GROVE CITY - Jake Johnson led six Eisenhower placewinners and a pair of Warren freshmen were impressive at the annual Fred Bell Memorial Wrestling Tournament that wrapped up Saturday at Grove City Area High School.
Johnson finished second for the Knights and teammates Dylan Baker (fourth, 126 pounds), Jordan Hefferman (5th, 220 pounds), Jeb Fedorchuk (sixth, 120 pounds), Trevor Spicer (sixth, 182 pounds) and Kenny Peters (sixth, 182 pounds) also placed for Eisenhower.
Warren got a third-place effort from standout freshman D.J. Fehlman (25-4) at 120 pounds. Classmate Jason Peterson, competing in his first varsity tournament, was sixth at 113 pounds.
Times Observer file photo
Eisenhower’s Jake Johnson, right
Johnson, competing at 195 pounds, was the lone county wrestler to make it to the finals after three Knights and two Dragons advanced to the quarterfinal round on Friday. Johnson opened Saturday with a 2-1 decision over McDowell's Andrew Bradley before squaring off with Northwestern's Stephen Maskrey in the semifinals.
In the semis, Johnson again used hard work and determination to claim a one-point victory. This time, Johnson worked overtime to take down Maskrey, 3-2, and set up a championship round showdown with Shawn Reynolds of Cambridge Springs.
Johnson started the championship bout with a takedown, building a 2-0 lead. However, Reynolds responded with a reversal to tie things at 2-2 after the first period. In the second period, Reynolds took a 4-2 lead with an escape and a point for locked hands before pinning Johnson at the 3:34 mark of the match.
"I thought Jake had a really great tournament," said Ike coach Kris Black. "He's lost to some quality kids these past few weeks, but I think he's getting a little closer each time out. Right now, the only thing that can hold him back is his belief in himself because he has all the tools to do great things."
Baker went 3-0 in consolation matches, defeating Cambridge Springs' Zach Krein, Titusville's Dalton Burns and Stroudsburg's Brian Morales to reach the consolation finals. There, Baker was pinned by Clarion's Jake Troutman and had to settle for fourth-place.
Spicer and Fedorchuk opened Saturday with wins in the quarterfinals before losing their semifinal matches. Spicer pinned Quentin Stafford of Cambridge Springs in 3:40 while Fedorchuk defeated McDowell's Coleman Cousins. Both wrestlers were pinned in the championship semifinals and were defeated in the consolation semifinals, putting them in the fifth-sixth place matches.
"All six guys who placed wrestled well, but Jeb and Trevor both stood out," said Black. "They both beat ranked kids to get into the semifinals and were right there. We would've liked to have won those last matches and finish with wins, but they were right there. We're ready to go to the next level."
Fedorchuk dropped a 6-0 decision to Grove City's Jesse Rivera in his fifth-place match while Spicer settled for sixth after dropping a 7-3 decision to Redbank Valley's Aaron Hook.
Hefferman won three matches and Peters two matches on Saturday to reach the fifth-sixth place bouts. Hefferman's third victory was an injury default win over Sharpsville's Cody Hughes, giving him a fifth-place finish. Peters finished sixth after injury defaulting to Stroudsburg's Cody Cooper.
Warren's best effort again came from the freshman Fehlman. Fehlman, who is closing in on the freshman record for wins in a season, began Saturday with a 9-0 major decision of Jamestown's Jonas Reaugh. In the semifinals, Fehlman tasted defeat for just the fourth time this season, dropping a 22-7 technical fall to eventual 120-pound champion Godwin Nyama of Brashear.
The resilient Warren youngster responded to the loss well and bounced back with a victory in the consolation finals, beating Reaugh for the second time on the day. This time, Fehlman earned a pin at the 2:01 mark of the match.
"D.J. has had terrible luck with seeding this year," said Warren coach Glenn Baldensperger. "At Tool City, he was seeded fourth, putting him on the same side of the draw as the top kid. That happened again this weekend. ut we can only control what we can control. D.J. wrestled a very strong, very smart tournament."
Peterson's Saturday included a pair of pins as the talented freshman worked his way into the fifth-sixth place bout. Peterson first pinned Titusville's Austin Cartney in 1:46 before adding a pin of Mercer's Austin King in 4:06.
Peterson's tournament ended with a 1:51 pin at the hands of Sharpsville's Joe Sofranko in the fifth-place match, however, that didn't take away from the accomplishments of his first varsity tournament.
"This was only Jason's third time in the lineup and he took advantage of it," said Baldensperger. "He's been making improvements each week and it shows. With so many freshmen jammed together around that 120 mark, it can be difficult to get them into the lineup. Jason took advantage of an opportunity and I was very happy to see that."
McDowell won the team title, finishing with 256 points. Stroudsburg was second with 204 points, Redbank Valley third with 152.5 points and General McLane was fourth with 151 points.
The Knights will get some time to rest and heal some injuries before taking to the mat February 8 at Saegertown. Warren hosts Central Tech and Erie East that same day.