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Youngsville’s Clough, two Knights advance from D10

Photo courtesy of R.L. McCray Youngsville senior Collin Clough lifts Fort LeBoeuf’s Connor McChesney off the mat in winning his third-place match, 3-1, at 145 pounds in the District 10 2A Tournament in Sharon.

SHARON — Moving on.

There were no individual champions from Warren County at Saturday’s District 10 2A Wrestling Championships at Sharon High School.

That’s just fine for Youngsville senior Collin Clough, and Eisenhower senior Easton Hedman and junior Cael Black. Because they’re advancing to Saturday’s regional D9/10 tournament at Sharon High School.

“Collin (18-4) looked really good this weekend,” said his father, Youngsville head coach Paul Clough. “He finished the weekend 3-1 (at 145 pounds). His only loss was to the No. 1 seed, (Kaeden) Berger from Reynolds. He then beat a regional qualifier from Mercer, avenged a loss from last week against (Jaden) Reagle of Saegertown, and wrestled a smart match in the consi-finals against a tough opponent (Conner McChesney) from Ft. Leboeuf to take third.

“We told him all week that he needed to set the pace, control the matches and stay on his offense,” said coach Clough. “He did what we asked him to and it worked out like we thought it would. Next week is another step up in competition. He’s got a shot at placing in the top 3 and moving on, and that’s still the goal. He’s going to need to be focused and continue to wrestle his matches.”

Photo courtesy of R.L. McCray Eisenhower’s Cael Black rallied with this late takedown, but lost to Corry’s Hayden Linkerhof, 9-8, in the finals at 215 pounds.

First-year wrestler, Youngsville sophomore Ian Mancuso, was pinned in 4:14 of the fifth-place match to finish one win short of advancing.

For Eisenhower, two championship finals losses still means two regional qualifiers.

Cael Black entered districts at 19-1, his only loss to Hayden Linkerhof in the finals at last week’s sectionals.

On Saturday, a pin and major-decision victory brought a rematch in the 215-pound D10 final. Linkerhof, a Corry junior, eked out a 9-8 decision against Black for the district championship. Linkerhof and Black are both three-time regional qualifiers. Black has advanced to the state tournament the past two seasons, taking sixth in 2020.

After winning sections at 138, this is the first time Hedman (13-3) has moved out of districts to regionals. The senior earned a first-period pin over Titusville’s Nate Stearns in the D10 quarterfinals, and a 4-2 decision over Grove City’s Hunter Hohman in the semis. He lost a 5-0 decision to Mercer senior Carson Filer in the championship match for a second-place finish.

“Easton and Cael both wrestled great tournaments,” said Eisenhower coach Kris Black. “This is the first year Easton has qualified for regionals and I couldn’t be happier for him. He wrestled some smart matches … and put himself into the finals where he just came up a little short, but is moving on to regionals and positioned himself pretty well to make a bid to be in the top three next weekend. Cael started slow in the finals and came on strong at the end, but just didn’t have enough time to score enough points to win the match. But, again, he set himself up in a good spot to make a run at it again next weekend.

“The thing with postseason wrestling is you have to have a short memory from weekend to weekend,” said coach Black. “Everyone starts 0-0 each weekend and I have seen guys go from fifth or sixth at districts and end up winning the regional tournament seven days later, beating guys that they have lost to before. I have seen guys who go into these tourneys undefeated, and not win a match and be done. It is about focusing on the present, staying healthy (especially this year), and keeping focused on the match in front of you, and not get ahead of yourself. The guys that can do that are the ones wrestling in Hershey the last week of the season. We are hoping for a great week of practice and being healthy next Saturday and getting into that top three for the Super Regional tournament. Find a way.”

Eisenhower freshman Cole Kellogg finished sixth at 120 pounds.

Jacob Williams’ high school career ended on the mat as the senior was eliminated at 132, but junior teammate Gannon Jaquay did not wrestle due to quarantining from COVID precautions.

“Gannon was hitting his stride and had a great chance of making more noise in the postseason but, unfortunately, he was pulled out by no fault of his own,” said coach Black. “I know he will be back next year, stronger and better than ever … absolutely, 100 percent, a team player.”

The four regional tournaments will take place on Saturday, Feb. 27, with the 9/10 districts (Northwest Region) at Sharon. The regional bracket will feature eight wrestlers per weight class. The two south regions will qualify five per weight and the two north regions will qualify three per weight to the Super Regionals on Saturday, March 6.

Cathedral Prep finished first at Thursday’s D10 3A Individual Championships with the top two wrestlers in each weight class advancing. No Warren wrestlers advanced to 3A regionals.

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