The blood round produces arguably the most intense and exciting action in a wrestling tournament. And that’s due entirely to the idea that you either win, or you fail to advance. There is no gray area.
For a trio of Times Area wrestlers, the blood round was met with cold-blooded focus and execution. And because of that, Hayden Yacoviello-Andrus, Cameron Mingee and Joey Ney are state qualifiers.
That threesome prevailed in respective blood-round bouts in the Class 2A Southeast Regional Tournament Saturday at Freedom High School in Bethlehem. Victories there pushed all three into this week’s PIAA Championships in Hershey.
“I don’t really get nervous before matches but that makes me more nervous than a finals match,” said Yacoviello-Andrus, a Bermudian Springs freshman who placed third at 127 pounds.
The margins became a bit smaller for Yacoviello-Andrus (39-5), but style points matter not at this stage of the game. The freshman pulled away from Northern Lebanon’s Owen Lehman on Saturday morning in the opening round of consolations and eventually won by fall to move into the blood round. There, he met a stiff challenge from Brandywine’s Jacob Deysher, who he defeated 12-3 a week ago.
Deysher played it close to the vest and trailed only 3-1 with a minute to go, but holding solid position proved decisive for Yacoviello-Andrus who didn’t give an inch in a 3-1 victory.
“I had to beat out two seniors and they’re gunning full bore,” said Yacoviello-Andrus. “It’s pretty nerve-wracking trying to compensate for the maturity level.”
Wrestling like a seasoned vet, he avenged his district final defeat to Berks Catholic’s Marvin Armistead by scoring a 4-3 win in the consy semis. A two-point turn on the edge of the mat gave Yacoviello-Andrus a 2-0 cushion through three minutes of action. And escape made it 3-0 before Armistead hit a takedown. The Saint quickly cut the Eagle free and worked a stalling point with 19 ticks left but again Yacoviello-Andrus held solid ground and bagged the victory.
It was simply a matter of preparation, according to the young Eagle.
“All week I trained for that ankle pick,” said Yacoviello-Andrus of Armistead’s favorite attack. “For an hour-and-a-half on Tuesday I was doing one move trying to figure out what to do against him. It worked.”
Yacoviello-Andrus capped an impressive day by destroying District 11 champ Collin Ramsay of Pen Argyl, 12-1, in the third-place bout.
Mingee (139) breezed into the blood round with a fast fall, setting up a make-or-break bout with Conwell-Egan’s Ricky Horger. An escape by Horger was the only scoring through two periods, and Mingee matched his opponent early in the third period.
As he did all weekend, Mingee (34-6) clicked off a quality double-leg shot that found its mark. The takedown was awarded with 1:15 remaining, putting the Bolt junior on top, 3-1. Horger worked free and had roughly a minute to attack but it was Mingee who kept the pedal to the floor by shooting. The tactic worked beautifully as Mingee beat Horger to the punch, causing scramble situations that burned precious time but did not put the Bolt in danger.
Mingee fought off a last-gasp effort in the closing seconds to win 3-2 and book his second trip to Hershey.
“I feel like I’ve worked harder than most of my opponents so I’m not gassed in the third period,” said Mingee of his six-minute assaults. “They’re tired and I’m still going. It’s a good feeling but I need to wrestle a little bit harder in the first period and I won’t have to catch up so much.”
Mingee said having the experience of going through a regional consolation bracket last year helped on Saturday.
“It’s one match at a time and if you lose, you’re done. You just fight through,” he said. “I felt nervous before every match but pretty confident. I just had to go out and get it done.”
Mingee came up just short in the consy semis, falling to Jackson Albert of Saucon Valley, 5-4, before receiving a forfeit in his fifth-place bout.
Ney’s path to states began with a 4-3 loss to Catasaqua’s Ryan Fehr in Friday’s opening round at 145. A bye pushed the junior in Saturday morning’s consy opener where he floored Stoudamire Campbell of Columbia in less than 90 seconds. A dominant 11-1 major decision over another District 3 foe – Peter Ranck of Halifax – secured a state bid for the Canner junior. A huge period in which he extended his lead from 2-0 to 8-1 helped seal the deal.
Ney (35-13) handed Ranck a sound defeat in the sectional tournament two weeks ago, giving him a good idea of what to expect on Saturday.
