ALTOONA – If you were a Forest Hills wrestler Saturday afternoon at the Altoona Area High School Fieldhouse, chances are you enjoyed one heck of a day.
The Rangers racked up the District 6 Class 2A championship by 16½ points (96½) while Jackson Arrington won the Outstanding Wrestler Award and Jake Strayer was named Coach of the Year.
“The guys put a lot of hard work into this,” Strayer said. “A lot of adversity this year with the circumstances of COVID and everything. They came in the room every day and the deserve all the credit.”
Arrington – a North Carolina State commit – scored a pin at the 1:32 mark of the second period against St. Joseph’s Zack Witmer at 132 pounds.
“It’s different every year,” Arrington said. “My first year, I won a closer match, last year was a closer match. This year I think I did a real good job of saying I’m here, and I ended up with a pin in the finals.
“My pace just breaks people,” he said. “Whenever you put up that many points and you’re getting takedown after takedown, it’s easier to get those pins, especially against better kids.”
“He’s really figured it out this year, pressuring forward and circling,” Strayer said. “If he wrestles that way, I don’t think anyone can stay with him. I’ve been coaching for a little while now, and he definitely has what it takes.”
Arrington wasn’t the only one on the medal podium for Forest Hills. Easton Toth (126, 3-0 over Cooper Gilham of Bald Eagle Area) and Ryan Weyandt (160, 7-2 over Hunter Weitoth of Philipsburg-Osceola) both took home gold while Dustin Flinn grabbed silver (145).
Tony Dipaola (113) and Noah Teeter (138) both took fourth place in their weight classes.
Hudson Holbay of Westmont Hilltop finds himself back at the top of the medal stand this time around after coming off of injury last year.
The Hilltopper won his second district championship in the last three years at 152 pounds after knocking off Zeke Dubler of Glendale, by decision, 3-1, but he’s not even thinking about the circumstances that could’ve derailed the season.
“I’m not even worried about that,” Holbay said. “I’m worried about getting a regional title and getting on to states.”
His brother Hunter, took 3rd at 172, defeating Bald Eagle Area’s Brady Proctor.
Bishop McCort Catholic freshman Mason Gibson has enjoyed a spectacular season so far, being ranked the top wrestler in the country according to PA Power Wrestling.
Gibson added District 6 gold to his resume after pummeling Tyrone’s Hunter Walk by technical fall 23-8 in the 120-pound final.
"Every tournament, I just come in with the mindset of tech falling kids,” Gibson said. “If I don’t come in with that mindset, I don’t know what else to do. My coaches are always saying score points, score points, score points.”
Crimson Crusher head coach Anthony Walters couldn’t be more impressed with how the freshman has performed this season.
“Mason has already had that experience,” he said. “A lot of freshmen come into their high school career, and they haven’t had any high school experience whatsoever. Mason already competed as an eighth grader in Super 32 High School Bracket. Mason does a great job filtering that stuff out, and he’s definitely a kid on a mission. I’m proud of him for that.”
Meanwhile Ian Eckenrode from Cambria Heights claimed the top spot at 189 after he defeated Huntingdon’s Myles Baney, 4-0. Richland’s Cooper Warshel ended the day as the top grappler at 145 after grabbing the 12-4 major decision over Forest Hills’ Dustin Flinn.