The Port Allegany wrestling team headed to the District 9 Class AA Team Championships in Dubois on Saturday morning hoping to dethrone Brookville and earn its first ticket to the state tournament in more than a decade.
The Gators made a return trip to the title match, but at the end of the day’s action, it was the Raiders celebrating their seventh consecutive D-9 crown with a 39-33 victory. Later in the day, Williamsport rallied to edge Clearfield in the District 4/9 Class AAA bracket.
Third-seeded Port downed Redbank Valley in the semifinals for the second straight year, putting together a six-match win streak from 106 pounds through 138 to wrap up the 36-22 win over the No. 2 Bulldogs, while top-seeded Brookville outlasted No. 4 Johnsonburg 40-30 on the other mat.
“I kind of figured it could either be really close or one-sided, just the way a lot of the matchups went. Probably our lowest-scoring match of the year,” Greenman said. “I think it’s a testament to (the fact that) they have a good team and we have a good team. Today, our kids just wrestled well. A lot of the swing matches went our way, and that’s what turned the match.”
Taro Tanaka and Isaak Baumgarner each earned solid decisions to give Port the early lead in two of those ‘swing matches’, each using a reversal and near-fall to come away with the victory.
“We started out with two big wins right away. As soon as we won those, I figured we were good,” Greenman said.
The next two bouts went RV’s way, but Dalton Distrola and Derek Kallenborn wrestled well enough to keep the state-ranked duo of Hudson Martz and Aiden Gardner from scoring any bonus points, and Justin Young gutted out a win in just his third appearance since injuring his knee in December. Another state-ranked Bulldog, Kobe Bonanno, got the pin at heavyweight to put RV up 12-9, but the lead would be short-lived.
Chase Weimer tied the match with a decision over Cole Bish in a matchup of state-ranked 106-pounders, and the Gators added another six points when Redbank chose to forfeit to Bryent Johnson, the fifth-ranked 113-pounder in the state, bumping Ridge Cook up to 120 to face Scott Fuller. The move backfired when Fuller crafted a solid 6-1 win, scoring the only two takedowns of the match and adding a reversal.
Braedon Johnson notched a pin at 126 to add to the lead, Isaiah Caden followed with a win at 132, and RV forfeited to Eli Petruzzi to lock up the team win with two weights remaining.
“Chase has a dominant match, and then we won the toss, forcing them to send Trenten Rupp out against Braedon. I’ll take Braedon any day on that,” Greenman said of the state-ranked Smethport junior.
The win set up another rematch in the final, with Port hoping for a reversal of last year’s 45-21 loss. Baumgarner gave the Gators the early lead with a second-period pin at 170 pounds, but Brookville swept the next seven bouts — scoring either pins or major decisions in six of them — to build a 33-6 cushion before Port could respond.
Braedon Johnson (126) and Petruzzi (138) stemmed the tide with first-period pins, sandwiched around a forfeit win for Caden. Montgomery Tanner used a final-period reversal to eke out a tough 6-5 decision at 145, and suddenly the Gators were back within striking distance at 33-27, although still needing to win the last two bouts to pull the upset.
“That’s all we can really ask for. Coming down to the end, Monkey getting us that win keeps us in that match. That’s what we needed to happen, and he was able to do that,” Greenman said.
Speaking of Tanner and fellow senior Petruzzi, who moved into eighth place on the PAHS all-time pins list with his 44th career stick, he added, “The biggest thing is, both those kids have the ‘It’s my senior year and I’m going to let it all fly’ attitude. It’s boded well for both of them; Monkey’s having a great year and Eli’s having an outstanding year.”
The Raiders’ Wyatt Kulik, who ended the Johnsonburg match with a pin to send Brookville into the finals, repeated the feat against the Gators to secure his team’s seventh consecutive dual-meet title.
“We gave up bonus points in seven matches. That’s the difference in the match. Frustrating, just because that’s just a ‘will’ type of thing, and we missed out on that. I think our kids are still a little gun shy when it gets onto a big stage. A couple of our guys are getting past that, but the team as a whole, we’re not there yet,” Greenman said. “Hopefully we can get there for the postseason. And we have most of the kids back next year, so hopefully we can capitalize on that and do better next year.”
