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WVHS Wrestling: Trio Survives District Wars
Scratches and abrasions covered his freckled face from a pair of grueling mat battles during Saturday's final round at Williamsport High School.
But wounds heal and, like his teammates Ryan Hart and Anthony Clark, Cobb survived to fight another day on the same mats this coming weekend in the Northeast Region tournament for the right to advance to Hershey and an opportunity at a state medal.
In the championship final, Cobb faced 2010 PIAA runner-up Nathaniel Brown of Lewisburg for the title.
Over 3:17 of the title bout, Cobb, who entered the match with a 32-1 record, managed just three points, all on escapes, before the undefeated Brown pinned him.
"I knew it was going to be tough," Cobb said. "I went in with nothing to lose and I gave it everything I had.
"That's alright, second place is good at the District Four tournament."
Cobb, seeking his third consecutive trip to the PIAA championships, easily won Friday's quarterfinal match, pinning Central Columbia's Jacob Coombe in 3:01.
It got a little tougher Saturday.
Facing Benton's Jake Mankey in the semifinals, Cobb came from behind for a 3-2 victory.
After a scoreless first period, Mankey took the lead with an escape at 1:15 of the second period.
Starting down to open the third period, Cobb finally found an answer with an escape and a takedown. Mankey managed a late escape, but Cobb held on for the win.
"Most Benton wrestlers are good and he's a tough kid," Cobb said.
"He was pretty good on his feet and it was hard to get him out of position. He had a nice stance. Even on the mat, I couldn't really turn him."
The good news for Cobb is both Brown and Mankey will be on the opposite side of the bracket for the regional tournament.
"That's a plus," he said as he seeks a third-place or better finish this weekend to earn another trip to Hershey.
For Hart and Clark, surviving districts was no easy task as they both had to win fifth-place finals to move on to the regional tournament.
Hart, wrestling at 130 pounds, lost his first-round match to East Juniata's Sean Heggs, 10-5.
"I left everything out on the mat," Hart said. "He was a step ahead of me every time. There was nothing I could do about it."
Forced to win two consecutive matches to have a chance at the fifth-place final, Hart reached deep inside to do just that.
"I had to wrestle all the way back," he observed.
In his next bout, he defeated Sayre's Jesse Buck, 4-3—his third straight one-point win over the Redskin grappler this season.
He followed that with a 4:48 pin over Canton's Dylan Killian.
In the consolation semifinals, Montoursville's David Batkowski defeated Hart, 7-1, forcing him into the fifth-place final against Hughesville's Tyler Snyder.
After two scoreless periods, Hart took control of the match against Snyder, taking a 5-1 lead before pinning him with one second left in the match.
"We wrestled previously in a summer tournament up in Athens," Hart said. "It was a close match that I think I won by a takedown.
"I just went out with confidence that it was do or die."
Clark, wrestling at 189 pounds, went 4-2 over the two days, capped by a 2:26 pin of Hughesville's Ethan Showers in the fifth-place final.
Against Showers, Clark slowly forged a 5-4 lead through the first two periods before getting the fall.
"I knew it was going to be a tough match," Clark said, noting that he had seen Showers wrestle before. "We have similar styles."
Even though he trailed 2-0 in the first period, the unflappable Clark went about his business.
"I wasn't worried," he said. "I'm usually good in that situation."
His busy weekend started with a 9-6 win over Southern Columbia's Jake Becker in the preliminaries.
After losing to Line Mountain's Kenny Rothermel, 6-3, in the quarterfinals, Clark went on a two-bout win streak, pinning Loyalsock's Heith Hicks in 2:36 and defeating Canton's Kaleb Route, 6-2.
In the consolation semifinals, Bloomsburg's Remington Weigle edged Clark, 1-0, forcing him to wrestle for fifth place.
"I'd really like to wrestle Weigle again," he said. "It would be a close match."
Joey Champluvier, wrestling at 140 pounds, came tantalizingly close to qualifying for the regional tournament.
After defeating Sullivan County's Dane Woodruff, 10-4, Champluvier lost to top-seeded Luke Frey of Montoursville by fall in 54 seconds.
In the consolation semifinals, he dropped a 5-4 decision to Wellsboro's Brenton Acorn.
Against Mifflinburg's Alan Miller in the fifth-place final, Champluvier built a 5-0 lead through the first two periods.
Miller picked up two points on a reversal early in the third period and came close to turning Champluvier for back points twice before finally rolling him onto his shoulders at 4:39 of the bout for the pin.
Four other Wyalusing wrestlers competed in the tournament.
Brandon Kelley went 2-2 before being eliminated in the consolation quarterfinals at 112 pounds.
Tim Kuntz, wrestling at 145, also went 2-2, losing out in the consolation quarterfinals.
Dan Frankenfield and Clayton Force, wrestling at 160 and 215, respectively, both lost their first two bouts.
Wyalusing Valley's Mike Cobb, back, tries to bring down Benton's Jake Mankey during their 171-pound semifinal bout. Cobb won the match, 3-2, en route to a second-place finish at the District Four tournament.
WVHS District Four Results
Kelley decisioned Darren Killian, Canton, 7-4.
Zain Retherford, Line Mountain, pinned Kelley, 1:44.
Kelley decisioned Andrew Yetter, Warrior Run, 7-2.
Brandon Lontz, Benton, decisioned Kelley, 7-4.
Sean Heggs, East Juniata, decisioned Hart, 10-5.
Hart decisioned Jesse Buck, Sayre, 4-3.
Hart pinned Dylan Killian, Canton, 4:58.
David Batkowski, Montoursville, decisioned Hart, 7-1.
Hart pinned Tyler Snyder, Hughesville, 4:59.
Champluvier decisioned Dane Woodruff, Sullivan County, 10-4.
Luke Frey, Montoursville, pinned Champluvier, :54.
Brenton Acorn, Wellsboro, decisioned Champluvier, 6-5.
Alan Miller, Mifflinburg, pinned Champluvier, 4:39.
Kuntz decisioned Cameron Ott, Montoursville, 3-2.
Zack Ripic, Towanda, decisioned Kuntz, 4-0.
Kuntz pinned Trae Manning, Midd-West, 3:43.
Ben Emmett, Central Columbia, decisioned Kuntz, 4-2.
Donald English, Milton, decisioned Frankenfield, 3-1.
Garrett Shynder, Montgomery, decisioned Frankenfield, 3-0.
Cobb pinned Jason Coombe, Central Columbia, 3:01.
Cobb decisioned Jake Mankey, Benton, 3-2.
Nathaniel Brown, Lewisburg, pinned Cobb, 3:17.
Clark decisioned Jake Becker, Southern Columbia, 9-6.
Kenny Rothermel, Line Mountain, decisioned Clark, 6-3.
Clark pinned Heith Hicks, Loyalsock, 2:36.
Clark decisioned Kaleb Route, Canton, 6-2.
Remington Weigle, Bloomsburg, decisioned Clark, 1-0.
Clark pinned Ethan Showers, Hughesville, 2:26.
Justin Schlosser, Athens, decisioned Force, 7-2.
John Aumiller, Midd-West, decisioned Force, 1-0.
Wyalusing Valley's Ryan Hart, right, hand fights with Sayre's Jesse Buck during the 130-pound consolation quarterfinals at the District Four, Class AA tournament in Williamsport on Feb. 26. Hart defeated Buck, 4-3.