Unofficially, Berlin Brothersvalley was the clear-cut winner at Saturday’s WestPAC championship tournament at Portage Area High School.
The Mountaineers took home seven championships in the round-robin event, which pitted grapplers from the conference’s six wrestling schools against each other on the mats.
Individually, it’s hard to argue against Meyersdale’s Gavin Berkley having the best day. Berkley won the 195-pound title and earned his 100th career victory during the fifth round. Berkley tallied three wins on the day with his 9-2 decision over Toby Cahill marking his 100th victory.
After a scoreless first period against Cahill, Berkley quickly worked an escape to grab the lead before rolling to the win.
“He’s a good freshman and he’s got a very bright future,” Berkley said. “We wrestled a couple of days ago and he’s a real tough competitor.”
Berkley’s other two wins came by pinfall with a triumph over Shade’s Phillip Aikey in 1:09 in Round 3 and a pin over North Star’s Kevin Horner in 3:31.
“I got here and I saw that there were three kids in my bracket and that was exactly what I needed,” Berkley said. “I had to come out and wrestle hard in each one of those matches. It’s been a long journey, but I finally got it. It feels good to get it.”
Berkley was one of four champions from Meyersdale. The Red Raiders’ Tanner Hetrick won at 132 with Brady McKenzie taking top billing at 138. Ty Smith claimed first at 220.
The Mountaineers’ seven titles spanned across the field with first-place finishes at 106 (Kyle Boyce), 120 (Thomas DeArmitt), 126 (Joe Swank), 145 (Braden Fochtman), 152 (Taylor Cahill), 160 (Bryce Fochtman) and 285 (Anthony Collins).
“It was a good day,” Berlin Brothersvalley coach Jason Cornell said. “We’re still learning every day and we still have a lot of work to do through the rest of the season. We’re starting to pick up some steam and the guys are starting to wrestle well.”
Dillion Charlton (170) and Hunter Connor (182) took titles for North Star while Conemaugh Township’s Aaron Griffith was the top grappler at 113.
All in all, the day was a chance for the WestPAC’s wrestlers to get more time against live competition with winter breaks looming.
“That’s the reason why we designed the WestPAC tournament,” Cornell said. “To get these guys a couple extra matches. We see all these teams throughout the season. The most important thing is that they’re getting the extra mat time and this is all working toward the postseason. Every little thing, it’s all about the postseason. A couple extra matches can go a long way.”
Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/shawncurtis430.