Earlier in the week, the Gators got pins from Tanner, Tanaka and Baumgarner and took advantage of nine forfeits to cruise past visiting Cameron County, 72-10.
“Taro Tanaka and Isaiah Caden are both doing really well this year. Really easy to count on,” Greenman said. “When they go out there and wrestle, they have the right mindset to do well, and they’re really consistent. That’s been a really nice thing for us to have, that consistency from guys who aren’t seniors and for guys you might not have expected coming into the season.”
Coming into this week, Port (11-3, 5-0 AML) had three matches remaining on the regular-season schedule, hosting Ridgway in a non-league contest on Feb. 3, traveling to unbeaten Kane on Feb. 6, and wrapping up its league slate against Oswayo Valley on Feb. 11. The Gators and Wolves are both perfect in the AML, although Kane has wrestled one fewer league match.
“It should be a good match. I’d rather have a district title than an AML title, but we’ll take what we can get at this point,” Greenman said. “District runner-ups is a good thing to have. We’ll go try to be AML champs, and then go and win individual districts.”
At Port Allegany,
Port Allegany 72,
Cameron County 10
106: Chase Weimer (PA) forfeit; 113: Bryent Johnson (PA) forfeit; 120: Dayton Sherwood (PA) forfeit; 126: Braedon Johnson (PA) forfeit; 132: Ian Dynda (PA) forfeit; 138: Eli Petruzzi (PA) forfeit; 145: Montgomery Tanner (PA) 3:10 Eyan Smith; 152: Taro Tanaka (PA) 3:03 Luiz Patricio; 160: Wendell O‘Brien (CC) 10-0 Ethan DeBockler; 170: Isaak Baumgarner (PAH) 1:08 Dein Snyder; 182: Dalton Distrola (PA) forfeit; 195: Derek Kallenborn (PA) forfeit; 220: Justin Young (PA) forfeit; 285: Timothy Hasselman (CC) 3:10 Owen Roboski.
District 9 Class AA Team Championships
At Dubois, Feb. 2:
Semifinal: Port Allegany 36, Redbank Valley 22
160: Taro Tanaka (PA) 7-0 Noah Anderson; 170: Isaak Baumgarner (PA) 7-2 Coltin Bartley; 182: Hudson Martz (RV) 8-6 Dalton Distrola; 195: Aiden Gardner (RV) 5-2 Derek Kallenborn; 220: Justin Young (PA) 5-2 Ray Schreckengost; 285: Kobe Bonanno (RV) 1:00 Owen Roboski; 106: Chase Weimer (PA) 7-0 Cole Bish; 113: Bryent Johnson (PA) forfeit; 120: Scott Fuller (PA) 6-1 Ridge Cook; 126: Braedon Johnson (PA) 5:27 Trenten Rupp; 132: Isaiah Caden (PA) 6-1 Dalton Bish; 138: Eli Petruzzi (PA) forfeit; 145: Ethan Wiant (RV) 10-0 Montgomery Tanner; 152: Gage Snyder (RV) forfeit.
Final: Brookville 39, Port Allegany 33
170: Isaak Baumgarner (PA) 3:42 Hayden Kramer; 182: Elliot Park (B) 10-1 Dalton Distrola; 195: Cole LaBenne (B) 12-3 Derek Kallenborn; 220: Nathan Taylor (B) 3:03 Justin Young; 285: Colby Whitehill (B) 0:23 Owen Roboski; 106: Cayden Walter (B) 1:37 Chase Weimer; 113: Owen Reinsel (B) 10-0 Bryent Johnson; 120: Brayden Kunselman (B) 6-1 Scott Fuller; 126: Braedon Johnson (PA) 1:12 Josh Popson; 132: Isaiah Caden (PA) forfeit; 138: Eli Petruzzi (PA) 1:55 Coyha Brown; 145: Montgomery Tanner (PA) 6-5 Parker Fleming; 152: Wyatt Kulik (B) 1:38 Ethan DeBockler; 160: Taro Tanaka (PA) forfeit.