Central Cambria 160-pounder Tony Risaliti and Chestnut Ridge coach Greg Lazor had their ups and downs this year.
Risaliti's ups were beating Forest Hills' friend and workout partner Cody Law, 7-4, to win his second District 6 Class AA title, was voted the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament by the media, set the Central Cambria record for career wins with 127, breaking Mark Brothers' old mark of 118 set in 1993 and led the area in pins with 26, which tied Greg Grimes' school record set in 1993.
He finished the season with a 37-5 record, qualified for the PIAA Championships for the third time by finishing second at the Southwest Regional and earned his second state tournament medal, taking a fourth after placing seventh as a junior.
His downs were admittedly minor in nature, losing to Law three out of the four bouts they wrestled, including in the regional finals, 5-4. He also didn't feel like himself in the early rounds of states, and he came up short twice against Central Columbia's Kurt Meske, 11-7 in the quarterfinals and 9-4 in the third-place finals.
Lazor's downs were having to deal with the death of wrestler Brian Corle before the season started and his team losing to rival Bedford by 43 points, 59-16, on Dec. 22, and his wrestlers and District 5 not doing as well as he thought they would going into the Southwest Regional.
The ups were guiding the Lions to a Richland Duals title, including a 31-23 win over Somerset, finishing second at the Thomas Subaru Tournament and losing by only five points to Bedford, 29-24, in the District 5 Duals title match. He also guided the program to its first District 5 title since 1983, and he was voted District 5 Coach of the Year following the title.
2011-12 Mirror wrestling all-stars
160*Tony RisalitiCentral CambriaSr37-5
170*Tyler DibertChestnut RidgeJr36-8
195James StodartMoshannon ValleyJr40-3
285*Quinton HixsonNorthern BedfordSr35-4
Wrestler of the Year: Tony Risaliti, Central Cambria
Coach of the Year: Greg Lazor, Chestnut Ridge
*-Indicates second First Team selection
113Trent CrouseChestnut RidgeFr25-13
126Ben RagerCentral CambriaSr35-4
132Damian CorleNorthern BedfordJr20-13
138Nick SzalaPenn CambriaSr36-5
160Tyler MartinMoshannon ValleySr32-7
170Ross InzanaCambria HeightsSr29-10
182Dylan LudwigMoshannon ValleySr24-5
195Dan AlbrightChestnut RidgeJr34-8
220Jake LudwigMoshannon ValleyJr29-5
106Derrick ClaarChestnut RidgeFr33-9
113Mason ReplogleNorthern BedfordJr27-9
113Ryan DupasCambria HeightsSr21-6
120Joe DavisCambria HeightsSo28-4
126Shane PfaunmillerChestnut RidgeSr34-13
160Bradie BollmanChestnut RidgeJr24-15
220Seth McLendonPenn CambriaSo28-12
285Austin ButtryChestnut RidgeSo33-12
Ridge's 26-6 record is a new school record for wins in a season, and it could be a record for a District 5 team.
As you see, they had far more ups than downs, and for that, Risaliti and Lazor have earned top honors on the 29th annual Mirror All-Star team. Risaliti has been named Wrestler of the Year, and Lazor has been named Coach of the Year.
Lazor is joined on the team by 170-pounder Tyler Dibert. There's three wrestlers from Claysburg-Kimmel on the first team, and two each from Altoona, Bedford and Philipsburg-Osceola.
The first, second and honorable mention teams follow the order of the Mirror rankings, with some exceptions at deep weights. Here's the rest of the first team and its accomplishments:
106 pounds: Josh Brown, Claysburg-Kimmel: A Second Team selection at 103 last year, Brown was ranked No. 1 the entire season at 106. The junior placed second at the District 6 Tournament and Southwest Regional, losing to Ligonier Valley's Justin Patrick both times, qualified for the state tournament for a second time and finished with a 31-7 record and 13 pins. Brown was 35-12 last season.
113 pounds: Ryan Easter, Bedford: Easter returns to the first team as a sophomore, but it wasn't easy as he lost two battles with Ridge's Trent Crouse before beating Crouse, 3-2, for his second District 5 title. He lost to Kittanning's returning state champion Jason Nolf, 8-0, in the Southwest Regional finals and followed up last year's fifth-place state medal with a sixth-place finish. He went 37-8 - after going 36-5 last season - with 19 pins.
120 pounds: D.J. Hollingshead, Altoona: The only freshman on the first team, Hollingshead showed considerable promise in going 35-5 with 22 pins. He finished second in the District 6 Class AAA Tournament, losing to Bellefonte veteran Tom Traxler, who said Hollingshead was the best freshman he had ever wrestled.
