ADAMS TWP — Talk about riding momentum.
Butler’s wrestling team feasted off it Wednesday night while posting a 62-9 dual match victory at Mars in a mutual section opener.
The Golden Tornado produced six pins and a technical fall while building a 62-0 lead on the Planets. Mars avoided the shutout by getting wins from seniors Andy Selker and Ryan McMahon in the night’s final two matches.
“Those wins were huge for us,” Mars coach Zach Maiser said. “When you’re down 53-0 or whatever, the team is going to feel down. Those guys showed they’re capable of picking us back up.
“Butler is a teriffic program that puts a good team on the mat every year. This is no exception.”
The Tornado won the 25-team Chartiers-Houston tournament last weekend, edging runner-up South Park by half a point, before venturing to Mars.
“Our kids are excited right now and it showed tonight,” Butler coach Scott Stoner said. “We were aggressive in most cases and I’m particularly pleased with how our inexperienced kids did in the upper weight classes.”
Zach Raible at 170 pounds, J.D. Boganac at 220 and Damian Wheeler at heavyweight — none of whom were in the Tornado lineup a year ago — won by pin. Also gaining pins for Butler were Cody Houston at 132, Jeremiah Bortmas at 145 and Zach Weaver at 195.
Blake Caudill won via technical fall midway through the second period at 120.
“J.D. is pitting in a lot of work and we coaches have been pleasantly surprised by Damian Wheeler’s athleticism,” Stoner said. “He’s been a wrestler for all of 17 days and we only have him for this year, but we’re excited about what he can bring to this team.
“Cody Houston was a starter for us at 106 two years ago and we expect him to have a nice year at one of the middle weights. We’ve got 33 kids on the roster, but there’s not a ton of depth, so we need to stay healthy.”
The Tornado won the two most competitive matches of the night as well. Ryan Hannon snapped a 2-2 tie with a takedown of Nathan Bair in their 182-pound match with one second left in the second period. He secured an early escape in the third for a 5-2 decision.
Xavier Bennett fell behind the Planets’ Chris Lorch 6-2 in the second period at 138, but rallied with a pair of takedowns and a reversal to get back in the match. He claimed a 10-8 decision by taking down Lorch with 20 seconds left.
“It was good for Xavier to prove to himself he’s got the skill set to bounce back from an early deficit,” Stoner said.
Selker had Mars’ lone pin at 152, rallying from a 4-1 deficit to put David Slomers to the mat 42 seconds into the second period.
McMahion won a 6-0 decision for Mars at 160 pounds.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we have to do a better job of thinking on the mat,” Maiser said. “But we’ll learn from this.
“We videotape every match. We’ll break it dwn, analyze it, then drill hard in the room and correct mistakes.”
Butler hosts the Doc Phillips Junior Varsity Tournament at 10 a.m. Saturday, then hosts Pine-Richland Dec. 19. Mars travels to Peters Township Friday night.
The Planets honored their youth wrestlers before Wednesday’s match. Mars has 48 kids ages 5-12 in the program, now in its 20th year.
Butler 62, Mars 9
(match started at 170 pounds)
106-Max Stalnaker (B) by forfeit; 113-Conor Foust (B) by forfeit; 120- Blake Caudill (B) tech. fall (2:53) over Jake Snyder, 18-3; 126-Korey Caudill (B) dec. Richie Boeh, 9-2; 132-Cody Houston (B) pinned Drew Schultheis, 2:45; 138-Xavier Bennett (B) dec. Chris Lorch, 10-8; 145-Jeremiah Bortmas (B) pinned Ryan Barnes, 2:43; 152-Andy Selker (M) pinned David Slomers, 2:42; 160-Ryan McMahon (M) dec. Will Bortmas, 6-0; 170-Zach Raible (B) pinned Steve Crawford, 3:41; 182-Ryan Hannon (B) dec. Nathan Bair, 5-2; 195-Zach Weaver (B) pinned Jeremy Hughes, 1:01; 220-J.D. Bojanac (B) pinned Johan VanWyke, 4:31; HWT-Damian Wheeler (B) pinned Trey Turnblazer, 4:09