BROOKVILLE, Pa. – This past Friday (Jan. 17) four of the best dual meet teams went head-to-head in Brookville, as the Raiders, ranked 11th in the state, hosted Reynolds (first), Burrell (fourth), and Chestnut Ridge (fifth) at the annual Ultimate Duals.
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Moved up a day because of weather concerns, similar to what caused the cancellation of last year’s event, Coach Dave Klepfer’s Brookville squad went 1-2 in this lead-up to next week’s District 9 Duals (Sat., Feb. 4) and a possible trip to the PIAA Team Wrestling State Championships in Hershey (Feb. 6-8).
“We value the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the state. It’s great preparation as we move closer to the district duals. Our guys get tested as individuals and as a team,” reported Klepfer.
“I thought we competed hard against some very tough teams. I’m pretty happy overall with our approach, but, like always, we will get back to work and get ready for DuBois (site of the district duals).”
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Brookville suffered its first loss of the 2019-2020 dual season in the opening match, falling to Chestnut Ridge, 43-22. The visiting Lions won eight of the 13 contested bouts, scoring four pins and a major decision.
Fans were treated to three match-ups of state-ranked wrestlers in the dual, witnessing upsets by Raider grapplers in two. Perhaps the most significant upset of the event came at 220 pounds, where fourteenth ranked Nathan Taylor took a 4-2 decision over third-ranked Duane Knisely. At 120 pounds Chestnut Ridge’s 113-pounder Nathan Holderman, seventh at his weight, bumped up and lost a 7-2 decision to Brookville’s Owen Reinsel, ranked twelfth. The Lions’ Kai Burkett, eighth at 120 pounds, won an 8-0 major decision against the state’s twelfth ranked 113-pounder Cayden Walter, the bout taking place in the latter’s weight class.
Noted Klepfer in reference to Taylors’s and Reinsel’s victories, “Both big wins if you’re a rankings follower. Both Nathan and Owen have put in a lot of extra work to be able to compete at high levels and beat kids of their caliber (Knisely and Holderman, respectively).”
Scoring pins for Brookville were Elliot Park at 182 pounds (1:10) and Colby Whitehill at 285 pounds (0:42). Wyatt Griffin, competing at 170 pounds, won a major decision for the Raiders
Brookville next took on Reynolds, suffering a 48-19 loss. Reynolds won eight of the twelve contested bouts, four via pin fall. This dual had potential regional, if not state, implications individually. Four bouts were among wrestlers who had at least regional rankings and three featured state-ranked wrestlers going head-to-head.
Two of the match-ups against regionally-ranked wrestlers went Brookville’s way. Reinsel, second in the NW Region at 120 pounds, took a 3-0 decision over the thirteenth ranked 126-pounder Liam Foore, who dropped down for the match. Nathan Taylor, the third-ranked 220-pounder in the region, scored a 13-2 major decision against the regions fifth in the class, Evan Miller. The other two such bouts saw Reynolds grapplers prevail; Kane Kettering (second regionally, sixth in the state) 6-0 over Logan Oakes (eighth regionally) at 106 pounds and Brayden Herbster (fifth regionally, ninth in the state) pinned Bryce Rafferty (twelfth regionally) near the end of the third period (3:50).
The 113-pound bout saw the top-ranked wrestler in the state, Reynolds’s Gary Steen, win a close 4-3 decision against Walter. Bryce McCloskey of Reynolds, fourth in the state at 182 pounds, pinned Park, ranked 25th, midway through the third period (4:49). At heavyweight, the state’s number one, Whitehill, decked seventeenth ranked Rocco John-Daniello in the first period (1:42).
Also taking a victory in the match was Wyatt Kulick (11th regionally), who pinned Jaylen Wagner (3:31).
Brookville finished the evening in style, taking out Burrell, 39-27. The Raiders won six of the ten contested bouts. Three of the Raiders’ victories were the result of pins, with Elliot Park decking Cole Clark early in the second period (2:28) at 182 pounds, Brayden Kunselman scoring a quick fall (0:48) against Thristone Acierno at 120 pounds, and Coyha Brown stacking Logan Bechtold in the first period of sudden victory (6:35) at 138 pounds. The 113-pound match-up was the only bout that saw two state-ranked wrestlers squaring up, with Walter decisioning Shawn Szymanski, ranked 16th, 5-4.
“It was a great way to end the night. We knew that we could maybe knock them off with a special effort and that’s what we got out of pretty much the whole line-up. They (Burrell) are well-coached and always seem to bring out the best in our teams,” reported Klepfer.
Reinsel, Taylor, and Whitehill were all 3-0 for Brookville. Reinsel’s victories all came on the mat, while Taylor and Whitehill each won two contested bouts and accepted a forfeit.
Relayed Klepfer, “Those three guys are just consistent in the way they train and compete. Nathan (Taylor) had a big win against Chestnut Ridge and Owen (Reinsel) really put together a nice night. Colby (Whitehill) just continues to be the anchor in our line-up that is so dependable.”
(rankings from PAPower Wrestling 01/09/2020)