Northern Tier Sports Report
TOWANDA — Coming off their loss to Athens on Tuesday, Wyalusing coach Michael Earle didn’t know what to expect in their rivalry match with Towanda Friday.

At the end of the night, though, he couldn’t be happier holding the Standing Stone Trophy, as the Rams won 47-12 in NTL action.

“It always feels good to come into a league rival and win,” said Earle. “It was really important with everything to bounce back after Athens, so I was real pleased. We only had a practice in between there, so to get them that focused for another big league match was important, and I thought they responded well.”

The Knights came a little undermanned but coach Bill Sexton had hoped to see a little more from his wrestlers.

“You show up and compete with what you have,” he said. “You can’t look at not having people, you just have to go with what you’ve got. We put nine guys on the mat tonight, and we needed more out of the n one than we put out there. Our two guys at the end of the line-up did their job, and we battled in a few other matches, but we did not come up with a sound enough effort to be competitive tonight.”

Wyalusing took nine of the 11 weights wrestled on the mat with 113 and 120 double forfeits. It’s rare to see any forfeits between these two teams, let alone double forfeits, but it fit with the type of season it’s been trying to wrestle during a pandemic.

“It’s definitely is a different atmosphere than I’ve ever been around,” said Earle. “Usually the Towanda-Wyalusing thing is so loud, and has so much hype around it, but just like everything else, it feels a little weird.”

Zachary Shaffer (189), Clayton Carr (106), Skyler Manahan (145) and Nicholas Woodruff (152) all scored falls for the Rams while Colbrin Nolan (160) earned a technical fall. Brian Arnold (172) and Cade McMicken (138) each had a decision as Hunter Manahan (126) and Owen Hadlock (132) notched forfeits.

Clay Watkins (215) and Alex Perez (285) both had falls for the Knights.

The win was Watkins’ 50th career victory, something that Sexton believes motivated him for the quick fall.

“Alex was definitely more focused tonight,” said Sexton. “I think he had that in the back of his mind, to give a little bit better effort than what he did against Canton.”

Things opened up at 172 as Arnold took a 2-0 lead off a strong shot against Towanda’s Brandon Lantz. Lantz would get an escape point to cut it to 2-1 after the first period.

Lantz took down to start the second period and rolled out of Arnold’s grip to tie things up at 2-2. 

In the third Arnold started down and was quick off the whistle with a reversal. Lantz would get an escape to cut it to 4-3 but needed a takedown to get the win.

As time ran down he tried a shot but Arnold sprawled then spun around Lantz for his third takedown of the match, winning 6-3.

At 189 Shaffer would pin Spencer Jennings in 4:10. The Ram went up with a first period takedown, then added another in the second period to take a 6-1 lead. 

Starting on top in the third, Shaffer flipped Jennings over off the whistle to get the pin.

Down 9-0 Watkins got his team back in action quickly. Facing Wyalusing’s Zachary Fenton, he pick him up and threw him to the mat, then cradled him up for the 27 second fall.

At 285 Perez was equally aggressive early, going behind Wyalusing’s Dereck Baldwin after the two tied up for the takedown. He got Baldwin to the mat, cradled him up and pinned him in 51 seconds to give the Knights a 12-9 lead after the first four weights.

Coming back down to the lightweights, Carr used a double leg shot to take down Towanda’s John Parker. From there he was able to turn him for the fall in 1:40 to retake the lead 15-12.

After 113 and 120 Hunter Manahan (126) and Owen Hadlock (132) notched their forfeits to put Wyalusing up 27-12.

At 138 fans got their money’s worth with McMicken and Towanda’s Dillon Gallagher. McMicken scored the first takedown but a locked hands call gave Gallagher a point.

Right off the whistle on the restart Gallagher was able to score a reversal, then hold McMicken down the rest of the period to go up 3-2.

McMicken took down in the second period and scored an escape to tie things up. He scored off a shot, to go up 5-3, but Gallagher again responded, spinning around McMicken to notch another reversal. 

McMicken look the lead with an escape, then pushed his advantage with a takedown with 1.5 seconds left in the period.

He entered the third up 8-5, but Gallagher scored an escape to cut it to 8-6. However, time got short for the Knight, who tried a throw with seconds to go. McMicken broke his grip and jumped behind him for the final takedown and 10-6 win.

At 145 Skyler Manahan used an ankle pick on Towanda’s Garrett Chapman to get a takedown. Once he was on top he turned him for the fall in 1:08.

The match of the night may have been 152 as Woodruff and Towanda’s Evan Johnson got into a scramble seemingly from the get go. Johnson was able to pin Woodruff’s left arm behind his back but Woodruff forced a stalemate.

The second time, though, Johnson made good on the move, scoring a takedown to go up 2-0 in the first period. He tried turning Woodruff, but lost his grip, as Woodruff was able to pounce for the reversal, knotting things up at 2-2.

Johnson was able to ride Woodruff out in the second period, then took down in the third, setting up an escape to win.

In the third it looked like Johnson would get that escape, but Woodruff was able to stay on top. As time ticked down Woodruff was able to get control under both of Johnson’s arms, flipping him over and garnering the fall in 5:42.

“I think he likes those close matches,” Earle said about Woodruff. “He’s been in a lot of them this year. It was kind of a weird decision of whether to cut him there or not, but I had confidence. He wrestled a lot and he’s very good on top, so it came out for us that time.”

In the final match at 160 Nolan scored three takedowns, a reversal and four sets of back points to get the 19-2 technical fall win over Towanda’s Zayne McPeak in 2:24.

The Rams are off until next week but Towanda is back on the mats against on Saturday at Athens’ Jarvis Tournament. It will be a round robin format.

Sexton hopes to see his wrestlers use the mat time to improve as they hit the mid point of this truncated season.

“I’m looking for them to get 4-5 matches in,” said Sexton. “Hopefully we’ll get out there, get some mat time and get better.”

CUTLINE: Wyalusing’s Nick Woodruff works for the fall against Towanda’s Evan Johnson at 152 pounds…PHOTOS BY CHRIS MANNING


172: Brian Arnold (W) dec. Brandon Lantz, 6-3

189: Zachary Shaffer (W) fall Spencer Jennings, 4:10

215: Clay Watkins (T) fall Zachary Fenton, :27

285: Alex Perez (T) fall Dereck Baldwin, :51

106: Clayton Carr (W) fall John Parker, 1:40

113: Double Forfeit

120: Double Forfeit

126: Hunter Manahan (W) fft

132: Owen Hadlock (W) fft

138: Cade McMicken (W) dec. Dillon Gallagher, 10-6

145: Skyler Manahan (W) fall Garrett Chapman, 1:07

152: Nick Woodruff (W) fall Evan Johnson, 5:42

160: Colbrin Nolan (W) tech. Zayne McPeak, 19-2, 2:24

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