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Three local Centre County matmen clinch AA titles

Photo of Gage McCelenahan
By BRIAN CARSON

HERSHEY – Three Centre County wrestlers climbed the top of the mountain bringing home gold at the PIAA Class 2A tournament on Saturday at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Gage McClenahan bounced back from a devasting knee injury last year to capture the 145-pound title for Bald Eagle Area.

Seniors Caleb Dowling (152) and Tyler Stoltzfus (170) scored the first two PIAA championships in program history leading the Wolves to a fifth-place finish in the team race.

McClenahan (39-2) returned to the finals for a second time and made it count in a tough 1-0 win over Tunkhannock’s Gavin D’Amato. The difference being a second-period escape by the Eagle senior. McClenahan, headed to Cornell, finished his career with a 107-14 record. McClenahan is the first state champion for the Eagles since Jacob Taylor did the trick in 2013.

Dowling, a four-time PIAA place winner and two-time finalist, reached the top of the podium for the first time by beating Burrell’s A.J. Corrado 3-2 in the finals. The win was his second of the season over Corrado.

Dowling (44-4) had a takedown in the first and an escape in the second for the win. The West Virginia recruit finished a stellar career with a 163-20 record.

A second-period escape was all Stotlzfus needed in the 1-0 win over Saucon Valley’s Matt Arciuolo in the 170-pound finals. Arcioulo, fearing the riding ability of Stoltzfus, chose neutral in period three and couldn’t break through the Stoltzfus defense. The Lock Haven commit ends his high school career with a 165-26 record and three PIAA medals.

Penns Valley junior Malachi Duvall (38-6) improved upon his seventh-place finish in 2019 with a 4-0 win over Wesley Barnes of Southern Columbia for third place at 152. Teammate Andrew Sharer (24-5), a senior, came in fourth at 182, dropping a 12-9 decision to Saucon Valley’s Dane Csenscits for third. Sharer closed out his high school career with a 66-18 record.

Zack Witmer (37-7) brought home his third PIAA medal with a fifth at 138. The St. Joe’s junior majored Zach Holland of Curwensville 8-0. At 160, senior Keegan Rothrock won the fourth medal for the Wolves taking a sixth. The Brown commit fell to Benton’s Nolan Lear by a 6-5 score. Rothrock ended his career with a 129-41 mark.

Philipsburg-Osceola qualified three for states with all three earning a place on the podium. Junior Parker Moore (195) finished sixth, while senior Chase Chapman (138) and junior Hunter Weitoish (160) came in eighth.

Moore (36-9) showed why hard work pays off in the sport of wrestling. The youngster was 9-16 last year and wrestled all through the offense. Now, he is one of the top eight in the state in his weight class. Moore fell 11-2 to Nick Vantassel of Union City in the medal match.

Chapman (32-15) dropped a 10-7 decision to Biglerville’s Blake Showers. The Mountie ends his career at 107-46. Weitoish (33-9) earned his first medal in two trips to Hershey. The P-O junior lost 4-1 to Montoursville’s Isaac Corry.

St. Joe’s Amonn Ohl (132), Penns Valley’s Clayton Royer (138) and BEAs Coen Bainey (106), Cooper Gilham (120) and David Close (220) made it to states but failed to place.

Class AAA

Bellefonte had two grapplers place in the top eight to earn a trip on the podium at the PIAA Class 3A championships on Saturday.

Sophomore Jude Swisher, a state qualifier last year for State College, finished fourth at 126 after falling by a 6-2 score to Luke Lucerne of Council Rock North. The Red Raider was 40-5 on the season and is now 67-14 in two years.

Lane Aikey landed on the medal stand in his second trip to states with a seventh at 120 pounds. The Red Raider junior beat Connellsville’s Jace Ross 9-2 to finish the season at 23-5. He is 60-15 in his career.

Not as fortunate was junior Ethan Richner at 160. A sixth-place finisher in 2019, Richner was upset by Connor Quinn of Owen J. Roberts in the blood run and eliminated.

Sophomore Aidan O’Shea (113), junior Ethan Rossman (182) and senior Tyler Benner (182) advanced to states for Bellefonte but failed to place.

State College qualified four for states in freshman Hayden Cunningham (106), juniors Owen Woolcott (138) and Lance Urbas (170), and senior Clayton Leidy (138). All four were eliminated.

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