Knights finish off strong showing at Tool City tourney

MEADVILLE, Pa. – After a very strong first day at the Tool City Tournament, Eisenhower was perhaps hoping for a little better on Saturday.

Nevertheless, the Knights finished eighth in the loaded 25-team field and had six wrestlers reach the medal stand in the 40th edition of the prestigious tournament.

Logan Jaquay (113) and Cael Black (195) both earned third place finishes, Alex Barnett (160) fifth, Easton Hedman (126) sixth and Joe Bauer (220) and Josh Bortz (138) seventh.

“We were hoping for a top five finish,” said Eisenhower assistant coach Dennis Johnson. “We weren’t quite able to get there, but we did have six placewinners.”

Jaquay, Black, Barnett and Hedman all qualified for the semifinals on Friday and all had aspirations of getting to the first-place match in their respective weight classes.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as Jaquay lost a 13-4 major decision to Braden Bower of Williamsport, Black a 7-3 decision to Titusville’s Parker Harvey, while Hedman was pinned (2:47) by Brockway’s Anthony Glasl and Barnett fell in a 13-1 major decision to Nick Marcenelle of North Allegheny.

Jaquay battled back, beating Brockway’s Mark Palmer by an 8-0 major decision for third, as did Black with a 5-4 decision against Carter Felker of Penns Valley.

That only begins to tell part of the story for Black, as he went to the final rideout in triple overtime and got an escape with eight seconds left.

It was part of a masterful showing by the freshman.

“One of the toughest performances I’ve ever seen in a tournament, let alone a freshman,” Johnson said. “Twelve minutes after his semifinal loss he had to wrestle guy the kid he knocked off night before, the No. 1 seed and had to do it in overtime.

“Jaquay had a really tough match in the semis against a top ranked AAA wrestler. At this point in the season, that’s really good for him.”

In his final match of the tournament, Barnett beat Jackson Carico of Cambridge Springs via a 10-0 major decision, while Hedman was pinned by Clearfield’s Luke Freeland in his fifth-place match.

“Barnett and Hedman wrestled well over the course of the tournament,” said Johnson.

Bauer and Bortz battled through the consolation brackets to earn their medals.

Bortz earned a 10-4 decision over North Allegheny’s Ian Branstetter for his seventh place finish and Bauer was dominant in earning an 11-0 major decision over Justin Smith of Brockway.

Jesse Gourley, who has fought his way into the lineup at heavyweight, finished one win shy of the medal stand, while freshman Tristen Wilcox earned his first career varsity pin in 2:15 against Franklin’s Christian Alcorn.

Brockway (178) edged Penns Valley (176) and North Allegheny (171.5) for the team title. Eisenhower finished with 126.

The Knights are back in action Wednesday with a huge Region 3 match at Union City.

– – –

Team: 1. Brockway 178; 2. Penns Valley 176; 3. North Allegheny 171.5; 4. Boiling Springs 145.5; 5. Titusville 136; 6. Meadville 129.5; 7. Fort LeBoeuf 128.5; 8. Eisenhower 126.5; 9. Williamsport 122; T-10. General McLane, Saegertown 110; 12. Shikellamy 107; 13. Clearfield 101.5; 14. Olean 100; 15. Cambridge Springs 92.5; 16. Moshannon Valley 85; 17. Maplewood 79; 18. Fox Chapel 67; 19. Girard 47; 20. Punxsutawney 35; 21. Cochranton 34.5; 22. Franklin 23; 23. Sharpsville 16; 24. Lakeview 15; 25. North Catholic 11