“I know how he wrestles on his feet and that helped a little bit,” said Ney. “I knew I couldn’t give up anything big because he was going to try to throw.”
Like his Times Area counterparts, Ney admitted to having a bit of nerves in the blood round but was able to focus on the task at hand.
“Lot of mixed feelings; excited and nervous at the same time,” he said of the go-or-go-home match. “I try to keep myself together and stick to my stuff.
A loss in the consy semis dropped Ney into the fifth-place match where he met Fehr for the second time in 24 hours. Down 2-0 late in the third period, Ney finished off a takedown to level the bout, but Fehr reversed in the closing stages to score a 4-2 win.
As for heading to the Giant Center, the Canner broke out a grin before saying: “It feels awesome, I’m excited and it’s another opportunity to wrestle.”
Biglerville senior Devan Ponce came agonizingly close to joining Ney at states, falling 1-0 to West Perry’s Tyler Morrison in the blood round at 139. Saturday’s meeting was the rubber match this season as Morrison won by decision at sectionals and Ponce was a winner by fall last week at districts.
The only scoring of the bout in the third clash between Ponce (33-11) and Morrison was a second-period escape by the Mustang sophomore. Ponce, who was turned by Morrison in their sectional meeting, opted for a neutral start to begin the third. Despite a few quality shots the Canner senior was unable to penetrate Morrison’s defenses, which were aided by a massive height advantage.
Multiple times Morrison was able to whizzer in to negate Ponce’s shots.
Ponce eventually placed eighth after losing to Conwell-Egan’s Horger.
Like Ponce, Littlestown’s Tanner Rock went down to the wire at 172 before narrowly missing out on a state bid. The sophomore won by fall in the consy semifinals, his 29th pin of the season, to reach the blood round. There, Belmont Charter’s Shamere Davenport was just a step ahead of the game in taking a 6-3 decision. Rock (35-7) trailed 2-1 into the second period before reversing, but allowed a reversal moments later.
Down 4-3 in the third he pressed the issue but Davenport smartly countered for the win.
Rock later closed out his sophomore season with a loss in the seventh-place bout.
Times Area wrestlers eliminated in Saturday mornings’ opening round of consolations included Bermudian’s Cole Schisler (107, 27-14), Austin Anderson (121, 27-16), Reece Daniels (133, 29-12) and Jakson Keffer (139, 21-14), Biglerville’s Brody Gardner (114, 33-12), Seth Lady (152, 30-15) and Mason Keiper (215, 14-11), Littlestown’s Caden Rankin (133, 23-8) and Fairfield’s Jonathan Anders (285, 16-6). Of that group, Gardner, Lady and Anders are seniors.
The PIAA Championships begin Thursday at the Giant Center in Hershey.
PIAA Class 2A Southeast Regional
Freedom H.S. – Bethlehem
Top 6 finishers at each weight class advance to PIAA Championships
Team: 1. Faith Christian 232, 2. Notre Dame-Green Pond 189, 3. Saucon Valley 129, 4. Berks Catholic 115, 5. West Perry 102; 12. Bermudian Springs 27.5, 17. Littlestown 24, 20. Biglerville 19
