MANDATA – After rolling to four convincing victories in its annual Line Mountain Duals II Tournament, all that stood between the host Eagles and a day of perfection Saturday was backyard rival Shikellamy.
The Eagles and the Braves capped off a long day of wrestling with a thriller as Line Mountain rallied late, but fell to their neighbors to the north in the final bout of the night.
With the Braves leading 36-35 after three consecutive Eagle pins, Shikellamy freshman Coltyn Sempko pinned Line Mountain sophomore Tim Shingara in 1 minute, 29 seconds to give the visitors a 42-35 victory.
Sempko worked out of a scramble early in the bout before he was able to latch onto a single-leg for a takedown and eventually work a half-nelson for the fall.
“I didn’t think anything was going to be open, but I saw his arm peak up and I went for the half right away,” he said.
Sempko, who went 3-2 on the day, said, “It never really came down to me like that before. I just tried not to get nervous, stay calm.”
Sempko split a pair of bouts with Shingara last season and Egan told him that this was the rubber match.
“I told him, ‘it’s on you, buddy, and he came out and shined and performed,” Egan said.
Egan added, “I knew it was going to be a dogfight between two schools that are working hard and don’t want to lose to each other.”
Egan said, “Scheduling that (dual) for the last match was great. A lot of the kids know each other and it’s always great competition and we were glad to be a part of it.”
Like Egan, Line Mountain coach Chuck Johnson expected the meet to be close.
“We were counting on the three pins from our lightweight but the key points in the match came earlier,” he said.
“We ran into their guns, the Balestrinis (Cade and Drew), they are very tough wrestlers. We knew at 152 (Drew versus Griffin Smeltz) it could go either way and Smeltz made one small mistake or he would have come out on top,” Johnson said.
He added, “We had about three or four things, little mistakes, that I thought brought the whole dual meet that way at the end.”
Line Mountain was behind 36-17 after forfeiting at 285 pounds with their injured wrestler, Dominic Bridi, not yet cleared.
But the Eagles (8-6) stormed back into contention with consecutive pins by Aiden Kritzer (106), Mason Leshock and Blake Wirt from 106 through 120 to set up the final-bout dramatics.
Ian Coller got the Eagles started with a fall at 132, but Damian Wolfe closed the gap with a 17-7 major decision over Bryce Carl at 138. Cade Balestrini put the Braves (4-5) up with a fall and his brother, Drew, extended it with a 6-2 decision over Griffin Smeltz.
Shikellamy pulled away with consecutive falls, by Jermez Herring, Isaiah Betz and Evan Bingaman before Line Mountain’s Cale King closed it with a fall over Kurtis Raker. Adam Young got a fall for the Braves at 285.
“I think the guys did a great job,” Johnson said of his Eagles.
He noted that they defeated Brentsville, Virginia, a team with several state place-winners and beat them decisively (45-20).