T-D HS Wrestling

Pairings set for District 6 wrestling duals

By: Eric Knopsnyder

Matt Beaujon isn’t going to apologize for the fact that his Westmont Hilltop wrestling team is the No. 4 seed in the District 6 Dual–Meet Tournament.
And Cambria Heights coach Mike Eckenrode says he shouldn’t have to.
The Hilltoppers (3–0) would need to win as many matches in the competition as they have wrestled all season in order to capture the district title. Westmont’s season has been disrupted by an outbreak of herpes gladiatorum, or mat herpes. The program was shut down for more than a week and ended up forcing the postponement of scheduled matches with Bedford, Cambria Heights, Central Cambria and Forest Hills. Weather problems force, the postponement of duals with Penn Cambria and Somerset.
“We just had a tough time getting matches in,” Beaujon said. “It just happened to work out that way. We wrestled three dual meets and we beat one team (United) that ended up making the dual–meet tournament.”
Fifth–seeded Cambria Heights will face No. 12 Central at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Westmont with the Hilltoppers taking on the winner at 7:30.
Huntingdon, West Branch and Mount Union claimed the top three spots and will receive a first–round bye and host lower seeds. All matches are scheduled for 6 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
United is the seventh seed and will take on No. 10 Juniata with the winner advancing to face host West Branch. Glendale will battle Moshannon Valley at Huntingdon while Blairsville and Penns Valley will square off at Mount Union with the winners taking on the host schools in the quarterfinals.
The semifinals will be wrestled at 5 p.m. Saturday at Tyrone with the championship round at 6:45.
The District 6 seeding formula gave Westmont 100 points each for its victories over United, Greater Johnstown and Richland. The Hilltoppers got 80 power points for the United victory and 20 bonus points for beating Class AAA Johnstown. The total of 400 points was divided by the number of matches wrestled to give Westmont 133.33 points. Cambria Heights, meanwhile, went 6–2, but only had 106.25 points according to the formula.
Eckenrode said he wasn’t concerned with what some see as a flaw in the system.
“I don’t worry about it,” he said. “Whatever it is it is. You have to have a point system somehow. Maybe it’s not going to work out right all the time, but it’s going to work out. Now that you have 12 teams, somebody’s not going to get bumped out for one or two matches and the best team is probably going to win anyway.”
Eckenrode doesn’t have a problem with where the Highlanders ended up in the bracket.
“I think we got a good seed,” he said. “The two teams we have to face, Central and Westmont, I think any of us can win those matches – right down to the wire.”
The Highlanders have been getting healthier, with two wrestlers that Eckenrode feared might miss the entire season – Joe Davis and Austin Gill – having recently returned to the lineup. Davis, a two–time District 6 runner–up, placed third at the Thomas Subaru tournament on Saturday, but Gill did not wrestle after going 2–2 in his return to the lineup a week earlier.
“He’s questionable,” Eckenrode said of Gill. “He might have come back too early. He might wrestle in the duals. It’s nice having Davis back. He’s not 100 percent yet, but he’s back.”
Beaujon wasn’t tipping his hand as to whether he would rather face the Scarlet Dragons (5–4) or the Highlanders.
“Any time you make the duals, you have a tough road ahead of you,” he said. “The teams that make the duals make it for a reason.”
Whichever team advances from Westmont on Tuesday night will be a decided underdog on Saturday, as the the top three seeds have been excellent.
“Whoever comes out of the first match Tuesday night will have to go wrestle with West Branch, Mount Union and Huntingdon,” Eckenrode said. “Those guys are really stacked, so they’ll have their work cut out for them.”