Good as gold: Ike’s Head wins D-10 mat title

SHARON – Eisenhower’s Louie Head will make his fourth trip to regions this weekend.

But for the first time, he’ll return to Sharon with the distinction of being a district champion.

Head scored a takedown with three seconds remaining in the 160-pound final to win a 3-1 decision over Sharon’s Nick McClimans and claim his first District 10 Class AA title Saturday at Sharon High School. His win also marked Ike’s first district champion since 2008, when David Osborne won at 171 pounds.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Head said just moments after taking the podium. “It’s a goal I’ve set for myself since my freshman year and the last three years I came up short. It’s just a good feeling to come here as a senior and wrestle well, wrestle a good tournament and come out on top.”

Midway through the second period, Head found himself in a position he hasn’t been in too many times this season – behind on the scoreboard. McClimans managed an escape and held off Head’s attacks to take a 1-0 lead into the third, but the Eisenhower senior soon came through with an escape of his own to tie the match.

Head continued to push the pace, as he has all season, and delivered the decisive takedown just before the buzzer.

“You always want to be the more aggressive guy out there,” he said. “The guy who scores the most points wins. That’s something I’ve been working at … Every match – sections, districts, regions – I expect to win and expect to go on to states. It’s what I’ve always worked towards. I’m excited.”

The win capped an impressive tournament for Head, who will enter the Northwest Region Class AA Tournament with a record of 31-1. He opened with a 16-4 major decision over Franklin’s Ty Carey in the quarterfinals and won his semifinal match with an 18-2 technical fall in the second period against Joe Galvin of Iroquois.

McClimans advanced to the finals with a 3-2 decision against Corry’s Tyler Burlew and a third-period pin of Union City’s Austin Mattocks. His loss to Head in the championship match was only his second of the season.

Both Head and McClimans received byes in the first round.

Head will be the only Warren County wrestler heading to regions in Class AA after Youngsville’s Austin Spear (195) and Mason Benjamin (220) were eliminated in Saturday’s morning session. Spear was pinned by Slippery Rock’s Shane Slater in the first round of the consolation bracket and Benjamin suffered the same fate against Nick Lalleman of Franklin.

In other action, Franklin’s Dakota Geer cruised to a technical fall win over Hunter Cox of Cambridge Springs in the 182-pound final to improve his record to 34-0 on the year. Geer, a returning state champion and Division I Edinboro University commit, is ranked No. 1 in the nation at 182 pounds by InterMat Wrestling.

Greenville’s Blake Reynolds (195) and Gage Gladysz (220) are also undefeated and hit the 40-win mark with championships in their respective weight classes.

Reynolds won the District 10 Class AA team title with 216.5 total points and had five district champions – Beau Bayless (106), Cole Matthews (126), Chaise Hauck (132), Seth Hogue (145) and Gene Ringer (285). Greenville was a distant second with 158.5 points.

Fort LeBoeuf had three champions as Abe Guarriello (113), Charlie Lenox (120) and Jarrette Carter (138) took home titles. Saegertown’s Nick Monico (152) and Cody Mulligan (170) rounded out the crowd of first-place finishers.

The top six finishers in each weight class will return to Sharon High School this weekend for the Pennsylvania Northwest Region Class AA Tournament. From there, the top three move on to the PIAA Wrestling Championships March 10-12 at the Giant Center in Hershey.

That’s certainly where Head wants to be, and Eisenhower head coach Greg Gourley believes his senior standout has what it takes to get there.

“He wants to dominate every match and in the end that’s what paid off,” Gourley said after Head’s win in the district finals. “I think he’s got a good shot (at regions). If he wrestles like he did today and throughout the weekend, he’s got a very good shot at winning the whole tournament next weekend as well.”

The field gets a bit stronger every time out at this point in the season, but Head knows what to expect as a four-time region qualifier.

“I’m looking for the same results,” he said. “I go into every match looking to come out on top and I’m going to work hard to do it.”