One of his two losses in the talent-rich 120-pound weight class at the Northwest Regional was to Brashear's eventual state champ Godwin Nyama, 6-2.
126 pounds: T.J. Brandt, Altoona: What a knockout combination Brandt and Hollingshead were this season. Brandt pinned his way to his third District 6 title, becoming the first Altoona three-timer since Johnny Orr in 1980, and captured his first Northwest Regional title with a 5-4 win over McDowell's Nick Gibson.
The three-time state qualifier finished his junior season with a 30-5 record and 17 pins as he was moved from 126 to 138 to get the best competition. A Mirror first-teamer as a freshman and second-teamer as a sophomore, Brandt has a career record of 94-15.
132 pounds: James Dodson, Claysburg-Kimmel: Dodson returns to the first team after becoming the last area wrestler to have an undefeated record (37-0) going into the state tournament, where he was hampered by an injury. The senior won his second District 6 title and his first Southwest Regional gold medal.
He finished with 21 pins, which was second on the team to Ty Dively's 22. Dodson finished with a career record of 141-29, tying him with Jarrett Musselman for second on the win list behind Dively, and he had 70 pins.
138 pounds: Ty Dively, Claysburg-Kimmel: A two-time first-teamer and two-time second-teamer, Dively returns to the first team for the first time since his freshman year. Dively went 40-4 with a team-leading 22 pins. His quest for his first District 6 title after three silver medals was ended by Bellwood-Antis' Trevor Helsley in the semifinals of a deep 138-pound weight class, and he finished fourth.
But, two weeks later, he won his first Southwest Regional title, beating Penn Cambria's district champ Nick Szala, 4-1, in the semis and Blairsville's Noah Tarr, 2-1, in the finals. His followed up his fourth-place medal with a fifth-place finish in his fourth state tournament. He is the school's career record holder for wins with a 146-28 mark and pins with 83.
145 pounds: Logan Walstrom, Philipsburg-Osceola: Finishing with a 41-5 record and seven major decisions, Walstrom led the area in wins and tied Ridge's Derrick Claar for most majors.
The senior finished second at the District 6 Class AAA Tournament for the third time, losing to Bellefonte's Leo Wortman, 3-1, in the finals, but he qualified for the state tournament for a second time with a third-place finish at the Northwest Regional. Walstrom finished with a 112-40 career record, ranking second on the school's career win list behind Nate Rupp's 117.
152 pounds: Jared Smith, Philipsburg-Osceola: After going 21-10 as a junior, Smith broke out for a strong senior season, going 34-8 with 18 pins. He finished fourth in the District 6 Class AAA Tournament to qualify for regionals.
170 pounds: Tyler Dibert, Chestnut Ridge: A first-teamer as a freshman and second-team last season, Dibert returns to the first team after going 36-8 with 20 pins as a junior, winning his third District 5 title with an 11-3 win over Bedford's Cody Yingling and placing fourth at the Southwest Regional to make states for the second straight season. He's had eight losses all three years and has a career record of 96-24.
182 pounds: Laret Miller, Hollidaysburg: Miller made steady improvement over his career, going 9-18 as a sophomore to 25-15 as a junior to 27-5 with 17 pins as a senior. Recognized for the first time on any of the three all-star teams, he earned some big wins during the regular season and finished second at the District 6 Tournament.
195 pounds: James Stodart, Moshannon Valley: An honorable mention selection last year as a sophomore, Stodart was the anchor of the Black Knights' tough upperweights. He won his first District 6 Class AA title and finished third at the Southwest Regional to qualify for his first state tournament, where he went 1-2 and was a win away from making the medal round. Stodart went 40-3, sharing second in the area in wins with Dively, and had 22 pins.
220 pounds: Jacob Krupa, Bedford: A second-teamer his first two years, Krupa makes the first team after finishing with a 34-13 record and 19 pins. He finished second at the District 5 Tournament, took fourth at the Southwest Regional and was a 4-2 overtime loss to Palmerton's Kane Kralik away from reaching the medal round in Hershey. Krupa was 87-34 in his three years as a starter.
285 pounds: Quinton Hixson, Northern Bedford: Hixson returns to the first team after winning his third District 5 title and placing third at the Southwest Regional, where he captured his 100th win in the third-place finals by avenging an earlier loss to Valley's Kyre Strickland, 12-3. He placed fourth in Hershey, following up on last year's seventh place, and he showed he has a little lightweight in him by using a funk roll in one of his wins.
Hixson, an Associated Press all-state defensive tackle who will have to choose between football and wrestling when he makes his college choice, was 35-4 with 19 pins this season and 104-32 and 66 falls in his career.