DuBOIS – Hollywood couldn't have written a script with as much symmetry as what Ridgway wrestling experienced Saturday.
A fifth consecutive district championship, toppling the top-seeded team in the district. The program's 600th win. And an Elker freshman clinching it all with a pinfall.
Cody Stahl's pin at 103 pounds sealed a 32-29 win over top-seeded Brookville in the championship of the District Team Duals Saturday at DuBois High School.
"You couldn't have had a more perfect day, to win our 600th win for our program which is a milestone which is big in wrestling, our fifth straight district team duals title. I'm so excited to go to Hershey, I could go right now," Ridgway coach Gary Gerber said. "It was just a great match, this is one of the best I think I've been in during my whole career. It's one of the most rewarding I've ever been in."
Ridgway will now face Lower Moreland, the district 1 champion, in the second round of the PIAA Team Wrestling Championship at 4 p.m. Thursday at Giant Center in Hershey. A Ridgway win would mean a Friday quarterfinal at noon against potential opponent Towanda.
"At the beginning of the year, we were ranked fourth in the district," Gerber said. "We were kind of like an afterthought. Port Allegany, Redbank [Valley] and Brookville were on top and we were there but not really a threat. Our kids, honestly, did this with hard work. I'm just proud of them."
Coming into the 103-pound bout, the Elkers held a 26-23 lead with just the 103- and 112-pound bouts remaining. Stahl faced Brady Mineweaser, a wrestler who pinned Stahl just a week ago when the Raiders won 42-24 over Ridgway. Mineweaser held a 6-4 lead late in the second period but Stahl was able to catch Mineweaser in the third period for a pin at 4:22. The win put Ridgway ahead 32-23 and sealed the dual with one match left.
"Last week he was winning and got pinned and he had tears in his eyes," Gerber said. "Today, he had tears in his eyes but they're a different kind. These are the good tears."
Gerber spoke of the adjustments made between the two bouts.
"The other boy is really good with cradles, we worked on defending himself on the bottom and we told him to stay aggressive," Gebrer said. "When he got behind, we told him to stay in it and he just kept doing what we told him. We worked on it all week and it worked out great for him."
Brookville's Trey Constable received a forfeit at 112 pounds to close out the dual meet.
Ridgway started strong as Tad Pierce pinned Devin Gill in 3:06 at 119 pounds to put the Elkers ahead 6-0.
"Tad lit the fuse, he was the spark," Gerber said.
Corey Bush then won a 12-4 major decision at 125 pounds over Dustin Dombrowski. Bush wrestled Brock Zacherl in the first dual this year but Zacherl was absent Saturday and the Elkers flipped two matches to take a quick 10-0 team lead. Bush led 10-4 late in the bout but a takedown with 12 seconds left elevated Bush's win to a major decision and an extra bonus point.
Brody Zacherl put Brookville on the board with a 7-3 decision over Dakota Dahler at 130 pounds. Ridgway answered as Slade Horner defeated Brett Smith in overtime for the second time this season, this time a 6-4 decision. After a scoreless first period, Smith reversed Horner to take the lead, Horner had a reversal of his own to tie the bout at 2-all entering the third period. The two teams traded reversals again in the final minute of the third period to tie the bout at 4-all and send it to overtime. Horner scored the winning takedown with 16 seconds left in overtime to put Ridgway up 13-3. Gerber said he was impressed with Horner's second win over a district champion from last year.
Brookville flipped a result at 140 pounds as Zach Vroman won a 3-1 decision over Kyle Caggiano. Caggiano won a decision in the match at Brookville. Vroman scored a takedown early on and then added an escape to start the second. Caggiano escaped late in the third period but could not get a tying takedown.
Dylan Zimmerman won a 17-2 technical fall over Brett Himes of Ridgway in the 145-pound bout, Himes was pinned in the previous dual meet. Gerber said Himes not getting pinned was a big plus for the Elkers and saved an important team point along the way.
Ron Clark of Brookville avenged an earlier loss to Steve Mitchell of Ridgway with a 3-1 decision. After a scoreless first period, the two wrestlers then traded escapes before Clark took down Mitchell with 1:26 left in the third period to put the lead at 3-1 and push Brookville ahead 14-13 in the team score.
"We lost a couple close ones, very very tight matches that we won last time by one or two points, we're losing by one or two points," Gerber said. "Two great teams really going at it big time, I'm really glad to be part of it, it was something special. They're a well-coached team, they're an excellent team."
