The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

February 6, 2013

Chestnut Ridge trying for AA crown

JOHNSTOWN — Greg Lazor had to cancel a dental appointment to take his Chestnut Ridge team to the PIAA Dual-Meet Class AA Championships, which begin in Hershey today.

He’s hoping that the trip to the Giant Center will be a lot less painful.

Chestnut Ridge, which is

20-1 and No. 2 in Off the Mat rankings, will face No. 16 Benton at 4 this afternoon.

The District 4 runner-up Tigers (15-5) are led by Zain Retherford, who is ranked No. 1 at 138 pounds; Matt Welliver (120) and Colt Cotten (145), both of whom are ranked second in their respective weight classes; and Jeric Kasunic, who is fifth at 152 pounds.

The Lions counter with a very deep lineup that includes

20-match winners Austin Buttry (27-1), Tyler Dibert (26-3), Trent Crouse (26-4), Derrick Claar (26-6), Dan Albright

(25-2), Brad Winegardner

(25-3), Bradie Bollman (23-4) and Aaron Burkett (21-5).

“They’ve got some of the best studs in the state,” Lazor said of Benton, which is coached by former Penn State All-American Russ Hughes.

“There’s no doubt about that. But we have some spots where we match up well and we need to get bonus points because they’re going to get some bonus points.”

Chestnut Ridge, which won its first District 5 dual-meet title on Saturday, now faces the pressure of wrestling on the state’s biggest stage.

“Hopefully it’s exciting,” Lazor said. “We will try to control the nerves. We can battle with everyone they’ll see there. They just can’t try to do too much.

“They need to keep doing what they have been doing all year. “The worry is that they feel that they need to do something spectacular.”

Chestnut Ridge’s lineup will have a bit of a different look as Bradie Bollman is planning to drop to 160 pounds after spending most of the season at 170, but Bollman’s weight plan won’t allow him to reach the weight class until Friday.

The Lions are guaranteed to still be in the competition on Friday, but Lazor is hoping that his squad can avoid the 6:30 a.m. weigh-in for the consolation round.

“That should be motivation enough,” he said.

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