The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

April 6, 2014

Showdown draws top talent to mat

JOHNSTOWN — The Flood City Showdown heads into its second decade of existence with what is arguably the strongest lineup it has ever had.

The all-star wrestling match, which will be held at 3:05 this afternoon at Westmont Hilltop High School, features eight wrestlers with at least 100 career victories and five state placewinners – including Bedford’s Ryan Easter, who is believed to be the first four-time PIAA placewinner to compete in the event.

But, organizer Matt Beaujon says that isn’t all the event has going for it this year.

“It’s a really good field from top to bottom,” said Beaujon, who is Westmont Hilltop’s coach. “Not only are the guys with 100 wins really good, but there are guys in there that don’t have 100 wins that have some great credentials. It’s a good lineup.”

Nine bouts are scheduled for event, which is billed as a dual meet between a squad made of seniors from the Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference and one featuring seniors from WestPAC and Heritage Conference schools. But the dual-meet format is sometimes sacrificed in order to get better individual matchups, with non-scoring matches included in the event.

And, when necessary, Beaujon will even go outside of the conferences to Chestnut Ridge, just as he did for heavyweight Austin Buttry. The 2013 placewinner and reigning District 5 champion will get a rematch with Cambria Heights’ Aaron Gill. The Highlanders’ 285-pounder won the District 6 title and eliminated Buttry on his way to a fourth-place finish in the Class AA tournament in Hershey.

Easter, who placed seventh at 132 this season after reaching the state finals at 120 a year ago, will face Meyersdale’s Tanner Hetrick in a rematch of the District 5 final, which Easter won 4-2.

By getting creative with the weight classes, Beaujon scheduled some other intriguing bouts, as wrestlers from different weight classes will come together for the first time.

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