Jake Himes was able to win a 16-6 major decision over Mitch Minich in the 160-pound bout. Himes led 3-0 after the first period before Minich hit a 5-point move (takedown and three back points) to take the lead. Himes then escaped and hit his own 5-point move to take a 9-5 lead after two periods. Himes pulled away near the end of the bout for the Ridgway victory.
D.J. Skraba took a 3-2 decision over Tyler Dombrowski in the 171-pound bout.
Skraba led 2-0 after the first period but Dombrowski was able to rally and tie the bout at 2-all. Skraba escaped to start the third, a point which proved to be game-winning.
Jacob Shields of Brookville pinned Seth Stahl of Ridgway in 52 seconds to tie the dual at 20-all. Logan Stout won a 5-1 decision over Chad Quail of Ridgway at 215 pounds.
Jesse Sheasley of Ridgway pinned Luke Geer of Brookville at 1:09 in the 285-pound bout to put Ridgway ahead 26-23.
Ridgway opened Saturday with a 31-24 win over Redbank Valley in the semifinals. Bush won via decision at 119, a 6-2 win over Nick Schrecengost. Horner won a 5-0 decision over Evan Shirey at 135, Caggiano won by forfeit at 140. Mitchell picked up a 6-0 decision over Aaron Hook in the 152-pound bout and Jake Himes pinned Luke Hinderliter at 160 in a time of 1:52.
Skraba won a 1-0 decision over Cole Shirey at 171 with an escape in the second period. Seth Stahl had a 12-2 major decision over Corey Cyphert at 189. Quail sealed the dual with a 4-3 decision over Braden Bowser.
Ridgway forfeited at 285 and 103 against the Bulldogs.
This will be Ridgway's fourth trip to the state duals in the last five years, they have placed third and fourth in two of the prior trips.
Ridgway 32, Brookville 29
119 - Tad Pierce (R) pin Devin Gill (B), 3:06 (6-0 R)
125 - Corey Bush (R) maj. dec. Dustin Dombrowski (B), 12-4 (10-0 R)
130 - Brody Zacherl (B) dec. Dakota Dahler (R), 7-3 (10-3 R)
135 - Slade Horner (R) dec. Brett Smith (B), 6-4, OT (13-3 R)
140 - Zach Vroman (B) dec. Kyle Caggiano (R), 3-1 (13-6 R)
145 - Dylan Zimmerman (B) tech fall over Brett Himes (R), 17-2, 5:01 (13-11 R)
152 - Ron Clark (B) dec. Steve Mitchell (R), 3-1 (14-13 B)
160 - Jake Himes (R) maj. dec. Mitch Minich (B), 16-6 (17-14 R)
171 - D.J. Skraba (R) dec. Tyler Dombrowski (B), 3-2 (20-14 R)
189 - Jacob Shields (B) pin Seth Stahl (R), :52 (20-20)
215 - Logan Stout (B) dec. Chad Quail (R), 5-1 (23-20 B)
285 - Jesse Sheasley (R) pin Luke Geer (B), 1:09 (26-23 R)
103 - Cody Stahl (R) pin Brady Mineweaser (B), 4:22 (32-23 R)
112 - Trey Constable (B) win by forfeit (32-29 R)
Ridgway 31, Redbank Valley 24
112 - Willis Gruver (RV) dec. Ricky Javier (R), 5-2 (3-0 RV)
119 - Corey Bush (R) dec. Nick Schrecengost (RV), 6-2 (3-3)
125 - Garret Hildebrand (RV) dec. Trevor Delhunty (R), 6-4 (6-3 RV)
130 - Ty Haines (RV) dec. Dakota Dahler (R), 7-4 (9-3 RV)
135 - Slade Horner (R) dec. Evan Shirey (RV), 5-0 (9-6 RV)
140 - Kyle Caggiano (R) win by forfeit (12-9 R)
145 - Brandon Bailey (RV) dec. Brett Himes (R), 11-4 (12-12)
152 - Steve Mitchell (R) dec. Aaron Hook (RV), 6-0 (15-12 R)
160 - Jake Himes (R) pin Luke Hinderliter (RV), 1:52 (21-12 R)
171 - D.J. Skraba (R) dec. Cole Shirey (RV), 1-0 (24-12 R)
189 - Seth Stahl (R) maj. dec. Corey Cyphert (RV), 12-2 (28-12 R)
215 - Chad Quail (R) dec. Braden Bowser (RV), 4-3 (31-12 R)
285 - Clay Kennemuth (RV) win by forfeit (31-18 R)
103 - Mitch Blose (RV) win by forfeit (31-24 R)