EDINBORO, Pa. – Dustin Conti won his first career Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) title while two other Golden Eagles clinched NCAA Championships berths, and the Clarion wrestling team finished fourth in the team standings at the EWL Championships hosted by Edinboro.
Conti reached the 197-pound finals for the second consecutive season, and in fact beat Lock Haven’s Tristan Sponseller for the honor for the second straight year as well. He led Sponseller 2-1 entering the third period, and took a 4-1 lead in that frame by reversing Sponseller from the down position to start. That ultimately led to a 5-2 decision and a trip to the championship match, where he faced off with Rider’s Ethan Laird.
In this championship bout, Conti started things off with a takedown and led 2-1 entering the second period. He started the period in the top position and earned more than a minute of riding time on Laird before the latter broke away to tie it up. Conti started the third period in the bottom position and escaped for a 3-2 lead. Backed up by the riding time advantage in his pocket, he remained aggressive against Laird in taking the 4-2 decision.
The redshirt senior is Clarion’s first 197-pound champion at EWL’s since Eric Mausser won the title in 2002, and one of just two in program history.
In addition to Conti, three other Golden Eagles reached their respective finals – Brock Zacherl (141), Taylor Ortz(149) and Greg Bulsak (184). It was the first time Clarion had four finalists at EWL’s since 2010. Zacherl and Bulsak secured automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, while Dom Rigous (174) and Max Wohlabaugh (165) each locked up third place.
Bulsak’s bid for an NCAA berth featured fireworks throughout the day and into the night. After the redshirt freshman finished off Edinboro’s Zach Ancewicz in the quarterfinal match, he earned a rematch with Cleveland State’s Nick Corba, who defeated him earlier this year. It seemed like Corba might get the better of Bulsak again when he took him down late in the third period, but Bulsak escaped at literally the last second to tie the bout at 3-3. Corba charged hard to start sudden victory, but Bulsak tied him up and got around him for a takedown to advance.
He dropped a 6-1 decision to Lock Haven’s Corey Hazel in the finals but still had a chance to clinch a spot in a true second place match against Bloomsburg’s Trevor Allard. The two were scoreless after one period and traded points to make it 3-3 entering the third period. Bulsak held the riding time advantage on Hazel, but the latter nearly won when he went up 5-3 after Bulsak was called for closed hands, as well as an escape by Hazel. With just one second remaining on the clock, Bulsak powered Allard to the mat and took the riding time point to claim a decision and a trip to the Big Dance.
Zacherl officially locked up his berth at NCAA championship in the 141-pound semifinal bout, beating 26th-ranked Kyle Shoop by decision to secure a spot in the 141-pound finals. He took Shoop down less than 20 seconds into the first period to open up a lead, and carried a 4-1 advantage into the second period. Zacherl added another takedown to build his advantage to 6-1, but Shoop was not about to go away quietly in the third. The Lock Haven wrestler rode Zacherl for the entire second period but could not tilt him for the necessary points as Zacherl punched his ticket to the finals, as well as Cleveland. Once in the finals, Zacherl and Cheek traded points back-and-forth until Cheek ultimately got the pin late in the first period.
Ortz reached the 149-pound finals with two wins to start the day, including a minor upset in the semifinal bout. He opened with a clinical effort against Bloomsburg’s Braden Stahlnecker, taking a 17-2 technical fall, and followed that with an exciting effort against second-seeded Gary Dinmore. The two grapplers were evenly match, with Ortz taking a 4-2 lead late in the third period. Ortz followed that up with a devastating takedown, pinning Dinmore with just three seconds left on the match clock. Against the nationally-ranked Ronnie Perry, though, Ortz was unable to generate much offense, falling 8-3 in the championship match.
Gavin Park (125)
Quarterfinals – Park over Willy Girard (BLOOM) Dec 6-3
Semifinals – JR Wert (Rider) over Park Dec 4-1
Consi Semifinals – Luke Werner (LHU) over Park Dec 6-2
Roshaun Cooley (133)
Quarterfinals – Korbin Myers (BORO) over Cooley Fall 1:38
Consi Semifinals – Anthony Cefolo (Rider) over Cooley Dec 9-4
Brock Zacherl (141)
Quarterfinals – Bye
Semifinals – Zacherl over Kyle Shoop (LHU) Dec 6-1
Finals – Evan Cheek (CSU) over Zacherl Fall 2:52
Taylor Ortz (149)
Quarterfinals – Ortz over Braden Stahlnecker (BLOOM) TF 17-2
Semifinals – Ortz over Gary Dinmore (Rider) Fall 6:57
Finals – Ronnie Perry (LHU) over Ortz Dec 8-3
Avery Shay (157)
Quarterfinals – Shay over Ryan Yorkdale (MASON) Dec 2-0
Semifinals – Andrew Shomers (BORO) over Shay MD 9-0
Consi Semifinals – Kevin Laubach (BLOOM) over Shay Fall 2:41
Max Wohlabaugh (165)
Quarterfinals – Georgio Poullas (CSU) over Wohlabaugh Dec 5-2
Consi Quarterfinals – Wohlabaugh over Garrett Griffith (MASON) MD 8-0
Consi Semifinals – Wohlabaugh over Fritz Hoehn (BORO) MD 12-3
3rd Place Match – Wohlabaugh over Georgio Poullas (CSU) Dec 6-4
True 2nd Place – Chance Marsteller (LHU) over Max Wohlabaugh MD 10-2
Dom Rigous (174)
Quarterfinals – Rigous over Kyle Murphy (BLOOM) Dec 2-0
Semifinals – Dean Sherry (Rider) over Rigous Dec 11-4
Consi Semifinals – Rigous over Levko Higgins (MASON) 6-2
3rd Place Match – Rigous over Kyle Murphy (BLOOM) Dec 1-0
Greg Bulsak (184)
Quarterfinals – Bulsak over Zach Ancewicz (BORO) Dec 3-0
Semifinals – Bulsak over Nick Corba (CSU) SV-1 5-3
Finals – Corey Hazel (LHU) over Bulsak Dec 6-1
True 2nd Place – Bulsak over Trevor Allard (BLOOM) Dec 6-5
Dustin Conti (197)
Quarterfinals – Conti over Logan Womelsdorf (BLOOM) Dec 7-4
Semifinals – Conti over Tristan Sponseller (LHU) Dec 5-2
Championship – Conti over Ethan Laird (Rider) Dec 4-2