The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 9, 2014

PIAA wrestling notebook: Murin not pleased with fifth place



Reaching new Heights: Cambria Heights had a pair of state medalists on Saturday, something the Highlanders had not done in more than a decade.

Aaron Gill placed fourth at 285 pounds after a 7-1 loss to Burrell’s Allan Beattie and Levi Niebauer was sixth at 160 after falling 3-0 to Benton’s Jeric Kasunic.

Mike Fowler and Joe Strittmatter each placed in the 2002 tournament while Jody Strittmatter and Rusty Bollinger each did in 1996.

“It’s awesome,” said coach Mike Eckenrode, who also had 126-pounder Joe Davis in the tournament, though he did not place. “The heartbreaker is, we could have had three. But we’ll take two.”


Making history, Part II: Another District 5 drought ended on Saturday, as Meyersdale’s Gavin Berkley brought his school its first medal in 25 years. The 182-pounder finished sixth after a 6-3 loss to Valley’s Terrell Fields.

The Red Raiders had not had a state placewinner since Michael Warnick won gold in 1989.

Brothers Michael and David Warnick each won three PIAA medals – with David claiming two titles – but Jeff Beal was the school’s only other placewinner until Saturday.

“It’s unreal to be in the category of people like the Warnicks and the Beals,” Berkley said. “I grew up looking up to those guys, Michael and David. To be in the same category as them, it’s just an honor to me. It’s a testament to hard work and will. If you put in the time, you can be where you want to be.”



Oliver twist: United’s Tyler Oliver placed seventh at 195 pounds, as he beat Panther Valley’s Mike Nase in his final bout. Oliver finished his junior season with a 33-6 mark.

He went 3-2 in the state tournament and was able to avenge his loss to James Bennett in the Southwest Regional finals by beating the HOPE for Hyndman wrestler on Friday.

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