WINGATE â€” When Tyrone left here Tuesday, Bald Eagle Area’s immediate focus shifted to Clearfield, a team it knows well through eight days of the 2010-11 season.
The Eagles and Bisons, after all, have spent the past two Friday nights in the same gym.
Judging by what happened last night, both teams might be better because of their shared experiences.
One week after seeing each other at Williamsport’s Top Hat Tournament, the Bisons edged the Eagles 36-33 in a tight, entertaining dual meet. BEA coach Steve Millward was admittedly drained after the meet, which included as many calculated decisions as a compelling baseball game.
â€œSince Tyrone left, I knew it was going to be like this,â€ Millward said.
Obtaining the eight victories needed to improve to 2- 0 required Clearfield coach Jeff Aveni to scroll deep into his binder. Information collected during Top Hat persuaded Aveni to move Derek Danver from 171 to 189 and keep Cliff Hill at 215. The seniors, who are still working themselves into wrestling shape after Clearfield’s run to the PIAA Class AAA football quarterfinals, responded with victories.
â€œYou look at them from 152 up, they are solid,â€ Aveni said. â€œI know coming in our wins from 152 up would be few and far between. We got the two we needed.â€
Danver’s 2-1 victory over Garren Kunes at 189 was the meet’s defining bout for two reasons: a.) It won the meet for Clearfield; and b.) It demonstrated Kunes’ progress since last season. Danver, a senior who went 32-7 at 145 as a junior, needed a third-period reversal to defeat Kunes, a junior who went 5-12 during 2009-10.
â€œHe’s wrestling outstanding,â€ Millward said of Kunes. â€œHe’s working hard and he has good guys to work out with in the room. We hope to see more gains from him as the season goes on.â€
Similar gains by sophomore Jake Taylor forced Aveni to move Danver away from 171. On his way to winning last week’s tournament, Taylor defeated Danver 4-2 in the semifinals.
â€œWe talked right up until that match as coaches, and I thought we had a better chance of winning 189,â€ Aveni said. â€œDerek is real short into this wrestling season. Jake Taylor is in outstanding condition. He stayed in our face and really pushed us at Top Hat. I’m not sure if we were ready to go with that again.â€
Taylor needed just 1:18 to pin Kody Hepfer at 171. Millward said, however, BEA’s ability to match Clearfield’s moves was limited because of injuries Steve Gawryla, who can wrestle 160 or 171, sustained in a serious accident earlier this week.
At 215, Hill, who missed qualifying for the state tournament by a victory last season, pinned Aaron Varner. BEA’s Nate Sharkey, who placed third at 215 last week, moved to heavyweight and pinned Jordan Lancaster in 1:46. The pin allowed BEA to score 21 points from 152 to heavyweight. The total proved three points too few.
â€œHaving to negotiate that lineup, that’s what determined the outcome of the match,â€ said Millward, whose team received a decision from Nick Taylor at 152 and pin from Coleman Hoffman at 160. â€œWe had too many places where we were trying to matchup what they were sending to the mat.â€
Clearfield started controlling the meet once it reached 103, winning five of the final seven bouts. The stretch included pins from Northwest Regional placewinner Christian Stone at 112 and Troy Danver at 135 and forfeit to Nolan Barger at 130. Justin Giedroc (125) and Matt Dillon (140) had pins for the Eagles. BEA’s best move was bumping Dillon, who wrestled at 130 last week, up to 140, where he pinned Max VonGunden in 1:35.
â€œWe had a 140-pounder with four years of experience and we wrestled a 130-pounder and we get pinned,â€ Aveni said. â€œThat was a shocker to me. Luckily, we had a win from Derek Danver and a couple of falls to put us in the lead and it didn’t matter.â€
Clearfield won both rematches from last week as Shane Peters defeated Travis Giedroc 6-1 at 103 and Dylan Graham edged Tyler Baney 9-7 at 119. Still, BEA demonstrated progress at both weights. Peters pinned Giedroc and Graham defeated Baney 13-7 last week.
BEA finished third and Clearfield took seventh in Williamsport, with the Eagles outscoring the Bisons, who were missing Hill, 136.5-114.5. Round 3 between the storied programs will arrive during March’s Northwest Regional Tournament.
â€œWe feel pretty good about where we are right now in the season,â€ said Millward, whose team wrestles Bellefonte next week. â€œOf course, we would like to beat these teams, whether it’s December or whether it’s February. We have to start with somebody somewhere. We are doing well for this time in the season.â€