NEW PARIS —
It may not have been a surprise that Chestnut Ridge topped Berlin Brothersvalley 39-25 in a clash of District 5 wrestling heavyweights Friday night at Chestnut Ridge High School.
It’s the spark that ignited the Lions’ comfortable victory that may have been a stunner.
In the 170-pound match, the Lions’ Ben Clark – trailing the Mountaineers’ Trevor Moore 9-4 in the second period – quickly escaped a near-fall before reversing Moore and picking up the pin at 3:43.
“That was huge,” Chestnut Ridge coach Greg Lazor said. “Ben Clark’s kind of a newer wrestler for us. He’s been scrapping, battling and getting better every week. For him to come out and get that pin for us, that was obviously huge. It was a great momentum swing for us and a balloon-deflater for them.”
Soon Kyle Winegardner decisioned Shane Pepper 5-0 at 182 then Conner Buttry pinned Toby Cahill at 4:30 in the 195-pound bout.
That quick 15-0 lead set the tone for Chestnut Ridge (8-1) to roll past Berlin Brothersvalley (2-1).
“We’ve been looking forward to this match,” Lazor said. “We knew it was going to be a great battle. They have a heck of a team out there. We knew that there would be battles up and down the lineup, obviously we came out on the good end of those wins and got a few falls through the way. I thought we wrestled really well and I thought we were really aggressive.”
For the Mountaineers, the loss to a regional and state power was a sure way to see where they stood.
“They’re returning district champs,” Berlin Brothersvalley coach Jason Cornell said of Chestnut Ridge. “They’re the returning fourth-place finishers in the state. We have a lot of work to do. They’re the team to beat.”
Stewart Trulick’s 59-second pin of Jonathan Heming at 220 gave the Mountaineers a brief respite from the Lions’ victory onslaught before Austin Buttry (285) and Aaron Burkett (106) pinned Anthony Collins and Kyle Boyce, respectively, to take the Chestnut Ridge lead to 27-6. Austin Buttry finished off Collins at 3:28 while Burkett gained his pin at 1:06.
Thomas DeArmitt’s 9-6 decision over Blake Dunlap at 113 opened a run of back-to-back wins for the Mountaineers. Joey Swank topped Dustin Ickes by a 10-1 major decision to cut into the Lions’ lead. At 126, Chestnut Ridge’s Morgan Deremer outslugged E.J. Custer 7-6 before Sam Shank topped Kane McKenzie 5-2 at 132.
Derrick Claar pinned Storm McDonald at 1:59 in the 138-pound match to push Chestnut Ridge’s lead to 39-13 and out of reach of the guests.
Berlin Brothersvalley won the last three bouts with Braden Fochtman claiming a 3-1 win over Colby Hillegass at 145 starting the late push. Taylor Cahill edged Trent Crouse 6-5 in a battle of District 5 runners-up from a year ago.
Cahill, who placed second in the district at 152 never trailed but never led by more than two points on his way to the narrow win over Crouse – a runner-up at 126 last year. Bryce Fochtman’s second-period pin of Josh McGill (2:53) at 160 set the final.
The dual-meet win continued a run of serious activity for the Lions, which saw them take second at the Dandy Duals on Dec. 23 at Towanda High School before spending last weekend at the POWERade Tournament at Canon McMillan High School.
“We’ve been grinding pretty hard lately,” Lazor said. “We kind of laughed about it last week that we fit Christmas between two tournaments. We’ve been on the road and we’ve been busy, but we’ve been wrestling a lot of good competition.”