107-Seidel (NLeb) p. Spofford (CE), 2:22; Detar (Trin) d. Davidheiser (FC), 3-2; 114-Smith (NDGP) p. Wolford (NLeb), 2:46; McLendon (Sus) md. Hubert (SaV), 12-0; 121-Botero (FC) p. Maciejewski (BC), 3:03; Rush (WP) d. Grogg (SaV), 4-2; 127-Harris (CE) d. Armistead (BC), 2-1; Waltenbaugh (FC) d. Ramsay (PA), 8-2; 133-Robson (CE) tf. Doi (CH), 5:43 (15-0); Puchalsky (WP) d. Haubert (Pali), 4-0; 139-Hontz (FC) d. Albert (SaV), 6-2; Vaughn (NDGP) d. Vitalo (ScV), 4-3; 145-Stein (FC) d. Riefenstahl (SaV), 7-0; Bouzakis (NDGP) d. R. Lawler (BMc), 9-3; 152-Scrivanich (SaV) p. Lenzi (BC), :45; Weidemoyer (FC) d. Zeigler (WP), 10-7; 160-Gray (Trin) d. Rohn (SaV), 8-3; Sugalski (FC) d. Hockenberry-Folk (WP), 5-3; 172-Garcia (NDGP) md. Davis (BC), 19-6; Waters (FC) md. L. Lawler (BMc), 15-4; 189-Jones (SaV) p. Miller (NWL), 2:13; Gilfoil (BMc) md. Scheib (TV), 13-0; 215-Kline (BC) d. Burns (CE), 3-1 SV; Effendian (FC) d. Blobe (NDGP), 3-1; 285-Robell (BMc) p. Wentzel (UD), :18; Compton (SaV) d. Reber (BC), 4-0
107-Berkenstock (NDGP) d. Smith (BC), 9-4; 114-Lewis (Trin) p. Pires (PJP), 2:25; 121-Peterson (UD) d. Quigley (Sus), 1-0; 127-Deysher (BH) d. Fisher (Mah), 6-4; 133-Rosa (BC) d. McQueen (NDGP), 4-2; 139-Horger (CE) md. Ponce (Big), 17-6; 145-Ranck (Hal) p. Seidel (WP), 4:59; 152-Mann (CE) d. Lucykanish (Palm), 7-0; 160-Halford (NS) d. Brady (Col), 6-4; 172-Clymer (NWL) md. Rock (Lit), 17-6; 189-Saylor (BC) d. Gloc (ST), 7-5; 215-Hutchinson (BigS) fft over Pfizenmayer (ScV); 285-Miller (ST) p. Gassert (Mid), 1:00
107-Spofford (CE) d. Polcha (New), 7-2; 114-Bagnell (CE) d. Hartranft (BC), 3-1; 121-Feltman (NDGP) p. Hartranft (Cat), 3:35; 127-Armistead (BC) md. Kelton (NDGP), 11-2; 133-Doi (CH) d. Samy (ST), 6-5; 139-Cameron Mingee (Lit) fft. over Vitalo (ScV); 145-Fehr (Cat) d. Joey Ney (Big), 4-2; 152-Lenzi (BC) p. Moore (CH), 2:39; 160-Lapenna (NDGP) fft. over Rohn (SaV); 172-Haubert (Pali) d. Davenport (Bel), 2-0; 189-Miller (NWL) d. Boden (WP), 10-4; 215-Paynter (Trin) d. Beller (Cat), 4-3; 285-Wentzel (UD) d. Troutman (TV), 5-2
107-Davidheiser (FC) d. Homan (Ham), 3-2; 114-Hubert (SaV) d. Wolford (NLeb), 8-5; 121-Grogg (SaV) p. Maciejewski (BC), 2:06; 127-Hayden Yacoviello-Andrus (Berm) md. Ramsay (PA), 12-1; 133-Wagner (FC) d. Haubert (Pali), 4-1; 139-Albert (SaV) md. Morrison (WP), 13-0; 145-R. Lawler (BM) tf. Riefenstahl (SaV), 4:41 (16-1); 152-Zeigler (WP) d. Ramsay (NDGP), 1-0; 160-Hockenberry-Folk (WP) d. Fugazzotto (NWL), 10-8; 172-L. Lawler (BM) d. Davis (BC), 3-0; 189-Scheib (TV) d. Singer (FC), 6-1; 215-Burns (CE) d. Blobe (NDGP), 5-1; 285-Reber (BC) p. Sheppard (Ham), 5:55
107-Seidel (NLeb) tf. Detar (Trin), 6:00 (15-0); 114-Smith (NDGP) md. McLendon (Sus), 10-2; 121-Botero (FC) tf. Rush (WP), 5:28 (18-3); 127-Waltenbaugh (FC) d. Harris (CE), 5-0; 133-Robson (CE) d. Puchalsky (WP), 6-5; 139-Hontz (FC) d. Vaughn (NDP), 3-0; 145-Bouzakis (NDGP) d. Stein (FC), 6-1; 152-Weidemoyer (FC) d. Scrivanich (SaV), 6-3; 160-Gray (Trin) d. Sugalski (FC), 3-1 SV; 172-Waters (FC) d. Garcia (NDGP), 5-3; 189-Gilfoil (BM) d. Jones (SaV), 6-0; 215-Kline (BC) d. Effendian (FC), 3-1 SV; 285-Robell (BM) md. Compton (NDGP), 8-0
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