CLEARFIELD — When a dual meet features seven state-ranked wrestlers, seven lead changes and nine falls, even the most casual wrestling fan will have something to talk about and that was certainly the case Thursday night as the Clearfield Bisons won their home finale in exciting fashion, 40-29 over the Bellefonte Red Raiders.
“All year long I’ve waited for this team to put together a match like this,” admitted head coach Jeff Aveni. “This was an awesome performance tonight for us.”
Though it was to be the Bisons’ night, Bellefonte got things started at 140 where Nate Alterio cruised to a 23-5 technical fall over Max Von Gunden. Clearfield came thundering back at 145 when Cody Lansberry decked Kyle Phillips in 3:01 to give the Bisons their first lead, 6-5.
At 152, Clearfield’s Shane Harper and Bellefonte’s Nick Shawley brought identical 16-11 records into the bout and it stayed that close nearly to the end, until Harper was able to grind out an 8-6 win.
Bellefonte quickly regained the lead, 11-9, as Brad Grieb needed only ten seconds to pin Curtis Owens at 160.
At 171, in what looked to be a close match-up, Clearfield’s Derek Danver (26-6) shook off a touch of illness and destroyed Bellefonte’s Jake Perryman (20-9). Danver built a huge lead before pinning the Red Raider in 5:20 to earn his 27th win of the season and hand the lead back to the Bisons at 15-11.
The next four bouts featured first period pins in back and forth style. At 189, Bellefonte’s Eric Regel decked Jacob Verchick in 1:37, but Clearfield’s Cliff Hill, now 21-4, got six points of his own at 215 by flattening Cody McClure in 1:00.
Bellefonte held serve at 285 as Garrett Poorman pinned Jordan Lancaster in 36 seconds, then it was Clearfield’s Shane Peters at 103 pressing Gage Wert to the mat in 33 seconds. The fall was Peters’ 26th win on the year and when the scoreboard finally caught up, the Bisons held a 27-23 lead.
Christian Stone gave the hosts some breathing room at 112, with a 12-0 major decision over Mike Lewis for his 26th win of the season and a 31-23 lead for the Bisons.
Bellefonte closed the gap once again at 119 when Tom Traxler pinned Frankie Aveni in the first period, trimming the Bisons’ lead to just two points.
In what turned out to be the bout of the evening, Clearfield’s Dylan Graham and Cody Fisher needed overtime to decide a winner. Scoreless after the first period, each wrestler managed to score an escape in the following four minutes. Tied 1-1 into overtime, Graham saved his best shot until the end, hitting a double leg takedown as the buzzer sounded. The 3-1 overtime victory was Graham’s 22nd of the year and put the Bisons up 34-29 in the dual meet.
If that wasn’t enough excitement, the 130 pound contest featured another match-up of two wrestlers with 20-plus wins on the year. Clearfield’s Nolan Barger (23-7) and Red Raider Leo Wortman (25-6) would have the pressure of wrestling in the deciding bout. Barger was able to control Wortman nearly the entire six minutes and come away with a 6-2 win, locking up the dual meet win for the Bisons.
At 135, Bison Troy Danver capped off the match with a 3-1 win over Brandon Gray, setting the final score at 40-29 and improving the Bisons’ overall record to 13-4 on the year.
“We wrestled the perfect match tonight,” said an elated Aveni.
In Junior High action, the Bisons won 51-43 over the Red Raiders.
Clearfield will end their season on Saturday with a trip to Philipsburg to take on the rival Mounties.
Bout Recap Team
140 Max Von Gunden, LBTF, 23-5, 5:23 to Nate Alterio B 5-0
145 Cody Lansberry, WBF, 3:01, over Kyle Phillips C 6-5
152 Shane Harper, WBD, 8-6, over Nick Shawley C 9-5
160 Curtis Owens, LBF, 0:10 to Brad Grieb B 11-9
171 Derek Danver, WBF, 5:20, over Jake Perryman C 15-11
189 Jacob Verchick, LBF, 1:37, to Eric Regel B 17-15
215 Cliff Hill, WBF, 1:00, over Cody McClure C 21-17
285 Jordan Lancaster, LBF, 0:36 to Garrett Poorman B 23-21
103 Shane Peters, WBF, 0:33, over Gage Wert C 27-23
112 Christian Stone, WBMD, 12-0, over Mike Lewis C 31-23
119 Frankie Aveni, LBF, 0:42, to Tom Traxler C 31-29
125 Dylan Graham, WBD, 3-1(ot) over Cody Fisher C 34-29
130 Nolan Barger, WBD, 6-2, over Leo Wortman C 37-29
135 Troy Danver, WBD, 3-1, over Brandon Gray C 40-29