Chestnut Ridge wrestlers dominate Penn Cambria, Greater Johnstown

Chestnut Ridge’s Jared McGill, right, takes down Penn Cambria’s Derek Brown in a 182-pound match-up, during a PIAA Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference wrestling match in Cresson, PA., Tuesday, Jan.15, 2019. McGill won by decision 17-6.

CRESSON – Jared McGill and Derek Brown both found some positives and negatives in the highlight bout of a tri-meet involving Greater Johnstown and Chestnut Ridge at Penn Cambria on Tuesday night.

McGill, who is ranked No. 1 in the state at 170 pounds by PA Power Wrestling, beat No. 3 Brown 17-6 as Chestnut Ridge rolled to a first of its two lopsided victories on the night.

McGill piled up points in the first two periods and led 17-4 entering the final period, but Brown took him down and rode him out to avoid the technical fall.

“I needed one more takedown for the tech,” McGill said. “I kind of got gassed. I need to get more used to the weight.”

McGill, a Pitt recruit, beat the top-ranked 182-pounder in Fort LeBoeuf’s Julian Goerring earlier this season and then dropped to 170 pounds for the POWERade tournament, where he downed McGuffey’s Christian Clutter, who is ranked second at that weight.

Because he briefly went back up in weight, McGill’s descent plan would not allow him to weigh in at the 170-pound weight class on Tuesday, although he was only over it by six-tenths of a pound. Instead, he wrestled 182 pounds, and Brown was more than happy to meet him there for the first of what could be several matches between the two this season. 

They could potentially wrestle again in the Thomas, regional and state tournaments over the next two months.

“Yeah, I lost, but it’s only getting me ready for states,” said Brown, who placed sixth in the PIAA tournament in 2018. “It would have been nice to win on senior night, but this means nothing to me compared to what states is going to mean.”

Coach Todd Niebauer was more blunt in his assessment of the match.

“Derek Brown didn’t show up, and that’s on me as a coach,” Niebauer said. “I don’t know if it was the hoopla of this being senior night. 

“I don’t know. I’m not making excuses for him. … One match doesn’t define him. Maybe a good butt-whooping is what we needed. We surely got that.”

Penn Cambria’s Chase Proudfit had a memorable senior night, as he beat Chestnut Ridge’s Luke Moore 6-1 at 138 pounds for his 100th career victory.

“It’s awesome,” said Proudfit, who beat Greater Johnstown’s Kasir Malcolm 11-3 in the final dual of the night. 

“You work hard to get the little moments like this. For it all to come together and to do it on senior night, it’s really special.”

Proudfit scored a first-period takedown and turned Moore in the second and third periods before Moore came up with a late escape.

“I would have liked to have scored a little more points, but he’s a tough wrestler,” Proudfit said. 

“It was a good win.”

That was one of just two Panthers’ victories against the Lions.

“Team-wise, we’re working hard every day to get better,” Proudfit said. “Chestnut Ridge is Chestnut Ridge. We’re working hard, and I can’t wait to see how we finish at the end.”

The Lions, who are sixth in PA Power’s dual-meet rankings for Class AA, beat Penn Cambria 67-6 and Greater Johnstown 66-8. The host Panthers rallied from an early deficit for a 52-30 victory over the Trojans.

Nathan Holderbaum, Daniel Moore and Dalton Seace each had a pair of pins on the night for the Lions (9-0, 9-0 in Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference). Kai Burkett, Ross Dull and Mason McVicker each delivered 12 team points for Chestnut Ridge, which only lost four bouts on the night.

Penn Cambria (4-7, 3-3) has an inexperienced team, but the Panthers got big falls from Braden Pfister, Jacob Davis and Jared Berkheimer against the Trojans (12-8, 5-4).

“I’m proud of the kids,” Niebauer said. “We knew we were outmanned against Ridge. When you’ve got a whole team that can wrestle – they’ve got a couple rock stars and a couple that are just very solid. We battled.”

J.C. Smychynsky beat Chestnut Ridge’s Austin Crouse 6-4 and picked up a forfeit against Johnstown– one of five that Penn Cambria collected in after falling behind 12-0.

Sammy Barber went 2-0 on the night for the Trojans. He beat Chestnut Ridge’s Duane Knisely, who is ranked 12th in Class AA at 220 pounds, 4-3 and recorded a first-period pin against Penn Cambria.

“Barber, he’s one of our main guys, and is getting his weight down to go down to ’97,” Johnstown coach Will Harris said. “I feel he can wrestle with anybody between ‘97 and 220. 

“Tonight showed that. He went out there and got a big win. It came down to the end with a very, very capable wrestler.”

Brock Moore had a pair of pins for Greater Johnstown.


Eric Knopsnyder covers wrestling for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Eric_Knopsnyder. Read his blog at

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