Althouse medals but falls short of States

By on February 27, 2019


Kayde Althouse (facing) works for the takedown during his opening round bout vs. Jared Bair of New Ox-ford. Althouse went on to win the sixth place medal. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Kayde Althouse (facing) works for the takedown during his opening round bout vs. Jared Bair of New Ox-ford. Althouse went on to win the sixth place medal. Photo by Missi Mortimer

There was a bittersweet tone in the voice of Sean Lees as he discussed the wrestling weekend following the action Saturday deep from within the bowels of Hersheypark Arena.

Sweet because Ephrata junior Kayde Althouse came away with the sixth-place medal, the first wrestler to do so under the second-year coach. The bitter part was the fact that Althouse came up just one win short of advancing to the State Tournament in two weeks.

After losing his first bout of the tournament, Althouse nearly wrestled all the way back to finishing in the top four at 138 pounds, which would punched his ticket to States. Along the way, he beat Daniel Boone freshman JT Hogan, who denied him the gold at sectionals just last week. Unfortunately, his dream for States ended in the consolation semifinals as Central Dauphin’s Tye Weathersby edged the Ephrata wrestler by a 4-2 score.

Then against Manheim Central’s Conner Zeamer in the fifth-place bout, Althouse got caught in a cradle and Zeamer was able to put the clamps on him in 1:37 to close out the tournament.

It was the second time in three years Althouse (24-7) has come away with a medal as he claimed fifth as a freshman while attending Cocalico. The one goal that has eluded him is the berth in the State Tournament.

“I’ve talked you guys before about the consistency when he is on…he’s hard to beat,” Lees said of his star junior. “He had three matches where he wrestled right, and he won two and lost one. His first match out of the gate he did not wrestle the style we want. In this last match (vs. Zeamer) he did everything right. But taking those shots without setups is one of the weaknesses we try to work on. We know cradles are prevalent with the Zeamers and he did a great job fighting it…he just couldn’t get off his back.”

“I’m not overly upset because the growth that we are getting out of him, we are trying to get him ready for the next level,” he continued. “Of course it would be nice to be at States also, but it’s really about development. And from year to year he continues to develop. This isn’t the worst he’s done at Districts, but it’s also not the best.”

Althouse was the lone local wrestler to reach the podium. Freshman teammate Austin Brass (24-10) went 0-2 at 113 pounds in his first District Tournament, losing by technical fall in the opening round to eventual finalist Josh Miller (36-7) of Central Dauphin before dropping a 6-2 decision to Gettysburg’s Montana DeLawder (23-15) in his first consolation bout.

“Austin has so much to learn still,” lees said. “He’s an incredible athlete and he has a great feel for the sport. He can feel positions and use them the right way. We just have to work on his technique and get him wrestling a little more in the off-season. He’s going to continue to spend time in the gym. His strength training is on point, and he’s still developing in that area. I think he’s on track. Could we have had a better tournament? Absolutely. We could have had a better sectional tournament also. He’s just got to wrestle a little more in the off-season and stay committed in his lifting. But he’s on the right track.”

Three Cocalico wrestlers also saw their respective seasons come to a close this weekend. For seniors Ben Sola (195) and Wyatt Gehman (182), who both won sectional titles last week, neither could find that same magic this weekend as they closed out their careers, while sophomore Ben Bearinger (170), like Ephrata’s Brass, will be looking to use that District experience in the future.

Sola (31-10) opened the tournament with an exciting 5-3 win in overtime vs. Guy Lozius (21-16) of Chambersburg. In the extra session tied at three, Sola shot in and secured a double-leg takedown with 13 seconds left for the sudden victory. Sola began the quarterfinals strong vs. Penn Manor’s TJ Keener (33-13), reversing Keener to start the second period to grab a 2-0 lead. However, after Keener tied it midway through the second, the Penn Manor wrestler reversed out of the bottom to open the third to take a 4-2 lead. He then closed it out late, tilting the Cocalico wrestler for two big back points en route to a 6-2 verdict.

Sola then rebounded with a 4-0 victory over Wilson’s Bruce Vaughan (25-13) in his first consolation bout, but gave up a late takedown to Hempfield’s Chase Mathias (32-8) in his next bout which sealed a 3-1 decision by Mathias.

“Sola wrestled well,” Cocalico Coach Teddy Wolf said. “Districts is always so tough, and your mistakes must be few if you want to qualify for States. You could wrestle those guys against each other on any given day, and the results may change because so many of them are so close to one another. On Saturday, Sola fell short (vs. Mathias). If you wrestle it again, he might not fall short or he might get closer to placing. He was only two points shy of Mathias, who was only a couple points shy of qualifying and became an alternate for States. Overall, I was pleased with Ben’s performance, but it is always tough seeing a senior fall short of his goal of getting to states.”

The same could be said for Gehman (14-16), who was pinned by New Oxford’s Dylan Forbes (29-14) in 48 seconds in his opener Friday. Then in his first consolation bout, Troy Ambush (22-10) of Susquehanna Township rode a six-takedown performance on his way to a 16-6 major decision to end Gehman’s tourney.

“I thought Wyatt went out and wrestled tough,” Wolf said. “He got surprised in his first match, but he didn’t seem to let it affect him. He had a tough second match, but he kept going for it. He was working to score the whole match and came up short.”

Like Gehman, Bearinger (16-13) went 0-for-2 Friday night and was eliminated. In his first bout vs. Tanner Schaller (29-9) of Central York, Bearinger gave up a quick five-point move early in the first to key a 7-0 Schaller win. Then in consolations, Isaiah Auman (20-13) of Cedar Cliff put together his offense, turning six takedowns into a 12-4 major over Bearinger.

“I hope that Bearinger uses his first experience at Districts to grow,” said Wolf. “Getting there as a sophomore is a nice accomplishment, but I hope he realizes he can do some awesome things as a wrestler. I think this can be a motivator to come back and dominate for the next two years.”

Althouse was dominant on his feet early against Bair (34-7), securing a pair of first period takedowns. However, Bair took over on the mat in the second and third periods. After two reversals to draw to within 5-4, Bair tilted Althouse midway through the second. Then in the third, Bair reversed out from the bottom before tilting the Ephrata wrestler for a second time which clinched the 11-6 Bair win.

But Althouse shook off that first round defeat, stringing together three-straight wins. First, he hit a pair of tilts on his way to a 9-2 victory over Solanco’s Ronnie Fulton (23-18), then in his rematch vs. Hogan (26-5), Althouse opened up a 5-0 lead after two periods before giving up a meaningless takedown in the third to earn a convincing 6-2 victory.

In what turned out to be his final win of the season, Althouse built a 6-0 cushion against Exeter’s Nick Nettleton (27-15) before coasting to an 8-3 victory.

He opened against Weathersby (32-11), the eventual third-place finisher at 138, by escaping to take a 1-0 lead early in the second. But Weathersby responded with a takedown in the final seconds of the second, and reversed to start the third and key the 4-2 decision.

Then in the fifth-place bout, Althouse led 2-0 when Zeamer (29-16) slapped on the cradle to end it.

“Kayde’s making improvements,” Lees said, summing up his weekend. “The average person may not see that but we are gaining ground, and a lot of it. We are happy with a lot of things that he did this weekend. We can’t be results driven, because then we’d look at it as somewhat of a disappointment. What we have to look at is his development. Have we developed some things that we can build on for next year? We have.”


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