T-D HS Wrestling

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Somerset’s Jacob Nickelson (top) wrestles Berlin’s Stuart Trulick in the consolation round of at 195 pounds during the District 5 championships in Windber. Nickelson won, 8-6.

Rare loss for Somerset’s Nickelson

By: Eric Knopsnyder

WINDBER — Jacob Nickelson is used to his matches ending in falls, just not the way his semifinal bout at the District 5 Class AA Wrestling Tournament did on Saturday.
The Somerset senior, who came into the day with a 24-1 record and a No. 4 spot in Off the Mat rankings, was on the wrong end of a fall against Tussey Mountain’s Shad Brumbaugh.
Nickelson, who was the District 5 champion at 182 last season, led Brumbaugh 2-0 in the second period when he locked up a cradle. Considering most of Nickelson’s 18 pins this season have come via the move, it looked like the beginning of the end for Brumbaugh.
But the Tussey Mountain wrestler was able to catch Nickelson in a headlock and pin him.
“He was too big of a top-heavy guy to roll through,” Nickelson said. “He had his arm free and just caught my head. Shouldn’t have done it.”
Nickelson rebounded to win his next two matches for third place and a trip to next weekend’s Southwest Regional tournament at Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown.
“I was pretty disappointed,” he said . “It was only my second loss of the year. I was expecting to win, but I just had to bounce back.”
Although he didn’t offer it as an excuse, Nickelson has battled a shoulder injury at the end of the season and wears a wrap on it when he wrestles.
“It’s a little loose. It hurts every day,” Nickelson said. “When I throw it across, it pops out of place sometimes. It’s not too bad, though.”
Nickelson was one of 34 wrestlers from the Tribune-Democrat’s coverage area to earn a trip to the regional tournament from District 5.

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Long Day: Meyersdale’s Collin Day suffered a similar fate as Nickelson.
The 126-pounder, who was a state qualifier a year ago, got pinned in the semifinals by Chestnut Ridge’s Trent Crouse. Day scored a quick takedown in the match, but Crouse gained a quick reversal. Day nearly escaped at the end of the first period, but Crouse took him directly to his back. Day thought his shoulder was still off the mat and was incredulous when the official called the fall.
“I didn’t think I was pinned, but you can’t talk a ref out of it,” he said with a grin.
Day could afford to smile because, like Nickelson, he battled back to take third place.
“Third’s not the ideal position, but I knew I wanted to get back to regionals and maybe back to states, so I had to push,” he said.

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Fourth time is a charm: Braden Fochtman lost the first two times he wrestled North Star’s Tevin Mostoller this season, but he won the final two. In the end, that was the difference between qualifying for the regional tournament and going home empty-handed.
The Berlin Brothersvalley freshman beat Mostoller 9-3 in the consolation final at 138 pounds.
“It was kind of scary because I was worried about beating him,” Fochtman said. “I know I beat him once, but he beat me twice, so I knew it was going to be a good match.”
Fochtman will join his brother Bryce, a sophomore who won the 160-pound title, and four other Mountaineers in Johnstown next week.

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Lone star: It wasn’t a performance that North Star fans will want to remember, but the traditional power’s tournament could have been a bit worse. Despite a ninth-place finish and no finalists, both of which are believed to be the worst in the school’s 42-year history, the Cougars didn’t get shut out of the regional tournament.
“It was definitely disappointing,” first-year coach Tim Rosa said. “I thought we had some more qualifiers. But that’s how it works out, I guess.”
Corey Fritch placed third at 152 pounds to give North Star a regional representative. He beat Berlin’s Blake Miller 9-4 for the all-important third-place finish.
“Real proud of Corey Fritch,” Rosa said. “I think that was the fifth time they had wrestled this year. They were 2-2 before that. Corey came out with a nice match. He wrestled real solid, real smart. Blake is an outstanding wrestler. He’s funky and hard to wrestle. Corey wrestled him as well as he could.”

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