Altoona's T.J. Brandt rolled his ankle Tuesday night in practice, and thoughts of not going for his fourth District 6 Class AAA Tournament title or being able to wrestle in the postseason entered his thoughts.
"I was [worried] Tuesday," Brandt said laughing, "but I was working with Dan McCallister at Drayer, and he helped me out a lot."
As it turned out, there was no need to worry for at least one night about his ankle because he wasn't on the mat for very long Friday night at the Altoona Fieldhouse in his 138-pound quarterfinal bout against Hollidaysburg's Luciano Toscano.
Mirror photo by Gary M.?Baranec
Altoona’s Kyler Bender (bottom) tries to escape the control of Philipsburg-Osceola’s Scott Yarger at 145 pounds.
Brandt (24-3) hit a quick ankle pick, slipped in a half nelson, put Toscano on his back and pinned him in 7 seconds.
"I felt [the pinning combination]," said Brandt, who faces Mifflin County's Kevin Bair (12-11) in the semis. "I was just out there wrestling. I hit it, and the opportunity presented itself."
Brandt will be joined by teammates D.J. Hollingshead (132), Markief Knode (160), Trent Kephart (182), Mante Barnes (195) and Austin Rosenberry (285) in the semifinals, which will be wrestled along with a round of consolations at 11 a.m.
"Kind of mixed emotions is the best way to describe it," Altoona coach Joel Gilbert said. "Some of our guys went out and did the job and got it done quickly. We had four guys who got it done pretty quickly, and we had two guys who took the hard road to go. We're going to have to wrestle a lot better tomorrow to achieve our goal of getting those guys into the finals."
P-O will also have six in the semifinals in second-seeded Brian Evans (126), Caleb Shively (138), Scott Yarger (145), second-seeded Jay Prentice (170), Dennis Lumadue (182) and Nick Gray (220).
"We didn't wrestle well in a lot of matches," P-O coach Tim McCamley said. "There just didn't seem like there was a lot of enthusiasm, and just not out of my guys. We just need a little more fire. We lost two matches [Bryan Descavish at 120 and Dallas Kephart at 132] by one point, and those are two we expected to get through."
Hollidaysburg pushed four through in top-seeded Damian Huff (106), Calob Walls (152), Tevin Pulcine (195) and second-seeded Matt Barton (285). The Golden Tigers could have had another, but sixth-seeded Jacob Wolk dropped a 3-2 decision to BEA's Mitchell Taylor at 160. The deciding point was a penalty point for interlocking.
"We took a bad call in the 160-pound match," Hollidaysburg coach Mike Moore said. "That was a pretty important match. I didn't see the locking hands. I looked at the video, and I didn't see it on the video either. Other than that, I thought our kids wrestled hard. We'll keep plugging away tomorrow."
Mifflin County leads the team race by seven points, 68-61, over Central Mountain. The Huskies have 11 semifinalists, and the Wildcats have nine. Bellefonte (48.5), Bald Eagle Area (47), Altoona (43.5), P-O (40) and Hollidaysburg (29) follow in the top seven of the nine-team tournament. Only one round was wrestled Friday night because of multiple scratches in the preliminary round.
The top-seeded Hollingshead (29-3) needed only 1:09 to put away Johnstown's Rodney Hall and earn a semifinal matchup with Bald Eagle Area's Clint McCaslin, who beat Kephart, 6-5.
The second-seeded Knode (21-8) went the distance in a 5-1 win over Mifflin County's Darion Pierce. Knode faces BEA's Mitchell Taylor (12-11) in the semis.
"I would have liked to have seen him score a few more points out there," Gilbert said, "but it was a victory."
The second-seeded Barnes (24-5) rolled to a 16-0 technical fall over Bellefonte freshman Tim Benford in 2:00. He'll face Mifflin County's Drew Hannon (1-3), whose pin of Central Mountain's Loc Long was his first win of the season.
Prentice got a scare in the quarters when Mifflin County's seventh-seeded Keith Corson (5-15) took him down to his back in the second period, but the Mountie senior fought back to win, 8-7.
"He was doing everything he could offensively," McCamley said, "and he tried to finish up above, and he got cemented. He learned a lesson, and you only have to win by one."
The second-seeded Evans and Shively rolled with a pin and a major decision, respectively.
The story of the night for P-O was arguably Yarger (4-4), an off-and-on starter who moved up from 132 to 145 when Andrew Greenawalt was lose due to a knee injury. Underweight, the fifth-seeded Yarger beat Altoona's Kyler Bender, 12-5, to earn a semifinal berth against Mifflin County's top-seeded Brandon Wilson (18-5).
"He called me from the motel and said 'I have to gain some weight. I'm too far under,'" McCamley said. "He weighed 133 1/2 pounds, and that was this afternoon at about 2.
