Dragons wrap up strong postseason
ALTOONA – A late season wave of momentum that saw the Warren Dragons send 10 wrestlers to the Class 3A Northwest Regional ended with a pair of them just missing a trip to states.
Sophomore Ryan Madigan finished one win away from qualifying for Hershey, while senior Owen Balas ended his brilliant high school career two wins shy.
Both wrestlers – Madigan at 113 and Balas at 160 – advanced to the semifinals on Friday, and took to the mat early in the afternoon on Saturday.
Madigan started his day with a 10-1 loss in the semis to Johnny Shreffler of Central Mountain, while Balas dropped a hard-fought 8-3 decision to Coy Bastian of Selingsgrove. Those results dropped them into the consolation semifinals, where they needed to win and win once more in the consolation finals to get to states.
Madigan earned a fall in just 57 seconds over Jared Zartman of Shikellamy to extend his season, but Balas suffered a tough second period pin fall to Hunter Wright of Clearfield, ending his senior season with a record of 25-12.
Meanwhile, Madigan had a date with Cathedral Prep’s Ben Tirpak, whom he lost to via tech fall in their District 10 title bout just last week. And while the result obviously wasn’t what he desired, a 7-1 decision showed just how much progress the sophomore has made, not just in a week, but over the course of the season, as he finishes the 2018 campaign with a record of 24-12.
The Dragons who were already in the consolation brackets started their day at 9:30 a.m., with Donovan Fiscus (forfeit) and Liam Stevenson advancing and Avery Smith and John Fankhouser bowing out of the tournament.
Fiscus, Stevenson, Alex Anderson, Dominic Caprino and Joey Arnold were all eliminated in the next round, the consolation round 2, but sophomore Jamo Douvlos earned a 7-2 decision over Kiaymee Johnson of Westinghouse at 152 to keep his season alive.
In consolation round three, Douvlos battled Clearfield’s Caleb Freeland, dropping a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to wrap up his season with a record of 14-16.
And while the day didn’t end with a Dragon going to states, they nevertheless finished the season very strong, which bodes very well for the plethora of talent they have coming back and for the seniors, they can take solace on the foundation they have laid and the impact they have had on Warren wrestling.