

However, McGonigal couldn’t get any offense going against State College’s Ty Price (13-6) in the semifinals and could only manage two escapes in a 3-2 loss.

McGonigal kept his hopes alive for a third consecutive trip to the state tourney with a 7-1 repeat win from last week’s District 4/9 final over Selinsgrove’s Ryan Aument (20-9).

Central Mountain’s Nikolas Miller (21-7) dashed those hopes with a reversal from his loss in the dual meet with a 4-2 win over McGonigal. McGonigal scored his two points on an escape in the second period and a stall point in the third. McGonigal finished his junior year with a 19-5 records and is just 17 wins away from joining the century club next season with an over record of 83-24.

Complete bracket results can be found HERE, courtesy