League champs crowned at Schuylkill Tournament Tri-Valley standout Schoffstall suffers injury in 152-lbs. final


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POTTSVILLE - Seven grapplers in The Citizen-Standard coverage area, including those from Tri-Valley, Halifax and Williams Valley, garnered championships at the Schuylkill League Tournament January 19. Blue Mountain earned the team title.

Mitch Myers already had his hands full with the golden team trophy when this message came over the public address system:

Schuylkill League Tournament Outstanding Wrestler: Mitch Myers, Blue Mountain High School.

The OW award was the perfect ending to a triumphant weekend for the Eagles at the annual league gathering at Martz Hall.

After a one-year hiatus, Blue Mountain regained the team championship, using its depth to pull away late and outscore Tri-Valley 202-184.5. North Schuylkill (140) finished third in the 14-team field.

The Dawgs won last year's team title, but now the Eagles have taken five of the last six.

"That was the most important thing,'' Myers said. "Coach (J.J.) Fasnacht was telling us the whole week he's never won it (as a wrestler or coach), and we really wanted to win it for him.

"After not winning it last year, that was pretty painful, and losing to Tri-Valley at the beginning of the year (in a dual meet),'' he added. "Coming back and winning this is huge, especially against Tri-Valley. They're a good tournament team.''

Blue Mountain placed 12 of its 13 entrants, with three champions, one second, one third, two fourths, four fifths and one sixth. Guys who won consolation bouts like Zach Yackenchick (third at 195), Ian Cagle (fourth at 152) and Billy Webber (fourth at 160) added decisive team points.

"We emphasized it between every round. ... I was going to every kid: 'Come through. We need it,' '' Fasnacht said. "This is where the team concept of wrestling comes into play. If everybody scores points, we can win this tournament.''

For Myers (23-3), all three of his victories came by technical fall as he outscored his opponents by a combined 47-0. In the finals, he took down and repeatedly tilted Col-Mon Vo-Tech's Troy Patterson for a 15-0 technical fall in 3:46.

The victory over Patterson was also the 100th of Myers' career.

"Third time's a charm,'' Myers said. "Taking second the last two years kind of sucked, but winning it here and getting my 100th win, that was pretty special.

"It's exciting. It's ironic they both happened at the same time.''

Joining Myers atop the awards platform were teammates Bryant Penberth (113) and Christian Gosch (126) with their first league titles. Penberth (19-7) edged Pottsville's Luke Gardner 4-3, and Gosch (22-6) held off Pottsville's Bailey Roos 8-6. A senior, Roos has one league title and three silvers.

Freshman Ryan Guers took second at 120, while Chris Sherry (138), Lucas Forbes (145), Tristen Coello (220) and Dan Adams (285) finished fifth. Hunter Blankenhorn (106) placed sixth for the Eagles.

In addition to their advancement points, Yackenchick, Coello and Adams pinned their final opponents, and Sherry notched a 16-0 technical fall.

"When they score, they're not afraid to try and score some more,'' Fasnacht said. "Before they'd be hesitant. ... That's the big thing with these young kids.''

Tri-Valley had the most champions with four, as Blake Bowman (145) repeated and Caleb Bordner (120), Chase Schaeffer (132) and Hunter Harner (138) earned their first gold.

In a featured bout between state qualifiers in the finals, Bowman turned back Pine Grove's Eli Brill 8-6. A pair of takedowns made the difference for Bowman (23-4), who also defeated Brill (20-4) in last year's league finals.

"We wrestle a lot,'' Bowman said. "We're going to run into each other a lot so I'm just going to keep working at it, and in the end I came out on top.

"He's a good wrestler,'' he added. "We're pretty good friends now, and it's going to be good.''

In another featured bout, Bordner (20-6) scored a takedown at the edge with 22 seconds left and rode out Guers (21-7) to win 7-6.

"I've got to give credit to Guers. He's a heck of a wrestler,'' Bordner said. "Placing eighth at states (last year), I've got that target on my back. I want to step it up every year.''

After finishing second last year, Harner (22-6) earned his first gold with a 4-3 decision over North Schuylkill's Jordan Shinkus.

One match earlier, Schaeffer (17-7) became the only freshman to win a championship this season. The No. 3 seed pinned No. 5 Kody Stencovage (21-8) of Pottsville in 4:25. In the previous Wednesday's dual meet, Stencovage pinned Schaeffer in 2:54.

