CLARION – Ridgway finished with three district champions and Jesse Wolfe claimed his first for the Johnsonburg Rams at the District 9 Individual Wrestling Championships Saturday at Clarion University.
Ridgway wrestling will send six to the Northwest Regional Championship and Johnsonburg will send two. The Elkers finished second in the team score with 145 points. Johnsonburg was 11th with 47 points. Brookville was the team winner with 197.5 team points.
"The kids really wrestled well," Ridgway coach Gary Gerber said. "We're really excited getting ready to go down there [to Sharon] and we think we have a chance to get some kids to states."
Ridgway senior D.J. Skraba won his first district championship with a 2-1 decision over Danny Walters, the top seed at 160 pounds. Skraba opened up against Ron Clark of Brookville in the semifinals with a 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker win. Skraba escaped in the final 30-second period to secure the win.
Corey Bush claimed his second district title, this year at 119 pounds. He won last year at 103. Bush wrapped up the title with a 16-1 technical fall (5:14) over Darren Brown of Kane. Bush opened in the semifinals against Karl Lightner of Smethport. Bush trailed 5-0 at the end of the first period but recovered with a set of two back points and a takedown after an escape to draw within two at 6-4 at the 1:10 mark of the second period. Bush then took an 11-7 lead at the end of the second period.
Lightner then scored a 5-point move early in the third period to take a 12-11 lead with one minute left. Bush earned a reversal with 47 seconds left to take a 13-12 lead and went on for a 16-13 decision.
Slade Horner topped Max Zimmerman 5-4 in the tiebreaker periods to win the 135-pound district championship. At 4-all, the match went to the two 30-second tiebreaker periods. Zimmerman opened on the bottom and came close to securing a reversal but was unable to make the switch. Horner escaped with his chance at the bottom for the championship.
"Max, he wrestled a real good tournament," Johnsonburg coach Tom Launer said. "He lost in overtime to a really good kid. He's wrestling really, really well."
Zimmerman squared off against Brett Smith of Brookville in the semifinals of the 135-pound weight class. Neither wrestler could get on the scoreboard in the first two periods. Zimmerman started the third period on the bottom and was able to score a reversal and put Smith on his back for a set of three back points. Smith scored a reversal late but Zimmerman won a 5-2 decision to advance to the championship.
Jesse Wolfe also won his first district title after two runner-up finishes with a 3-0 decision over Mike Bauer of Clarion. Wolfe advanced to the final with a 9-0 major decision over Garret Hildebrand of Redbank Valley in the semifinals, clinching a spot at regionals. Wolfe did not surrender a point through the tournament.
"He was really happy, he was a two-time runner-up," Launer said. "He's an intelligent wrestler and never gave up. He had a really good tournament."
Caggiano placed third at 140 pounds to advance to regionals. Caggiano lost a 5-0 decision to Zach Vroman of Brookville in the semifinals at 140 pounds. Caggiano bounced back with a pinfall over Brandon Bailey of Redbank Valley in a time of 1:36. Caggiano finished with a third-place finish after a 2-1 decision in the consolation final over Brad Goodreau of Port Allegany.
Jake Himes finished fourth at 152 pounds to qualify for regionals. Himes opened Saturday at 152 pounds against Alex Gular of Port Allegany. Gular scored a takedown in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Gular went on to the 9-1 decision over the Ridgway wrestler. Himes dropped to the fourth round of consolations against Brett Ferringer of Cranberry. Himes moved on to the consolation final with a 6-0 decision. Himes lost a 2-1 decision in a tiebreaker to Nathan Hartless of Brockway.
Chad Quail is another Elker regional qualifier at 215 pounds. Quail advanced with a pinfall at 2:56 in the third round of consolations to move onto the fourth round of the consolation bracket against Trent Neal of Port Allegany. Quail pinned Neal in a time of 3:41 to clinch his spot in regionals. Quail finished Saturday out in style with a pinfall in the third-place match in a time of 4:53 over Braden Bowser of Redbank Valley.
Jesse Sheasley lost to Zach Manning of Port Allegany at 4:47 in the 285-pound weight class, then followed with a matchup with Andrew Fragale of Cameron County. Fragale had a 3-2 lead late in the bout but he was called for his second stalling violation which ultimately tied the bout. Fragale scored a takedown for the 5-3 victory.
Ridgway's Cody Stahl opened at 103 pounds in the consolation round against Devon Park of Brockway losing an 8-4 decision. Stahl lost his quarterfinal match, then advanced with byes to the match against Park.
Ricky Jay Javier won a 3-2 decision over Dalton Caden of Port Allegany in the second round of consolations before losing 5-2 to Tyler Mays.
Trevor Delhunty at 125 advanced to the third round of consolations with a 4-3 decision over Troy Hidinger of Brockway then won a 2-0 decision over Trey McKenzie to get to the fourth round, one match from placing in the top four. Delhunty lost a 4-0 decision to Garret Hildebrand of Redbank Valley in that round.
Dakota Dahler at 130 for Ridgway lost a 5-4 decision to Will Hulings of Kane in third-round consolations action.
Steve Mitchell (145) advanced to the third round of consolations with a 10-1 major decision over Zach Bruce of Cranberry but lost 6-2 to Tanner Hannold of Keystone in the fourth round.
Seth Stahl (171) faced off against Brandon Ferringer of Cranberry in the semifinals, losing a 9-2 decision at 171 pounds. He dropped down to take on Jordan Miller of Keystone, losing a 5-0 decision.
Cortland Smith at 189 wrestled and lost two matches on Friday in his first trip to districts.
Alex Zimmerman of Johnsonburg lost in the second round of consolations to Will Hulings of Kane via fall at 4:15. Mike Kennedy (152) lost in the second round of consolations as did Mitchell Schloder (160) and Eric Bevacqua (171).
The Class AA Northwest Regional Championships begin Friday at Sharon High School. The top four from District 9, top 6 from District 10 and top 2 from District 8 will comprise this new-look field this year. Previously, only the top 5 from D-10 and top 3 from D-9 comprised the eight-wrestler bracket with no involvement from District 8.