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Ridgway wrestling won six matches by pinfall and nine overall in a 46-24 victory over St. Marys Thursday night at Ridgway Area High School.
"The kids were very aggressive," Ridgway coach Gary Gerber said. "We're real pleased because we've been under the weather. The kids wrestled hard, there were some real pleasant surprises there."
The match opened at 182 pounds as Kyle Caggiano bumped up to wrestle Joe McLaughlin of St. Marys.
Caggiano scored a quick takedown 30 seconds into the match to take a 2-0 lead, a lead he would take into the second period. With Caggiano starting the second period from the down period, he was able to reverse McLauglin 20 seconds into the second period to up the lead to 4-0. Caggiano scored a set of two back points with 1:05 left in the second period to make the lead 6-0. McLaughlin was able to garner a reversal with 10 seconds left in the period and draw within four points at 6-2. Caggiano scored a pair of back points late in the third period to take the opening bout with an 8-2 decision.
"With what we had, we took a gamble," Gerber said. "We believe in Kyle's talent. He gave away quite a bit of weight but he wrestled hard."
Gerber said the wrestlers being flexible and willing to move up or down in weight classes has been a plus on the team this season.
"What I really like about this entire team is I've asked them to go up two weight classes, drop one (weight class)," Gerber said. "We're not all where we need to be yet but we're getting closer."
St. Marys coach Dominic Surra said he was impressed with how the Elkers wrestled.
"Kudos to Ridgway, I thought they wrestled well, I thought they wrestled real well," Surra said. "A lot of the matches, they were tougher than us. Not necessarily wrestling tougher but physically tougher. We got to bring that to the mat when we wrestle, we got to be tough when we're on the mat wrestling. Some of that is inexperience but you can only call that for so long."
Seth Stahl of Ridgway pinned Derek Taylor of St. Marys in 1:15 in the 195-pound bout and Chad Quail won via pinfall for the Elkers over Gary Fledderman in the 220-pound weight class in a time of 1:23 as Ridgway led 15-0.
Chris Woods faced off with Mike Wolfel in the 285-pound bout. After a scoreless first period, Woods opened the second period with a reversal to take a 2-0 lead. Wolfel returned the favor with a reversal of his own 19 seconds later to square the match at 2-all. Wolfel was called for an interlock to give Woods a 3-2 lead. Woods then hit a takedown and was able to pin Wolfel in a time of 3:10 as Ridgway led 21-0 in the team score after four bouts.
"Our big man, Chris Woods, came through," Gerber said. "He's really coming on. After a number of years, he's getting the rust off and looking really good. He remembered quite a bit from when he did wrestle a number of years ago. We're just trying to polish it up and get him ready. He's coming on strong."
Raymond Dent won by forfeit at 106 pounds for the Dutch. Cody Stahl then pinned Will McGonnel at 113 pounds in a time of 2:52.
Evan Smith won by forfeit at 120 pounds for St. Marys to make the team score 27-12 in favor of Ridgway. Corey Bush pinned Dylan Smith of St. Marys in 1:31 at 126 pounds.
Brett Himes of the Elkers faced off with Alex Coudriet in the 132-pound match. Himes took down Coudriet in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. After an escape in the second period, Himes was able to continue the momentum for a 7-0 decision.
Tyler Yetzer of St. Marys was able to reverse the momentum in St. Marys' direction as he pinned Zac McKnight of Ridgway in 5:47. Yetzer trailed throughout the match and faced a 3-1 deficit from the neutral position with just over a minute left in the bout. Yetzer was able to take down McKnight and work a pinning combination for the pinfall and six team points to make the margin 36-18. Surra said Yetzer is someone who is good at wrestling a complete 6-minute match.
"He's a scrapper as I like to say," Surra said. "He just wrestled for six minutes and it ended up being the difference in the match."
In the 145-pound bout, Steve Mitchell of Ridgway took on Sam Miller of St. Marys. Mitchell led through the early portion of the match and had a 4-1 advantage entering the third period. Miller was able to escape from the down position with around 1:22 left in the period and then took down Mitchell with 57 seconds left. Miller tried to secure the winning back points in the waning seconds of the third period but Mitchell was able to hold off the Dutch wrestler and force overtime. In the 1-minute overtime, Miller won with a takedown nine seconds in for the 6-4 decision in overtime.
"I thought Tyler Yetzer and Sam Miller both wrestled from behind and both wrestled real well," Surra said. "That's the kind of match we need to wrestle, we got to keep ourselves in the match and give ourselves the chance to win at the end."
Slade Horner of Ridgway pinned Alex Feldbauer of St. Marys in a time of 1:37 at 152 pounds. At 160 pounds, Jake Himes was victorious in a 13-0 major decision over Bill Gabor of St. Marys.
Josh Cameroni took the final match at 170 pounds with a 3-0 decision over Dalton Sheasley.
Ridgway goes to the Towanda Duals on Saturday.
"We have Bloomsburg, West Scranton, Montoursville, I think Port Allegany and Towanda," Gerber said. "It's a long trip but we get to wrestle different people which is the reason we go up there, people we don't see very often."
St. Marys is at DuBois Tuesday for a dual meet.
"They're going to be tough," Surra said. "We got to be ready to go. We're going to get back to work and try to get better, keep improving."
NOTES: Before the dual, the family of the late Terry Dietrick was in attendance and recognized. Gerber spoke of Dietrick's impact as a broadcaster in bringing wrestling broadcasts to prominence on the radio. It was announced that Dietrick will be inducted into the District 9 Wrestling Hall of Fame at the District 9 Individual Wrestling Championships on Saturday, Feb. 25.