Berlin Brothersvalley Mountaineers

Berlin Brothersvalley’s Joey Swank looks to turn Conemaugh Township’s Kody Ofsanko during their 120-pound match on Wednesday night in Davidsville. Swank won 2-0 to help the Mountaineers to a 55-6 victory.

Young guns: Freshmen lead Berlin past Conemaugh Township

By: Eric Knopsnyder

DAVIDSVILLE — Joey Swank was a bundle of nerves when he stepped onto the mat for his first varsity wrestling match.
Neither the start of the match nor six minutes of intense wrestling could chase away the butterflies.
Only one thing did.
“After the match, when I got my hand raised, the nerves went away,” the Berlin Brothersvalley freshman said. “While I was out there, I could feel them.”
Swank was one of four freshmen to get his hand raised as the Mountaineers thrashed Conemaugh Township 55-6 in the season opener for both teams.
Swank beat Kody Ofsanko, who went 24-7 last season and finished fourth in District 5, 2-0 at 120 pounds.
“It’s definitely a good win,” Berlin coach Jason Cornell said of Swank’s victory. “He was very nervous. All of these guys were very nervous, coming into their first match. It’s difficult to tell a freshman, even though they’re at that level, that they can wrestle with district place-winners and proven guys.”
Braden Fochtman was another young wrestler who posted a big win for Berlin. Fochtman beat Casey Berchick, who won 16 matches a year ago, 9-3 at 138 pounds and pressed for a major decision in the closing matches.
Fochtman’s victory put Berlin ahead 37-0 and kept a streak alive, as no Berlin wrestler gave up a reversal, takedown or nearfall points through the first six bouts wrestled.
“We were in some matches, but overall, we just didn’t wrestle our match,” Conemaugh Township coach Jarod Feathers said. “The score said it. We didn’t come out to wrestle, weren’t getting to our offense and they wrestled a good match.”
Freshman Anthony Collins gave the Mountaineers (1-0) a lift in the first match by beating Zach Svencer 2-1 at 220 pounds. After Mitchell Walker’s pin of Robbie Mills at 285, freshman Emil Kiesnowski received a forfeit at 106.
Tommy DeArmitt pinned Aaron Griffith at 113 to put Berlin ahead 21-0.
That took a bit of the pressure off of Swank, even if it didn’t wipe out the nerves.
“It feels good to have that momentum coming into the match,” he said. “It feels like you have a safety net, if something would happen.”
Swank made something happen, but in his favor. He controlled the action through two periods but had nothing to show for it. Finally, a reversal with a little more than a minute remaining gave him a 2-0 lead and he rode out Ofsanko for the victory.
E.J. Custer received a forfeit at 126 and Chris Miller scored a 13-3 major decision over Matt Bridge at 132 ahead of Fochtman’s victory.
Conemaugh Township (0-1) posted back-to-back victories, but even those didn’t come easily. Tanner Cahill, a defending district champion, led by just four points in the third period before beating Eric Darr 7-1 at 145. His younger brother, Taylor Cahill, held on for an 8-5 victory over Blake Miller at 152.
“The Cahill boys are tough there in the middle weights, but even against both of the Cahills we wrestled well,” Cornell said.
Bryce Fochtman beat Ryan Grosik 8-5 at 160 and Trevor Moore held on for a 5-4 victory over Ryan Shifflett at 170. Shane Pepper and Stew Trulick received forfeits at 182 and 195, respectively.
“We knew going in we were going to have some holes – some grades, some injuries,” Feathers said. “That can’t be an excuse.”
Feathers was impressed by what he saw from Berlin.
“They have a nice team overall,” he said.
“The freshmen are good. From ’06 to heavyweight, they have a nice team. They’re going to do well this year. Hopefully we’ll get better and see them again this year.”

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