This was the first league tournament not to crown a four-time league champion since 2007.

"Next three years look to get it again,'' Schaeffer said of his long-range goal.

Panther Valley and Halifax crowned two champions apiece.

The Panthers had bookends with Len Ogozalek at 106 and Rian Shubeck at 285. Ogozalek (22-4) started the finals with a 9-7 decision over Pine Grove's Danny Diaz-Walton, and Shubeck (25-1) ended the night with a 2-1 decision over Tamaqua's Luke Matsago.

For Halifax, Joey Kaufman (220) won his third league title and Robbie Moretz (152) earned his first. Kaufman (23-0) dominated on his feet in a 17-6 major decision over Pottsville's Stan Burke, and Moretz (23-0) won when Tri-Valley's Ty Schoffstall injured his ankle and could not continue.

North Schuylkill's Auston Hummel (160), Columbia-Montour Vo-Tech's Jordan Rainer (182) and Williams Valley's J.R. Rummel (195) won their first league championships.

Hummel (17-1) posted a 7-2 decision over Tri-Valley's Anthony Snyder; Rainer (21-1) stopped Schuylkill Haven's Todd Zimmerman 14-8; and Rummel (22-1) held off Panther Valley's Richard Nase 6-4. POTTSVILLE - Arguably the Schuylkill League's best wrestler - and one of the best in the state - left Martz Hall on crutches.

Minersville and Tri-Valley senior Ty Schoffstall had everything going his way January 19 during his 152-pound final against Halifax's Robbie Moretz.

Showcasing his non-stop attack, Schoffstall moved with purpose and ease to build a 5-1 lead early in the second period.

In an instant, the match - and perhaps the rest of Schoffstall's season - changed.

Schoffstall tried one of his favorite moves, a headlock, but Moretz countered and the wrestlers shuffled toward the edge of the mat tied up. Moretz drove in for a trip, but Schoffstall's ankle didn't give.

He yelled in pain and stayed down for more than a minute. A trainer taped the ankle, and after testing the injury with some ginger steps, Schoffstall tried to continue. The match lasted just a few more seconds before Schoffstall went down again in pain and had to default the match.

"I feel bad because he's a good wrestler. He probably deserved that Schuylkill League title,'' Moretz said. "He works hard, no doubt about it. He should get some recognition. He'll get that at the end of the season, hopefully at states with a state title.''

In a battle between state qualifiers, Schoffstall started the bout with a lightning-quick and perfectly executed duck-under for a takedown.

Last year, Schoffstall (23-2) had trouble riding his opponents, but he tilted Moretz (23-0) late in the first period for three back points. Moretz escaped to start the second period, and soon after, the injury happened.

The ankle is the latest in Schoffstall's injury-plagued career. He's had surgeries on multiple body parts but keeps coming back and getting better. The two-time league champion placed third at districts, regionals and states last season. He's ranked in the top three in the state at his weight.

The bout was a rematch of last year's 152-pound final in which Schoffstall topped Moretz 23-10.

3-timer

Bear-hugging his way to victory, Halifax senior Joey Kaufman overpowered Pottsville's Stan Burke 17-6 at 220 pounds to clinch his third straight league championship. Kaufman's first three takedowns came when he locked around Burke's torso and drove him toward his back.

Kaufman (23-0) had pins in 52 seconds and 1:12 en route to the finals.

"I'd say that's my signature move,'' Kaufman said of the bear hug.

And on winning a third straight league gold?

"It makes me feel prepared to do something at states,'' Kaufman said.

Troutman reaches 100

Tri-Valley senior Lyle Troutman had an up-and-down day. Last year's 195-pound champion and the top seed at 182 couldn't get started in the semifinals and dropped a 6-1 decision to Col-Mon Vo-Tech's Jordan Rainer, the eventual champion.

Troutman, though, rebounded in the consolations with a fall in 1:42 over Mahanoy Area's Austin Forte. The victory was the 100th of his career.

Troutman added victory No. 101 in the consolation finals, defeating Upper Dauphin's Trey Campbell 7-0 for third place.

Rave reviews

Many coaches gave Martz Hall a big endorsement as a site and host for the league tournament. Cooperation between Pottsville and Blue Mountain officials made the event come together and run smoothly.

The tournament will likely rotate among other schools that would like to host, but Martz Hall should be in the mix as a site for future tournaments.

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