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Ridgway wrestling continued its strong march through the season with a 43-17 dual win over Punxsutawney Thursday night at Ridgway Area High School.
Ridgway's middle and upper weight wrestlers continued to pick up winning results, the Elkers won every match from the 145-pound weight class until the 285-pound weight class.
"Just a total team effort, I'm really pleased with what we had," Ridgway coach Gary Gerber said. We had some big matches. They've (the middle and upper-weight wrestlers) been coming on strong, they've been the solid point of our team all season. They've been doing really well.
The dual opened at 170 pounds as Jake Himes picked up an 8-3 decision over Carl Langley. Himes opened the first period with a takedown and then added a set of two back points with 30 seconds left to take a 4-0 lead. Langley was able to reverse Himes with 10 seconds left in the opening two minutes to halve the margin at 4-2. Langley was in the down position to start the second period and escaped with 43 seconds left to make the margin 4-3. Himes hit a 4-point move with a takedown and two back points to take an 8-3 lead. That score would prove to be the final as Himes took an 8-3 decision in the dual opener.
Kyle Caggiano pinned Ryan Marshall in the 182-pound weight class in a time of 1:36 as Ridgway took a 9-0 lead.
Seth Stahl added a pin for Ridgway at 195 as he stuck Josh Neal to the mat in a time of 3:37.
"Seth Stahl was pinned by that kid last year," Gerber said. "That's a big win for Seth."
Chad Quail picked up the Elkers' third pin in a row as he downed Tyler Titus in a time of 4:31 in the 220-pound bout.
Chris Woods won via forfeit for Ridgway at 285 pounds.
In the latter stages of the dual, Zac McKnight picked up an 18-7 major decision over Punxsutawney freshman Perry Arrington in the 145-pound bout. A turning point of the bout came when McKnight held a slim 4-3 lead in the second period. McKnight hit Arrington with a 5-point move, a takedown and three back points, as McKnight was able to build on a cushion en route to the four team points.
"Zac McKnight did a good job for us," Gerber said. "That kid's a really talented freshman that they have."
Steve Mitchell won a 14-1 major decision over Caesar Maruca at 152 pounds. Mitchell led 9-1 after the first and second period, then had a long 3-point near fall in the third period as he was close to getting a pin but was able to secure four team points for Ridgway. Gerber said Mitchell wrestled a strong match even though Mitchell was not "feeling 100 percent."
Slade Horner handed Seth Spack an 11-7 setback in the dual's final bout at 160 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Spack was in the down position to start the second period and escaped to take the lead. Horner then hit a takedown and a set of two back points for a 4-1 lead. After a Spack escape, Horner added a takedown and another two back points to lead 8-2. At 9-4, Spack was able to flip Horner around on his back and nearly pinned the Ridgway senior but Horner was able to get back on his stomach and avoid the pin, giving up three back points in the process and still holding a 9-7 lead. A Horner reversal with 37 seconds left gave him some breathing room as he took the decision, 11-7.
"Slade Horner was phenomenal in that match," Gerber said. "That kid's a lot bigger than Slade but we put Slade up to get a good match for him and he wrestled tremendous for us."
Andy Bullers of Punxsutawney won by forfeit for the Chucks at 106 pounds. After there was no match at 113 pounds, Joel Bowers scored a technical fall over Cody Stahl of Ridgway, 17-1 in a time of 3:46 in the 120-pound bout.
Corey Bush answered for Ridgway in the 126-pound match with a technical fall of his own, 19-4, in a time of 1:48 over Devan Snyder.
Josh Schuckers won an 8-5 decision for the Chucks over Brett Himes in the 132-pound bout. Schuckers was up 7-1 after the first period but Himes was able to make a rally and was within three at 8-5. Near the end of the third period, Himes was close to earning back points at the edge of the mat against the Punxsutawney sophomore but could not turn him enough.
Neko Cappella won a close 3-1 decision over Ridgway's Dakota Dahler at 138 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Cappella was able to escape in the early stages of the second period to take a 1-0 advantage. Cappella took down Dahler with six seconds left in the period to up the margin to 3-0.
Dahler was able to earn an escape in the third period to pull within a takedown of a tie. Dahler and Cappella locked up in the neutral position for the majority of the third period but Dahler was unable to score the equalizing takedown in the late stages of the third period.
"Dakota Dahler did a tremendous job against one of their better wrestlers and it's only his fourth match back," Gerber said. "He's going to get stronger and better as the year goes. We get him 100 percent, we'll be in good shape. I'm real pleased with what I saw."
Ridgway (11-1 dual record) is at Curwensville next Thursday for a dual meet. Ridgway then will be at the Clearfield Duals on Saturday, Jan. 21.
"There are a lot of big teams down there, a lot of AAA schools that will be tough," Gerber said. "We need the competition to see what we can do."