"So, I said 'Okay, let's head for the Burger King.' So, he ended up eating about 2 pounds of food just to be heavy enough to wrestle 145. He's really giving up a lot of size, and he said 'Those guys are really strong.' He's got a lot of heart, and that's the kind of kid you're looking for."
Huff (19-2) advanced by building a 16-3 lead on Central Mountain's Ryan Moore, tilting him three times, before slipping in a half and pinning him in 2:46. Huff will face Bald Eagle Area's Coby Bainey (14-11) in the semifinals.
Barton pinned Johnstown's Noah Eckenrode in 19 seconds, and he'll face Rosenberry, a 7-2 winner over Central Mountain's Bryce Hanley, in the semis.
Pulcine, who entered with a 4-10 record, reached the semis with a pin of State College's Joaquin Alavarez in 3:43. Pulcine will have a tougher task today against BEA's top-seeded Aaron Varner (24-3).
"He's come a long way during the course of the season," Moore said. "He's only wrestled for a year, and he's doing some really nice things out there for being a first-year wrestler. We're excited about him."
Notes: The third and fifth-place consolation finals are scheduled for 5 p.m., and the championship finals will follow at 7. ... Only two mats were used Friday, but three will be used today. ... The top four qualify for the Northwest Regional.
CLASS AAA TOURNAMENT
KEY, TEAM STANDINGS
1. MC-Mifflin County 68; 2. CM-Central Mountain 61; 3. B-Bellefonte 48.5; 4. BEA-Bald Eagle Area 47; 5. A-Altoona 43.5; 6. PO-Philipsburg-Osceola 40; 7. H-Hollidaysburg 29; 8. SC-State College 23; 9. J-Johnstown 0.
106-Huff, H, pinned Moore, CM, 2:46; Bainey, BEA, pinned Catral, SC, 5:00; Wilson, MC, pinned Bryan, A, 2:57; Leathers, B, pinned Quick, PO, :41; 113-Witherite, B, maj. dec. Bowser, H, 9-0; Bottorf, CM, pinnedd Barnhart, PO, 1:34; Hidlay, MC, pinned Querry, A, :44; 120-Andrus, CM, des. Descavish, PO, 8-7; Sills, SC, pinned Kachik, BEA, 1:42; Underhill, MC, pinned Kociola, H, 2:26; 126-Hanley, CM, dec. Myers, SC, 4-3; Rosenberger, B, tech. fall Hagg, H, 17-2, 5:13; Evans, PO, pinned Stine, BEA, 1:06; 132-Hollingshead, A, pinned Hall, J, 1:09; McCaslin, BEA, dec. Kephart, PO, 6-5; Watt, CM, pinned Co. Walls, H, :33; Besch, MC, maj. dec. Musser, B, 12-2; 138-Brandt, A, pinned Toscano, H, :07; Bair, MC, pinned Holden, SC, 3:36; Powers, BEA, pinned Knepp, CM, :27; Shively, PO, maj. dec. Ault, B, :45; 145-Yarger, PO, dec. Bender, A, 12-5; Kephart, B, dec. Masorti, CM, 7-2.
152-Reese, CM, pinned N. Scheinberg, A, 1:43; Cable, B, pinned Haun, SC, 4:23; Ca. Walls, H, dec. White, J, 6-1; Knarr, MC, pinned Guy, PO, 3;11; 160-Caprio, CM, pinned Shuey, PO, :43; Stover, SC, pinned Wilson, J, 4:46; M. Taylor, BEA, dec. Wolk, H, 3-2; Knode, A, dec. Pierce, MC, 5-1; 170-Shawley, B, pinned Dillen, A, 1:07; Verbitsky, BEA, pinned Bilofsky, H, 4:53; Stacey, CM, pinned Piscatello, J, ;33; Prentice, PO, dec. Corson, MC, 8-7; 182-J. Taylor, BEA, pinned Servello, H, :09; Kephart, A, pinned Litvin, J, :54; Lumadue, PO, pinned Cain, B, :43; Buckwalter, CM, pinned Vendervort, SC, :47; 195-Pulcine, H, pinned Alvarez, SC, 3:43; Hannon, MC, pinned Long, CM, 1:29; Barnes, A, tech. fall Benford, B, 16-0, 2:00; 220-Gray, PO, pinned J. Scheinberg, A, 3:41; Kahley, MC, pinned Putnam, B, :34; Porter, CM, pinned Forrer-Levin, :16; 285-Poorman, B, pinned Kuzmierz-Mobley, SC, 1:25; Rhodes, MC, pinned Gawryla, BEA, 5:10; Rosenberry, A, dec. Hanley, CM, 7-2; Barton, H, pinned Eckenrode, J, :19.