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NTL WRESTLING: TOWANDA RALLIES TO BEAT WYALUSING, TAKE BACK THE STANDING STONE TROPHY (2022-01-23)

CHRIS MANNING
Northern Tier Sports Report
WYALUSING — Wyalusing started strong, but Towanda ended stronger, rallying from a 24-6 deficit to beat their rivals 39-30 to take back the Standing Stone Trophy during NTL wrestling action Saturday.

The Rams got either falls or forfeits in four of the first five matches to build their 18 points lead, but nine straight points from Towanda saw them cut it to 24-15.


A Wyalusing decision followed, putting them up 27-15, and on the precipice of clinching the match, when the Knights rattled off four straight pins - from 152 to 189 - to seal the victory.


“Every year we list a number of goals for our team, a long list of them, from small things to big things, and this is one of the big things,” said Towanda coach Bill Sexton. “The goal was to bring it back, and we did that.”


Two of the biggest matches were at 152 and 172, two bouts that went to Towanda that Wyalusing felt they had a good shot to win.


“They were matches that we needed to go the other way,” said Wyalusing coach Mike Earle. “But it’s always a team effort. Those two matches are not why we lost, or anything like that, it was a total team effort the whole time. I felt like we got the match-ups that we wanted, and I thought it worked out well with CJ moving up to 120.”


The match turning pin of the night came at 172, as Towanda’s Aiden Miller was losing 6-4 to Wyalusing’s Brian Arnold late in the third period when he got a reversal and fall in 5:37, a nine point swing that the Rams weren’t able to recover from.


It was Rylee Sluyter at 132, though, that started the run for Towanda, with his 12-6 decision over Cade McMicken.


“Really, we needed to stop what they were doing at 132,” Sexton said. “Rylee Sluyter went out and did that, going up a weight not that’s down to 126. But the big thing, he went out and stopped their momentum; and then, as you know, we got rolling from there.”


Riley Vanderpool (138) followed with a fall in 3:21 over Wyalusing’s Owen Hadlock to cut the deficit to nine points, but at 145 Hunter Manahan scored a 4-0 win over Towanda’s Sawyer Robinson to push their lead back to 12.


“We lost a bout at 145, but it was a competitive six minute match that we didn’t give up bonus points,” said Sexton. “It kept us in it. And then we went right back to work again at 152, with (Jace) Gunther with the fall.”


Gunther pinned Wyalusing’s Skyler Manahan in 1:40 to cut it to 27-21.


Then came Mason Higley (160), who’s had a trying week off the mat.


“He came back from the Wellsboro match, and came home to that fire in the middle of the night,” remarked Sexton. “I mean, that’s a whole different world there in terms of pressure on a kid. I said to him tonight, ‘you’ve been through a lot this week, this going to seem like it’s a walk in the park for you, going out and wrestling a match.”


Higley got his fall over Jordan Lamb in 5:05 to tie things up at 27-all.


“And then Aiden Miller, we rolled the dice there,” explained Sexton. “Aiden’s been bouncing in and out  for us from 172 to 215, and we knew if we put (Bryant) Green out there, they were going to forfeit to him. We knew we were going to get that match-up with Miller and Arnold no matter what.”


Miller’s fall effectively won the match for them, with Green getting his pin over Wyalusing’s Aaron Carr in 1:00 to shut the door.


“Miller came up with a big fall for us in a real tight match that could have gone either way,” said Sexton. “And then Green went out and finished it for us, which I hope you’re going to be able to get from your lone senior in the line-up.”


This was definitely wild from the onset as Wyalusing bumped Nick Woodruff up to 285 to take on Towanda’s Jared Gunther. Woodruff got to his left leg for a takedown, then stacked him for the fall in 1:12 to put the Rams up 6-0.


The two teams then traded forfeits, with Wyatt Stranger (106) getting one for Towanda, followed by Evan Johnson (113) of the Rams to make it 12-6 Wyalusing.


At 120 C.J. Carr bumped up and got a first period fall over Shane Atwood in 1:55 to make it 18-6 Rams.


A forfeit to Wyalusing’s Ayden Hunsinger at 126 gave Wyalusing their largest lead at 24-6.


That Ram momentum continued early in the bout at 132 as McMicken went up 4-0 on Sluyter with a takedown and two quick back points. Sluyter would escape, then score a single leg takedown to cut it to 4-3.


In the second Slutyer out scored McMicken 7-2, thanks to an early reversal and four back points. McMicken would get a reversal himself, but couldn’t Sluyter, as the Knight freshman led 10-6.


