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Banner season for King of the ring wrestling tournament



MILL HALL – It was a banner weekend for the area wrestling teams at the King of the Mountain Tournament.


The local contingent produced four champions and 23 medal winners at the prestigious in-season event that featured five returning state champs and 123 state qualifiers from last season.


Bringing home KOM titles were Mifflin County’s Nic Allison (106) and Trey Kibe (170), Bald Eagle Area’s Gage McClenahan (145) and Bellefonte’s Ethan Richner (160).


Coming up short in the finals were State College’s Hayden Cunningham (106) and Lance Urbas (170), Bellefonte’s Ethan Rossman (182) and Mifflin County’s Blaine Davis (285).


Allison (8-0) defeated Cunningham 7-2 in the finals. Cunningham, the son of Penn State assistant coach Casey Cunningham, shot in early in the first but Allison countered and slapped on a cradle for a five-point move.


The Husky sophomore chose down to start the second period and hit a reversal for the 7-0 lead. Cunningham had a reversal in the third to account for all the scoring.


Kibe (8-0) won his second title and first at 170 with a dominant performance in the tournament. The Husky junior out-scored his five opponents by a combined 40-4 and had three of his five wins coming by pin.


In the finals, Kibe showcased his strength and patience, scoring late takedowns in the first and second periods for the 5-0 victory over Urbas. Kibe got his first deuce with 19 seconds to go in the first period. He escaped and got his second takedown with 29 seconds left in the second.


McClenahan, back from a devastating knee injury a year ago, won a hard-fought 4-3 battle with Kenny Kiser of Saegertown in the finals. The Eagle senior, heading to Cornell, caught Kiser with a four-point move in the first and held on for the victory. Kiser had an escape and takedown in the third to close the gap.


Richner, a state placer a year ago, continues to get better. He dominated Connor Quinn of Owen J. Roberts 8-3 in their finals match at 160. The Red Raider junior rallied from a 2-1 first-period deficit with a seven-point second for the victory. Richner reversed Quinn to his back for a five-point move in the decisive period.


Rossman ran into state champ Gerrit Nijenhuis of Canon-McMillan and lost by fall in 1:43. Nijenhuis went 5-0 with five pins to earn the Outstanding Wrestler Award.


Davis ran into a buzz saw in the finals against Brookville’s Colby Whitehill, the PIAA Class 2A champion last season. Whitehill scored the opening takedown, turned Davis to his back and recorded the fall in 54 seconds.


Mifflin County also received a fifth from Haydn Crum (220), sixth-place finishes from Anson Wagner (152) and Jacob Krepps (195), while Kyler Everly (138) and Trey Shoemaker (160) took seventh and Hunter Johnson (113) placed eighth.


Bellefonte had a third from Jude Swisher (126), a fourth from Lane Aikey (120), a fifth from Alex Coppolo (132) and a sixth from Aidan O’Shea (106).


The Little Lions collected a fourth from Owen Woolcott (132), a sixth from Eric Weaver (120) and an eighth from Harrison Hoopes (152).


BEA had two other place winners in Coen Bainey, seventh at 106 and Cooper Gilham, eighth at 120.


The Huskies had a record nine place winners and scored 181 points, good enough for second place behind Canon-McMillan’s 189. The second-place finish is tops in program history. Bellefonte placed fourth with 129 points, State College came in ninth with 104 and BEA had 69 points, good enough for 21st place in the 32-team field.



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