AB Wrestling Places Second at USCAA National Invitational

February 11, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. The Battlers from Alderson Broaddus finished in second place with 107 team points at the 2018 USCAA National Invitational on Sunday.

Led by three champions and four other place winners the Battlers were out distanced by Newport News Apprentice School out of Virginia. Held in historic Rec Hall on the campus of Penn State University. This is the second consecutive year the Battlers have brought home a team trophy from this event.

The first of three champions was Curtis Cox who had a pin and a pair of decisions on his way to the title. Notable in Cox's run to the championship was a victory over an opponent from the Apprentice school in the semi-finals who had previously defeated him two times this season. In the finals Curtis used a couple of takedowns and a tough ride to defeat his opponent from PSU Fayette.

"I'm happy for Curtis," said head coach Sam Gardner. "This is the 5th tournament final he made this year, and finally he broke through and took home the gold. He wrestled hard all day and added a level of tactical awareness he'd been missing in a few of his previous finals performances. I believe that brings him to 27 wins on the season, which is pretty darn good."

In an all Battler affair at 165 senior Logan Shurina defeated freshman Cole Ritchie in the finals 3-2. This is Shurina's third tournament title of his senior season, and moves his season record to 18-5.

"Both of these guys represented us well," Gardner said. "Logan has been consistently good during his career at AB. He continued to display the toughness and grit we are accustomed to seeing from him. Cole did really well in his first outing. His semi-final win, where he had to ride his opponent out in overtime in order to win let us know what kind of a tough competitor we had on our hands."

Gino Sita continued to build upon a big Thursday night victory over a nationally ranked opponent with his third tournament championship as well. Gino's 8-3 decision over Penn State Dubois came on the heals of a pair of technical fall victories in the first two rounds. His team-best 33-3 record is likely a school record for victories for freshmen. "Gino had a good day," said Gardner. "He added a dimension of riding and turning from the top position today that he hadn't displayed too frequently earlier in the year. His regular season performance has been really fantastic. I'm excited to see how the post-season goes."

Also placing for the Battlers were three freshmen; Colton Bethel who earned three wins at 133 , Derek Schmidt who had a pair of pins on his way to fourth place, and Alex Eaton who earned his 23rd and 24th wins of his freshman campaign.

"Overall this wasn't our best team performance this year," Gardner said. "Maybe we were a sluggish from a tough match on Thursday, but we were a little bit less than our very best. Where we are normally strong we performed, but there were some weights I was expecting some more points from that we just didn't get the production I had hoped. We'll get back to work this week. We'll analyze where we need to improve and we'll attack that as we prepare for the NCAA Regional in two weeks. This is a great bunch of kids, and we are very young. I expect great things from them as the days and weeks progress."

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