Bedford Bisons

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Conemaugh Township’s Tanner Cahill pins Northern Bedford’s Drew Gartland in overtime for the 145-pound District 5 championship.

Cahill’s District 5 title provides bright spot for Indians

By: Eric Knopsnyder

WINDBER — It’s been a trying month for the Conemaugh Township wrestling program, but Tanner Cahill made some positive history for the Indians on Saturday night.
Cahill captured the 145-pound title in the District 5 Class AA Wrestling Tournament and won the outstanding wrestler award, becoming the first Indian to do so.
Conemaugh Township supporters weren’t the only local fans with reasons to smile. Chestnut Ridge’s Tyler Dibert became just the 12th four-time champion and the Lions won the team title. Meanwhile, Bedford crowned a tournament-best five champions. In all, 12 local wrestlers won titles and 34 from The Tribune-Democrat’s coverage area earned a trip to next weekend’s Southwest Regional tournament in Johnstown.
Bedford’s Jon Gabriel (106 pounds), Ryan Easter (120), Garrett Thomas (126), Toby Brett (138) and  Tanner Williams (152) each won championships. Chestnut Ridge had two in Tyler Dibert (170) and Dan Albirght. Berlin Brothersvalley’s Chris Miller (132) and Bryce Fochtman (160) won titles, as did Meyersdale’s Billy Charlton (113) and Gavin Berkley (182).
Cahill’s victory was arguably the most dramatic of the night. He trailed Northern Bedford’s Drew Gartland 5-3 before scoring a takedown with six seconds remaining to tie it. In overtime, Cahill got a takedown and fall over the previously unbeaten Gartland, who pinned Cahill earlier in the season.
Earlier in the day, Cahill broke the school’s record for career victories with No. 133, then he had the dramatic victory and his night was capped with the outstanding wrestler award. Not bad for a school that had been fighting to get head coach Jarod Feathers’ nearly monthlong suspension lifted up until Tuesday.
“I’m on an emotional high right now,” Cahill said. “It’s wonderful. I’ve never been named outstanding wrestler before.”
The award, which is voted on by the coaches, could also have gone to Dibert, which even Cahill acknowledged.
“We’re great friends as well,” Cahill said. “I wish him the best. Either one of us could have won this award.”
Dibert, who beat Bedford’s Caleb Grimes 7-2 at 170 pounds, was content with his fourth district title and the team championship.
“It feels awesome,” Dibert said of winning his title. “When I went out there I knew I just had to get it done.”
He did, and so did his teammates. Chestnut Ridge finished with 194 points compared to Bedford’s 162.5. Berlin was third with 137 and Meyersdale was fourth with 135.
“Everyone did a great job,” Dibert said. “We wrestled our tails off to get seven to the finals. We had 10 that placed. Just a good tournament overall.”
Chestnut Ridge coach Greg Lazor agreed, despite the fact that Dibert and Albright won Ridge’s only two titles in seven final appearances.
“The boys wrestled well,” said Lazor, who was named the district’s coach of the year. “We pulled out nine going to regionals. That’s a nice number. Obviously we would like to pull a couple more wins out in the finals, but the boys battled hard.”
Bedford didn’t have the overall performance that Chestnut Ridge did, but the Bisons did much better in the finals.
“To get five district champs – you look back through the book and see how many teams have done that, not very many,” Bedford coach Brian Creps said. “Those give guys really wrestled very well.”
Gabriel beat Chestnut Ridge’s Aaron Burket 6-0 at 106 pounds while Easter pitched another shutout at 120, blanking Berlin’s Joe Swank. Easter got a dramatic reversal and two nearfall points at the end of the second period in his 6-4 victory over Chestnut Ridge’s Trent Crouse. Brett was on the other end of drama at 138, as he nearly got pinned with a big lead, but held on for a 14-8 victory over Northern Bedford’s Damian Corle. Tanner Williams scored a takedown 10 seconds into overtime for his 4-2 victory over Taylor Cahill.
That was one of five finals matches to go to overtime. Fochtman had one of those bouts, as he scored a takedown with 27 seconds remaining to take the lead at 160, but Somerset’s Landon Lohr escaped with six seconds remaining to tie it. Fochtman got a stalling point in the first tiebreaker and an escape and takedown in the second for an 8-4 victory.
Miller gave up the opening takedown to Northern Bedford’s Mason Replogle but scored the next five points in his 5-4 victory at 132 pounds.
“It feels really great,” Miller said. “I love that I came from behind and won this time. That feels amazing.”
Meyersdale’s two champs didn’t need any late drama. Charlton used a pair of three-point nearfalls to power his 8-4 victory over Chestnut Ridge’s Blake Dunlap while Berkley had two reversals in his 7-2 win over Bedford’s Michael Brett.
Chestnut Ridge also lost the final two bouts of the evening. Hyndman’s James Bennett beat Brad Winegardner 4-1 in tiebreaker at 220 while Mitchell Hall of Tussey Mountain used an overtime takedown to beat Austin Buttry 3-1.

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