J.C. Smychynsky and Jared McGill each pinned state champions as Team Pennsylvania routed Team Maryland/West Virginia 57-12 on Sunday in the fourth edition of the Border Brawl Mason-Dixon Wrestling Classic.
The Keystone State won 14 of the 17 matches in the event, which pits the top senior wrestlers from The Tribune-Democrat's coverage area against their counterparts from the Cumberland Times-News' coverage area.
Penn Cambria's Smychynsky won the Nick Roberts Memorial Award as Pennsylvania's outstanding wrestler after he pinned Austin Gibson, a West Virginia state champion from Bridgeport, at 170 pounds.
“I thought it was a good experience to wrestle with that caliber of kids,” said Smychynsky, who hopes to wrestle in college but hasn't settled on a school. “I talked it over with my coach. We talked about what I needed to do to win. We knew it was going to a tough match, but I wrestled him like everybody else.
When Gibson tried to stand up in the second period, Smychynsky was able to lock up a cradle and pin him.
Hunter Park won the Tom Patterson Memorial Award as the outstanding wrestler for Team Maryland/West Virginia. The Southern Garrett wrestler pinned Richland's Eric Wagner at 210 pounds.
“I hit a fat-man roll, clinched the elbow, and he posted up (and) I just pinned him” Park said.
Despite the team scored, Park said he enjoyed competing in the event.
“I had a blast,” he said. “Great environment. A lot of kids that I didn't know, I'm friends with now. I love the partnership throughout the different teams. Overall, it was an amazing experience.”
There will be a Backyard Brawl at the Border Brawl.
McGill, a Pitt recruit, pinned Anthony Carman, a West Virginia recruit, in the feature bout at 182 pounds. The two got into a nice scramble in the first period before McGill used a takedown and a tilt for a 5-0 lead.
In the second, the Chestnut Ridge wrestler reversed Carman, who is from John Marshall, and pinned him.
“I got to my feet,” McGill said. “He had my arm caught and tried to pull me back on top of him. I slipped my arm out, hopped over and got him in a headlock.”
McGill and heavyweight Dalton Seace got to wrestle for Chestnut Ridge coach Greg Lazor one more time. Lazor announced last week that he is stepping down as the Lions coach.
“It was a neat little way to finish it up,” Lazor said. “It was fun. It doesn't matter what you're doing, once it begins it's a competition, and you want to succeed.”
The Pennsylvania squad should feel right at home in the fourth annual Border Brawl Mason-Dixon Wrestling Classic.
The opening bouts were all close, with Pennsylvania's Seth Link (Cambria Heights) winning 5-3 over Steven Dahl (South Carroll) and Jack Bruce (Blairsville) beating Smithsburg's Shane Hovermale 4-1.
Dahl and Bruce each wrestled a pair of matches in the dual to help fill out the lineup. Dahl dropped a 5-1 decision to Tyler Kirkpatrick – Link's Cambria Heights teammate – at 152. Bruce moved over to Team Maryland/West Virginia for his second match, a 1-0 loss to Penn Cambria's Chase Proudfit.
Maryland/West Virginia got its first win at 113. Noah Hodges, who won 205 career matches for Grafton High School, held off Greater Latrobe's Marino Angelicchio for a 9-7 victory.
The fourth annual Border Brawl Mason-Dixon Wrestling Classic might feature the strongest lineup ever to come north for the event.
Forest Hills' Byron Daubert beat University's Jacob Simpson 4-2 at 132, and Central Cambria's Austin Washic followed with a 9-1 major decision over South Carroll's Cam Werner that pushed Pennsylvania's lead to 13-3.
Southern Garrett's Jace Guy scored a first-period takedown and a third-period reversal in a 4-1 victory over Greater Johnstown's Brock Moore at 143 pounds.
Pennsylvania won the next five bouts, with Forest Hills' Bob Krug beating Keyser's Tyler Mason 10-5 to start the run. Bedford's Nathan Gabriel racked up four sets of nearfall points in a 14-0 major decision of Moorefield's Matthew Wright at 150, and Smychynsky followed with his fall.
Pat Pecora has seen and done just about everything in wrestling, from coaching one of the sport’s all-time greats in Carlton Haselrig to guiding national championship teams and individuals, but the hall of fame coach still enjoys helping youngsters learn and grow.
Derek Brown, Smychynsky's Penn Cambria teammate, won 11-0 over Jacob Berisford at 175, and North Star's Hunter Tremain pinned Alec Burgess of John Marshall in 1:08.
“It was nice to finally be on the winning side of one of Tremain's matches,” Lazor joked.
Park stopped the run with his pin at 210, but Team Pennsylvania won the final five bouts, starting with a 4-1 victory by Central Cambria's Johnathan Croft over Petersburg's Alec Burgess.
After a slow start, Seace and Southern Garrett's Cole Sweitzer put on a show at 285, with the wrestlers going back and forth before Seace came up with a pin.
Notes: Pennsylvania improved to 4-0 in the Border Brawl. … A portion of the proceeds go to benefit the family of wrestling official Aaron Elliott to help cover medical expenses associated with his son Jeremiah. … Local Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling placewinners were honored at intermission.