In the third Sluyter was able get one more takedown, then rode McMicken the rest of the period for the 12-6 win.


At 138 Vanderpool used a takedown and cradle to go up 5-0 on Hadlock, but the Ram senior made it to the second period. There, Vanderpool got another takedown, and two sets of back points before getting the fall.


Hunter Manahan was able to stem the tide at 145, getting a first period takedown off a scramble to go up 2-0 over Robinson. Hunter then rode Robinson the entire second period, before getting a reversal in the third for the 4-0 win.


At 152 Jace got a takedown off a throw on Skyler Manahan to go up 2-0. Jace then rode Skyler, who was able to get to his feet. That’s when Jace returned to him to the mat, and when he did, it was straight to Skyler’s back to get the fall.


Higley then racked up a big score at 160, beginning with a takedown on Lamb to go up 2-0 in the first period. In the second Higley scored a reversal, with Lamb getting a locked hands call to make it 5-0. 


Lamb would get an escape point, but Higley took him down again, and rode him out to go up 7-1. In the third Higley let Lamb up to make it 7-2, before getting a takedown and back points for a 12-2 lead before nabbing the fall.


The match was now tied 27-27, and Towanda had all the momentum, but it was Arnold coming out strong, getting a double leg takedown to go up 2-0. Miller would get an escape to cut it to 2-1.


Arnold would build 5-1 lead in the second with an escape, followed by a takedown. Miller would score an escape to start the third, then added a takedown to cut it to 5-4.


He let Arnold up, making it 6-4. Late in the period Arnold was trying to get around Miller’s leg for another takedown but stretched himself too far, with Miller able to throw him to his back, and get the pin for the 6-point lead.


At 189 Green got a quick fall over Aaron Carr in 1:00 to seal the victory.


In the final bout Wyalusing’s Alex Hunsinger used a second period reversal, combined with a third period takedown and back points to win 7-2 over Spencer Jennings.


It’s been no secret that Towanda’s had a special freshmen class, but, at this point of the season, Sexton doesn’t consider them freshmen.


“We can’t make excuses because we’re a line-up full of freshmen, and non-lettermen,” he explained. “So, by this stage of the season, you’ve all earned your letters. You’re all varsity wrestlers, and you need to wrestle like varsity wrestlers. And they have.”


The Rams are coming off a 2-point loss to Athens on Friday night, a make-up from earlier in the week, but Earle isn’t going to use that for why they lost on Saturday.


“We don’t make excuses,” he said. “We just wrestle the best we can, and we just happen to have two big NTL matches back to back.”


Wyalusing opened the day inducting their new Hall of Fame inductees: Jason Crawford, Dylan Otis, the 1971 team, and the 2012 team.


The Rams will finish out their NTL season by traveling to NP-Liberty on Tuesday.


Towanda ends the season with three of the top NTL teams nearly in a row, and so far they’re 1-1 - they lost a hard fought battle with Canton, rallied to beat Wyalusing, and now travel to Athens next week to end their league season.


“We’re going to work on a few things that, maybe, we need to polish up on a little bit,” said Sexton. “We’re going to try and be better. There’s a lot of room to improve, to try and be better, and we’re going to try and take another one on the road, because I’m sure they’re going to be ready to wrestle us. We’re wrestling right now for district seeds, and I want to wrestle in our gym. I’d like to hang on to that number five seed, where we’re sitting right now. I don’t want to go on the road, and I’d like to be where we’re at.”


TOWANDA 39, WYALUSING 30

285: Nick Woodruff (W) fall Jared Gunther, 1:12

106: Wyatt Stranger (T) fft

113: Evan Johnson (W) fft

120: C.J. Carr (W) fall Shane Atwood, 1:55

126: Ayden Hunsinger (W) fft

132: Rylee Sluyter (T) dec. Cade McMicken, 12-6

138: Riley Vanderpool (T) fall Owen Hadlock, 3:21

145: Hunter Manahan (W) dec. Sawyer Robinson, 4-0

152: Jace Gunther (T) fall Skyler Manahan, 1:40

160: Mason Higley (T) fall Jordan Lamb, 5:05

172: Aiden Miller (T) fall Brian Arnold, 5:37

189: Bryant Green (T) fall Aaron Carr, 1:00

215: Alex Hunsinger (W) dec. Spencer Jennings, 7-2


PHOTO CAPTION: Towanda coaches (right to left) Mike Maurer, Jeremy Sluyter, and Bill Sexton stand next to Wyalusing coach Mike Earle after winning the Standing Stone Trophy…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING




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