CLARION - Clarion's Senior Night dual against Ridgway on Thursday (Feb. 6) could be best described as somewhat anticlimactic.
Not only did the Bobcats fall to the Elkers, 30-21, but neither of the upperclassmen honored prior to the match saw action. Rather, Donovan Edmonds, a Keystone student, received a forfeit at 170 pounds, and Ben Smith -- the team's heavyweight from Clarion-Limestone -- was out of the lineup due to injury.
There was very little wrestling on the whole, as neither team came close to filling all 14 weight classes.
Only three bouts were wrestled, with Ridgway winning two. The Elkers received four forfeits and the Bobcats three. Four weight classes went uncontested.
This season has been particularly tough on the Bobcats, who went from an almost complete line-up in December to only trotting out six grapplers for the penultimate match of the season.
"Just about anything that could happen, expected or unexpected, happened to us in a short period of time. Between injuries, just unfortunate circumstances, car accidents, you name it, we've had it," Clarion head coach Brian Luton said. "It's really decimated our lineup and made it tough to compete in a dual meet."
The highlight for the Bobcats came at 160 pounds, where Cutter Boggess scored Clarion's only victory on the mat, a 7-0 decision against Hunter Wall.
Boggess set an almost frenetic pace from the start, changing elevation and position on his feet until he was able to secure a single leg takedown for a 2-0 lead. Starting from bottom in the second, Boggess scored a quick escape and again used an uptempo pace to keep Wall off-balance, leading to another takedown for a 5-0 advantage. Boggess added back points in the third to set the final.
"I was just mentally prepared to go in there and do what I had to do. I've been slow (in previous matches) and it wasn't working out for me. So I was just like, I have to amp it up. See if that works,' related Boggess.
Added Luton, "I think he's really getting his conditioning in check and he's able to push the pace more than earlier in the season. He was out of position in certain areas, but some of that was just from trying to motor through the match."
"Cutter's been wrestling with a lot more confidence. You saw it in the match tonight where he expects to go out and win."
At 145 pounds, Ridgway's Armandt Rosario took a 7-2 victory over Breckin Rex. Rex led 2-0 after the first period, the product of a double leg takedown, but relinquished the lead in the second. A Rosario takedown in the third sealed the bout.
Peyton Means wrestled at 152 pounds for Clarion against Jacob Wickett. Leading 4-0 after the first two periods, Wickett tacked on four in the third while only giving up an escape to win 8-1.
In addition to the elder Edmonds, Logan Edmonds (195 pounds) and Zack Keihl (120 pounds) also accepted forfeits for the Bobcats.
Because of a weather-related school cancellation on Friday (Feb. 7), Clarion was unable to compete at this past weekend's Garrett Scott Memorial Tournament in Alexandria (Juniata Valley High School) as originally scheduled.
The Bobcats (1-7) will close out the dual meet season at home on Thursday (Feb. 13) against the Redbank Valley Bulldogs (17-3).